Blog Writers and Garage Bands: I think of blog writers as “garage writers,” the same way I think of garage bands as “garage bands.” They are similar in that they offer more than I can possibly listen to, which is good because many appeal to only a narrow spectrum of fans. They are different in that there are a lot more garage writers infesting the internet than there are garage bands making a racket next door.
Infestations: I use the word “infest” advisedly because I’ve lived with cockroaches, and they’re everywhere, just like bloggers, millions of them, hiding in cupboards and drains or hanging out behind the toilet or around the dishes in the sink. Notwithstanding their numbers, there still aren’t enough of them to compete on keyboards with bloggers and produce the fantastic number of words that bloggers manage to spew into the internet on a daily basis.
Relationships: Furthermore, unlike most bloggers roaches are disgusting and find it impossible to establish amicable relationships in the households they share–“Stomp that sucker!” In contrast there are some wonderfully creative blogs, whether it be in form, in writing, in design, or in the scope of their topics and discussions, that attract readers and become the centers around which relationships are formed between people from all over the world, and the authors of these blogs become friends, personal and accessible to all.
Exterminators: Naturally, many bloggers would like to succeed in the “real” publishing world, but there are agents and editors and publishers who act a lot like exterminators, so that if you’re on the outside trying to find a crack to get inside, it’s almost impossible, and if you do get in, there’ll most likely be a big shoe waiting to squash you–“Ugh, disgusting roach.” That’s the real world. And who can blame them, really? It’s not easy for publishers to take a chance and pay money up front to someone who doesn’t have a track record or a following. So, by staying in the garage and blogging away you can avoid that kind of rejection and any loss of self-esteem.
It’s a Big World: There have always been garages that empowered bands, even if only with a few thousand watts, but blogs empower writers to not just disturb a few houses in the neighborhood, but to communicate with, and maybe influence, the whole world. Think of it! Writers, who used to spend two years completing a novel and then shopping it around to all the publishers and getting nothing but rejections before committing suicide, now have a self-publishing vehicle, blogs, through which they can immediately find a voice, success, and fulfillment. Belittle not the value thereof.
Freedom! I used to have a friend who said, “I’d rather hunt rabbits than bears, but there’s nothing but bears around here.” His meaning was that he’d rather have creative freedom than “sell out” and go commercial. And that’s why I really love the internet and blogs and WordPress in particular. The only person who’s going to determine what you create is yourself, and you can continue working in the garage writing anything you want for as long as you like.
Money: On the other hand, if getting zero hits causes you to change what you’re doing, it’s your own decision and no one else’s. There’s always a chance that someday a million readers will flock to your site. Then if someone comes along and offers you a dollar for each reader and you take the money, we’ll wish you well and know that there’ll be another struggling blogger to replace you and fill the void that you left in our lives. So take the money and run, and get out of that roach infested apartment with the garage band next door!