Seven years ago when I decided to start my blog Absurdistry I told an older, more successful writer that I was thinking of doing so. “Why would you want to do that?” he immediately and indignantly asked me. Without much thought I replied, “Well it is one way for me to get readers without having to go through more traditional avenues of publishing and besides in twenty years or so people will not be reading books anymore. People will only be reading blogs and such.” “No way you crazy son-of-a-bitch!” he replied. “You will be wasting your time because a blog will never legitimize your work in the same way that a published book will. Don’t waste your precious time writing on a blog, keep going towards the published book!”
At the time I thought he was dead wrong. An old school traditionalist who had no insight into how the internet was going to change how writers were read. I was convinced (and still am) that the book was going to become a thing of the past and that if I started a blog my work would become just as valid as any writer who was publishing books.
Seven years later I am the owner of a blog with a massive amount of what I consider to be good and honest writing. But I am still without a single published book. In fact, since I started the daily toil of cultivating my blog I do not think that I have submitted one story or essay for potential publication. In all honesty, I was convinced that if I wrote enough on my blog, I could get the middle man or woman out of the way and one day find the literary fame that my younger and more do it yourself self was searching for.
As a writer I am just as unknown as I was seven years ago. My younger self would of been pissed that I am admitting this but I now work a satisfying job as a psychotherapist and meditation teacher (I have had to learn how to quiet my own mind) and I write when I can. On the other hand, the more successful, older writer who told me to forget about blogging has published six more books since I began my blog and is now living in a nice home in the Berkeley Hills- all paid for by his work as a novelist/essayist.
So when it comes to ten ways to achieve more fame as a blogger, I really have no clue. After seven years of blogging and lots of effort to get my blog noticed in the digital universe, my blog has about fifty views a day. If my blog gets more than a hundred views a day- I am impressed. After seven years of trying to achieve blogging fame (and hoping that maybe, just maybe my blog posts will be collected into a published book) I have learned four things: find another line of work, post on your blog when you can, have fun doing it and be happy if what you post gets a few reads.
Seven years ago I started blogging with great expectations and mildly repressed thoughts of literary fame. Now I am content knowing that maybe one or two people have read something that I have posted. Maybe one day my blog will have a kind of Kafkaesque resurgence and be revered by more than a handful of readers. But like my older, writer friend likes to remind me (even though he admits to enjoying reading my blog from time to time), “I wouldn’t plan on it buddy.”
Everyone blogging seems to consider themselves a writer these days even though most are so dull, mechanistic and imaginatively bland that I feel my creativity diminishing a little each time I read their posts. For the blogger who wants to stay true to her or his literary and more creative/anarchistic ambitions- there are no ten ways to achieve blogging fame. In fact there probably is no literary fame. All there is the calm acceptance that maybe one or two people enjoy reading what you write. And maybe those of us who really care about the craft of writing should be asking ourselves when we sit down to write a blog post rather than working on our novel, essay or a book of short stories, “Why would you want to do that?”