The answer: I have no idea, well, sort of.
BEFORE I launch in, I want to tell you my inspiration for this post. Dave reminded me that CrazyUs.com has a stats package. I decided to take a look and saw that a post from 2012, titled, “Monetizing My Blog,” still gets the most hits. I wondered why and then I wondered why I blog, especially knowing I probably won’t make any money? With my inspiration in mind, here is secondary title post title:
Another More Obscure Title: Can Someone like Quentin Tarantino Do To Early Bloggers What He Did to Revitalize John Travolta’s Career (Thank you, “Pulp Fiction).”
The Answer: (a very low key) Maybe
P.S. Thank you local teenage girls. You taught me the phrase “low key.” You used it that time Dave & I were chaperoning a school sponsored 4-day campout. We were on this hike to a giant rock arch in the middle of nowhere. As we ambled along, I definitely observed an opinionated, bossy, Queen Bee-type girl. I was elated when my conclusions were confirmed when I overheard you say and I quote, “I am low key terrified of her.” In truth, I was also “low key terrified.” She is a beast. The phrase “low key,” is brilliant, by the way. Ever since I heard them, I have attached those two words in front of all sorts of other words.
My “low key maybe” answer brings back to my question about blogging and money and why? Sure, at one time I would argue that there was money to be made in blogging (and the money I speak of is the money available for all the masses). In fact, I am certain if you were a blogger at that time, and if you tried to make some cash, you did. Me, on the other hand, well, at that time, I was not willing to do what it took. I would dip my toe in. Then I would freak out. Ultimately, I convinced myself that my words were NOT good enough to make my own money. Further, to quell my insecure anxiety, I incessantly sought affirmation. (How annoying!) As such, I never embraced said affirmation. To make it worse, I fell apart when I offended others. I hate hurting feelings. I wanted people to like me no matter what (how unfair). So when I did write something that upset my mom, to no avail I would try rewriting said hurtful words. Then I would to no avail try to convince them I was sorry. I was so dumb. I was also a little selfish wanting my cake and wanting everyone to be happy as I was eating it. I know. I also know that was a long time ago.
Blogging aside, I also recognize I had a very high need to please and not to disappoint. I also had a neurotically high need to feel worthy of any space I inhabit (obviously). Whatever! I am a work in progress. Nonetheless, as a result of getting in my own way, I chickened out. I did not believe financial offers or opportunities to burnish my fame. I even thought they were joking when I was asked by the show’s casting director to audition for the show “Wife Swap.” I unplugged and I ran away. It is what it is.
Regardless if I could have or would have, I chose not to. Then sometimes I talk about it — still. I also chose not to invest in Apple Stock circa 1999, and in Netflix circa 2000, or buy those two lots next to Willow Creek Park in Park City, Utah, circa 2007. I talk about those moments too. All that to say, I still blog. I have not given up on writing. What does that say about me? Sure, I do not blog regularly. Honestly, except for Angela (Angie), of FluidPudding, I do not think most of the early bloggers regularly blog. I am glad she does. I sat with her at the San Jose airport years ago. She is really cool, insightful, encouraging, and hilarious. She also knits (really well).
I do not knit. I do not craft. I have a bad back so my doctor told me I should not do yoga. I do sit at airports — a lot, which lends itself to people watching, which I also love. I also really love to tell stories, especially about the lives I observe. I want to be relatable. I want to know what it is like to see the world from someone else’s vantage point. Empathy is the best thing ever. That is why I absolutely love the energy of shared connection. Of course, instead of inspiring, most times I fear I am repeating myself, sounding esoteric, or just complaining — again. I am sure the urge to write is easily enabled when my hormones are out of whack; (that is when I am most offensive too, by the way. Because at that time of the month, I think I hate just about everyone. I often do). Regardless of my menstrual-psychosis, and moody words, since the beginning of URLs, every few months I come up for air. Then I put my crazy out there.
I am amused that I am still trying to figure out what blogging actually does for me. If there is no money, or better, nothing tangible, what am I getting out of it? What do I expect out of it? Additionally, why don’t I stick to journals instead of writing publicly? If I kept my writing private, I would spare offending my entire family tree, all of my friends, and even my neighbors. What is the pull? Do I want to fail? Do I want to alienate? Do I seek rejection to reaffirm and reinforce that I am not good enough? Maybe. Or am I just weird? Probably!
Ok. Wait. I think I answered my own question a few paragraphs ago. I want to relate. First, let me back up. Somewhere in my deconstruction, I discussed how I have kept a diary. In truth, I have written my life down since the second my church leaders, in fire and brimstone tones, admonished the congregation to keep a journal.
“We are a record keeping people! Please do not disappoint your Father in Heaven!”
I do not want to disappoint anyone. Back then, the last person I wanted to let down was God. He was in charge of my entire eternal salvation. At that, I committed to writing all records of my life down. I have books and books of handwritten accounts of my daily life. I have food diaries. I have boyfriend break-up letters. I have detailed the torments my siblings inflicted. Oddly, my journals are still boring and mundane, except for my college diaries. In college my journals were crazy entertaining. Like a Judy Bloom teen novel, my college experience was filled with so many first times, so much drama, and so much heartbreak.
I will get back to my point, which is that I have a very high need for connection. In our checked out, social media, digital world, sure, I think online formats are an easy way to connect. I am also a bit of a rambler. Instead of forcing a lengthy Facebook post into a news feed, I would rather people choose to read my words. Hence, the blog. That is why in the end, what online writing gives me is an opportunity to relate. Then there is the bonus. Every once-in-awhile people reflect their experience back. The reflection back is what makes it all worth it. Seriously, it is about the reciprocal connection. So, even if one person is like,
“hey Beth, I read your stuff. My dad is also a tool.”
I am lifted. I am elated and I feel less alone.
Today, that is why I blog. And maybe I can remind someone else that they are less alone too ❤️.