One More Reason Why I Have No Followers

Lately, I’ve been witnessing a disturbing trend among bloggers: they’re writing what people want to read.

You can see it here on Lara Chase’s blog in the post, “So Are You Still Writing or What?” where she explains why she’s writing what she’s writing about:

When I started this blog I mostly wrote about the craft of writing, and some tips about the publishing market. For the last several months I’ve had posts on fall pilots, cooking, how to button tuft a couch, exercise, etc. Occasionally, this has led to someone asking me, “Hey, what’s the deal?”

In case you didn’t read the articles and statistics that lead up to the switch (according to my blog stats, few of you did), I realized that no one but other aspiring authors care about dialogue and how to write a convincing antagonist. So, I started writing blog posts about other things that interested me: food, home décor, TV, and whatever else I thought others might find informative. Turns out, you guys seem to find these topics more interesting as well.

cheezit-logo(Lara’s post is awesome for another reason: go over and look at how she’s organized her work space for writing.  I’m absolutely ashamed and humiliated that I write at my dining room table, hunched over my lap top eating Cheez-its® while my husband, children and two cats mill around me).

And then I saw it again, over on Musical Wishes Blog, where the blogger came right out and asked readers to vote (there’s a poll!) on what they wanted to read next.  Head on over and vote!  I voted for The Closeted Bisexual because I’m a Democrat and couldn’t vote for Rick Santorum in the Republican primary.

I’m about a year and a half late with that Rick Santorum joke, aren’t I?  Or maybe I’m a year and a half early.

Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about the audience dictating the subject matter of my posts.  I mean, why should I write what they want to read?  That would be like feeding my kids just because they’re hungry, or paying my mortgage just because it’s due.

So if I’m not going to take cues from my readers, how do I come up with topics to blog about?  Usually, I get some ridiculous moronic idea for a post and then proceed to have an inner dialogue with myself.

Oh, and you bought me lube!  How thoughtful!

After I blow out the candles, let’s have anal sex.

Me: Maybe I should write a post about anal sex.

My Inner Voice:  Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?  No one wants to read about anal sex!  Why do you think of these things?

Me: Well, it could be funny.  I could tell that story about how I got drunk on my birthday that one year and decided that would be the night I would try to have anal sex with my husband. That was pretty funny.

My Inner Voice:  That story isn’t funny! It’s embarrassing!  There really is something wrong with you!

And because whenever I hear that little voice in my head telling me “No! No! No!” I absolutely must do whatever it’s warning me against, you can expect a post on anal sex from me in the near future, whether you want to read it or not.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The Cheez-It® logo is from the Kellogg Company web site and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.

14 thoughts on “One More Reason Why I Have No Followers

  1. One of the most successful bloggers I know won’t look at his stats. Says he doesn’t want it to influence him – he wants to keep writing what he wants, not clickbait. He gets hundreds of thousands of hits a month and makes a living from it. Go figure.

    • Right. This post was actually inspired by a blogger who wrote a Goodbye Cruel World post and then deleted his blog because he was getting “too popular” and he felt that he would start writing to please his audience and he didn’t want that to affect his work. I’m kicking myself for not bookmarking that blog post because of course this idea percolated in my brain for several days before I decided to write about it and by then the blog was gone.

      The funniest part of that blogger’s story was he had around 100 followers :)

      I think I understand why writers change the focus of their writing, and it isn’t always because they’re pandering to the audience. I think Lara makes a good argument for why she’s writing about additional topics now. It takes us awhile to see what works and to find our blogging voices.

  2. I guess bloggers write for different reasons. Some seem to have a real desire to be published, some just write for the pleasure of writing. I suppose if you are working towards the former, you are more concerned about what people want to read. I, personally am the latter. I write simply because it is something I enjoy doing & through blogging, it gives me an opportunity to connect with a community of people who love doing the same:)

    • Yes, most definitely. I think also our reasons for blogging probably change over time, if we stick with it. I’ve been following the Zero to Hero challenge and it’s been interesting to read bloggers’ response to the writing prompts there, one of which was “Write the post that was on your mind when you decided to blog” (Day 3).

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      You know, I didn’t write about that in my post but it’s also another reason why I think “writing to your audience” is probably pretty futile because we can’t anticipate what they’ll like.

  3. I admire people who blog for the sheer joy of blogging. I’m not those people. Mary Rosenblum at New Writer’s Interface [http://www.newwritersinterface.com] told me to start the blog. And since she has been right about every single thing she’s ever told me, I did it. At first it sucked. I hated it, mostly because I didn’t get paid for it. In my business career, what you make is how you keep score and I was used to getting the winning scores. I told myself that musicians don’t get paid for their practicing, but they don’t become stars without it. So the blog is my practice. And you know what that means? I can write about anything. Any thing.

    Except maybe anal sex. Unless Mary tells me I have to.

  4. I also read Musical Wishes’ blog, and I CRINGED when she asked her readers what they wanted her to blog next. A blogger shouldn’t be a bar band taking requests. Write whatever the fuck you want to blog about, requests or stats or popularity be damned. I’m happy with my quasi-diatribes, and the 1,100 followers (of which 1,007 are bots) don’t complain.

    And there’s always room for blogs about anal sex. Shit, there aren’t enough, if you ask me. Actually, don’t.

    • Oh, gosh, I think you’re being a little harsh. Don’t you remember being a new blogger and trying to figure this whole thing out? I don’t believe that polling your audience is a good strategy for determining the subject of your blog for a whole host of reasons (primarily because readers don’t really give two fucks what you write about), but it’s probably no worse than cruising other blogs for ideas, or setting up a Google Alert for “Sex News” (both of which I do).

      Anyway, I’m going to head over to your blog now and complain. ;)

      • I might be a bit harsh, but it just reminds me of the way bloggers used to seem to always preen for requests on MySpace. Cute at first, but when it became “should I blog about my recipe for pad thai, or how big my tits are?” well, then, it’s not about requests, is it? I agree, polling isn’t a good strategy. Your blog is about you, not about attracting a specific subset of readers who, unless you can provide the kind of content they’re wanting on a frequent basis, will lose interest in your blog quickly.

        Me, I like reading blogs in a variety of interests. I like crazy people. I like writers. I like travellers. Shit, if there’s a blogger than can do all three at once, I’m there.

        So, yeah, I might have been a bit harsh. I was up late when I wrote my little rant.

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