I came into blogging almost two years ago hoping for fame, fortune, dancing girls, and cheese sandwiches. Today, I can get the cheese sandwich if I bring my own cheese and make it myself. That's about how I expected it to turn out, though I'm still holding out hope that the fame and fortune will turn up someday. Going into blogging expecting F&F is about as smart as majoring in Art History for F&F. Sure, you could be the next Sister Wendy, but you're going to be a lot happier if you get some intristic pleasure from it and view any F&F that comes your way as pure gravy.
Yesterday, Atrios ran an amazingly angry letter from Ron Brynaert of Why Are we Back in Iraq? Ron's letter seems to be a continuation of an equally angry post on his blog the day before. Ron is annoyed that he has been doing tons of background research on the Gannon/Guckert/GOPUSA story without getting much credit. Several hundred Atrios readers stopped to comment and most called Ron a jerk. Atrios followed up by reprinting his tips to new bloggers. Meanwhile, Ron has picked up more traffic in the last couple days than he has in the last few months and wrote a post thanking Atrios. I think they are both being far better sports about this I would have been.
Coincidentally, the Kofax Award winners were announced yesterday, allowing for more wounded egos. I didn't make it into the finals, so my wound has almost healed into a mildly throbbing scar. Elayne Riggs has taken this opportunity to address blogger envy and why we blog.
I think y'all need to ask yourself what you really expect to get out of blogging. If I really yearned to win a Koufax instead of just make the first round of nominations, I acknowledge I would have had to post a lot more regularly, and write more longer essays..., than I did in 2004, so I truly cannot bitch about my exclusion from the Koufax finals. If I wanted "famous" bloggers to blogroll me, I'd e-mail them and ask what I could do to be worthy of their consideration.... If my goal was to be a "famous" blogger myself - I'm sorry, that's out of my control but there are certainly ways to increase your online presence (join alliances and webrings, go out and actually find/report on real news scoops, attend Drinking Liberally or other social events). If you're looking to Make Money Fast - well, I'm sure there's a Nigerian prince with a message just for you waiting in your in-box.
That about says it for me. I blog because I need to write; because I need to say something; because I need to shout into the big, black void at the end of life, "I was here." Blogging is a way to finally break out of the I'm-going-to-write-a-book-someday lethargy that has dominated the last thirty years of my life. Some readers are necessary to make it work. More readers make it better. George Soros showing up with his checkbook and saying "I want you to quit your job and write full time" would make it best. I'm not holding my breath.
Blogging has extra benefits that I never expected to find. There are a number of genuine little communities here. I not only have a few readers, I have readers on every continent except Antarctica. It's pretty cool to look at the map every so often and wonder "How did I get three readers on Guatemala?"
I've joked with my clever wife (who, by the way, is a dancing girl, so I'm not doing that bad) about the possibility of staging a feud with someone as a way to build our traffic. It might work (if you're interested, contact me). I also could build readership by finding more interesting things to blog about. That sounds like work.
And now that I've spent a whole day blogging about blogging, I'll go back to insulting the leaders of the free world. But if anyone has some spare F or F that they want to send my way, I won't turn it down (Atrios? Ron? Anyone?).
UPDATE: Brynaert responded to my "mostly fair" account of the affair of the missing links. He tells me that they made Air America and sends this message:
fic foc fuck fuck foo
not amazingly angry, but also not maybe amazingly funny
and...yeah...my hits sparked up big-time...but i've also gotten a lot of traffic from the ones who have linked to my Talon News plagiarism stories...and i knew atrios would print my e-mail and i love him even more for that...now people are talking about what i've been talking about...links make us stronger; that's one of the secrets of the other side of the blogosphere
ron brynaert aka ron not fucking roy
Remember that lesson, "links make us stronger." Atrios? Farmer? Anyone?