I have a problem with the blogging world. It’s a deep, heavy, stomach-churning problem that oozes up through me. I wake up at night shouting angry curses into the evaporating memory of my nightmares because of it. It twists inside me until I don’t know if I’m suffering the effects of food poisoning or blind rage. I scour the web in search of answer and answers but find myself falling deeper into a malaise of disgust and indolence.
Because that’s the problem. There are no answers.
I am a blogger. I write personal anecdotes in hopes of being able to entertain and possibly even enlighten. I try to be witty. I try to be clever. I try my best to be honest and insightful. If I think there is a question I can answer, I try to answer it. I’m not perfect. I’m not even very good. I’m an opinionated, disgruntled, self-centered wise-ass. I’m not an answer man. I don’t pretend to be an answer man.
That is probably the reason I’m not successful, in the sense of fame and fortune.
It seems to me that the only way to be truly great at this whole “blogging” thing is to offer people half-truths and false promises. The internet is abound with blogs that are designed to fool you into believing they are going to solve your problems. No matter what your problem is, be it a desire to amass great piles of imaginary money or a need to find a gluten-free organic cupcake recipe, there is someone out there that wants you to know they have the answer. But they’re not going to give it to you unless you sign up for their mailing list and buy their ebook. If you act now, you can get it for $19.99 instead of the “usual” price of $9999.99!
I read a lot of blogs. I read them on every subject from linguistics to caveman mating rituals. I love absorbing the content that everyone is willing to share. What drives me insane is that you can read a thousand posts on one site, a site dedicated to making the perfect cupcake for example, and never see a gorram cupcake recipe. We have come to accept the fact that content creation is a hook meant to reel us in. We accept that people promise to answer our questions, convince us that they know everything, and then at the last minute inform us that we’re going to have to plop down some cash to get the secrets of life.
Blogs have become the infomercials of cyberspace.
I suppose I can live with that. People that create content deserve to have an income from their content. They deserve to be allowed to make a living from the knowledge and skills locked inside their brains. If they’re willing to drop hints and breadcrumbs along the way, how can I fault them. What really, really bothers me are the ones that create the problem in the first place. The parasites on the world that build you up into a frenzy until there is nothing left you can possibly do to save yourself… except buy whatever shlock they’re shucking.
It’s bullshit, and we don’t have to put up with it.
Look, it’s pretty damn simple. Blogs are they’re own art form. They are a craft in-and-of themselves. Good blogs aren’t sales pages. I’m not writing this so that you’ll buy my latest brain-fart. I’m writing this because I enjoy the art of blogging for it’s own sake. The moment I turn my site into a virtual billboard for my own narcissism, I’ve become that asshole. I get plenty of self-satisfaction from putting the work out there itself. I don’t need to spend my time convincing you that this is just the brain gravy and if you want the giblets you’re going to have to plop down a big-ass hunk of cash.
That pisses me off.
So, yes, fellow bloggers. Write your book. Sell your book. Create content and get paid to do it. I support you! But don’t create half content and force the rubes to buy the rest on three easy payments of only 29.95. If you’re going to post about an issue that you have answers on, either give us the damn answers or don’t write the post in the first place. I’m tired of being sent to read something because it’s full of great information and then finding that it’s a sack of shit on a stick. Don’t tell me that my hair is made of snakes and the only way to get it to turn back into hair is to buy your garbage.
There is one thing that I decided to do as a blogger the day I first put my blog online. I decided that I would share what I have as freely as I can. Do I want to make money as a writer? Yes, obviously that would be ideal, but I’m not going to cheat my way into your pocketbook. I’m never going to give you half the story on the blog and expect you to buy my book for the other half. If I’m going to write something to sell, it’s all going to be in the book.
Yes, I’m probably shooting myself in the foot. I’m sure the 300 thousand words I’ve written over the last few years could have been put together into some kind of memoir and sold for a few pennies on Kindle Direct. I’d probably be much happier if I was that guy charging you for my creations. I’m not, though. I can’t be that guy. I hold myself back because I believe that if I give you my best creations for free, you’ll support me in other ways. I believe that the reason for blogs is to share content freely and rely on the readers to help you out through the monetization that you offer them. That’s the art form. That’s the medium.
Somebody tell me if I’m wrong. Someone, somewhere tell me, “Matt, you are a moron for giving this away. You should inject yourself with a giant syringe full of smarts because you’re obviously incapable of clothing and feeding yourself.” If I’m wrong, and you’d rather I write vague crap here so you can buy the premo-content through my sidebar, just let me know. I’ll make you happy and take your credit cards.