I'd like to offer a few 'pro tips' on blogging. I feel comfortable in doing this, because I've been blogging myself on the same site for most of the last ten years. That's how it works in today's society, of course -- you don't actually have to be good at a thing to give advice on it; you just have to keep at it for most of a decade or so and then look thoughtful when people ask questions and use lots of made-up helpful-sounding phrases like 'pro tip'.
I am, therefore, outstandingly qualified to provide blogging advice. By these same demanding criteria, I could also give lessons on breathing, oversleeping for important meetings or mysteriously disappearing when your wife says it's time to unload the dishwasher.
Those topics will have to wait. Today, it's blogging. And I have four important pieces of advice:
I started my blog way back in June of 2003. It was an exhilarating time -- I was married, we'd just bought our first house, and I was weeks away from being a part of the most massive layoffs my company had ever seen.
Did I say 'exhilarating'? Sorry, I meant 'terrifying'. Obviously.
In the midst of this maelstrom, something had to come out of me -- and that something turned out to be words. For two full years, I averaged more than a post a day, most of them thousand-word-plus missives on dog poop or underpants or minor Food Network celebrities.
(Hey, I said I knew blogging. I never said anything about Shakespeare.)
I did all of this, and a little more, without stopping to consider, "Why?" Why do I write? Why so much, so often, so long? Why have I made blogging such a large part of my life? This was a big question, the "why". An important question. Perhaps the ultimate question. I first pondered it in the summer of 2007.
I had no answer. In the next ninety days, I wrote one post. After a spate of sporadic blogging, and now a few months' wiser, I asked myself again, "Why?"
I didn't write another word for nine and a half months.
Pro Tip #2. Don't ever question why you're blogging.
Okay, so clearly questioning why is not a good thing. Did I say 'always' understand why? I meant never understand why. Clearly.
The thing is, there are all sorts of reasons someone might blog -- obsessively, occasionally or otherwise. For fun, for profit, for practice, for family, for recognition, for sanity... and often cycling between. Does it matter why you blog, really? Nah. Just do it. You can always justify it later with reasons and motivations and whatever 'becauses' strike your particular fancy.
That's what I did, in fact. I decided, well after my various hiatii, that I just enjoyed blogging, and hey, maybe it would be nice if other people eventually noticed and enjoyed it. So that's what I've focused on ever since. And also why...
Pro Tip #3. Basically, just don't listen to me at all.
The height of my blog's popularity was 2004. It was even nominated that year for a 'Bloggie'.
(Do they still have those? Or were they rolled up into the Peoples' Choice awards or Darwin awards or something? I don't even know.)
What contributed to this highwater mark for my blog's celebrity? Was it my frenetic pace? Beginner's luck? Not taking or making up words like 'hiatii'? The fact that there were only twelve websites in existence in 2004?
I don't know. I've stopped asking 'why?'. Or 'what contributed?'. Or 'where in the hell did pro tip number four go?'
So, in summary, have fun blogging. Don't question things. Ignore most 'pro tips' in general, and mine in particular. And probably don't take too many hiatii. Er, hiatuseses. Hiatties?
Ah, screw it. Maybe in another ten years, I'll get the hang of this thing.