Subscribe By Email

Subscribe below!

Subscribe by Email

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The third post in a row that isn't about a book.

I'm not much for new years resolutions. There was one time I think I made one that was to make a cheesecake and that year I did make a cheesecake, so I'm not saying that they are useless, but they aren't my thing. I try to be better all of the time and fail most of the time, but it usually doesn't have much to do with the date on the calendar.

I don't know if you've noticed, because literally not one person has said "hey why haven't you blogged for a while," but I haven't blogged for a while. I miss it, and I miss the motivation to read good books, and I have definitely not been reading as much as I used to when I felt like I had to deliver a post every week, but here's where I get really vulnerable: it's rough putting the amount of work I put into a post without any kind of feedback.

Specifically the last two posts I wrote is what I'm talking about. I'm not blaming anyone, I think it's just the nature of how we engage with internet content these days. I've written a couple of long facebook posts that have gotten kind of a lot of engagement and encouragement (for me), but rarely if ever do my blog posts generate any kind of conversation. It's rough to spend sometimes hours putting together a post with pictures and links and research and then feel like it's in an unmarked crate in the middle of the Indiana Jones warehouse.

To clarify, I don't want my posts to go viral. That terrifies me. I don't want strangers who don't know me picking it apart or calling out a single sentence. I probably mess up all of the time, but I hope that because you know me, you know I'm trying my best. And if you know me and I feel like you value me as a human being, your calling me out for something I said that you disagree with or you think is damaging will be welcome.

I write for my friends and family, and a blog is the best way I know how to do that. The long facebook posts are fine, but I have problems with them:

1. I don't have any ownership of the Facebook feed and have no control over who sees it. "Brand" accounts on Facebook reach a fraction of their followers unless the owner pays to have it boosted. I have 40 followers, but an average post will reach 12-20 of them unless it gets shared or liked or commented on.

2. I only have two choices about who sees the posts: everyone in the whole world or just my friends. I don't want every blog post to go to my coworkers, but I do think if you like what I wrote and want to share it with your friends, that should be an option. My blog is public, but the notifications I send out saying that I wrote one are private. Also, I like the idea that you have to go out of your way to read what I wrote because hopefully it means you really want to read it. Every single minute of every single day is spent by me worrying that I'm bothering or inconveniencing other people, and it physically hurts me every time I put up an update that I wrote a new post, but the difference in views between an advertised post and an unadvertised one is 10 views versus 50. I try to minimize the huge blocks of text as much as possible.

3. A blog has an archive, which means that a reader can start reading and just keep going. This is how I often engage with blogs, and I can tell from the analytics that folks do it with my blog as well. This is way harder to do with Facebook, especially my Facebook, which as you know is a wasteland of random thoughts, angry shares, and failed jokes. I don't want to inflict this on anyone. I like my content to be on my website with a domain name that is owned by me. I know it takes an extra click, but I'm doing my level best to make that click worth it.

So. I want to keep writing, but I'm feeling discouraged. I worry that you only read the blog if it's about a book you've read or care about, but as the blog has continued, it's become less and less about the books. The book is a framing device that lets me talk about something I learned from it and maybe tell an embarrassing story about me. Seriously, the posts are like 15% book. I almost never spoil anything (unless I hated the book and don't want you to read it). It's not even a review other than a general recommendation or non-recommendation.

Currently, I would consider Howie's Book Club to be a failed blog, and I don't anticipate renewing the domain name. I don't think blogs are the future in general, but I don't know what is because I'm old and old people are bad at predicting the future. I'd like to write, and I'd like to share my writing, but I don't want to do it on Facebook. I don't want Facebook to make more money off of me and I don't want to subject myself to the cesspool that is the majority of its users. In the words of the Frasier theme song, "What is a boy to do?"

I would like to write another novel for fun and practice, but at one point tried to post a novel serially, as I wrote it, on a blog, but it also failed. Unfortunately I don't do well at creating just to create. I'm not that awesome. I know that everyone on the internet is an introvert now and it's super cool to be one, but I think a lot of times I'm an extrovert, just with really bad social skills. I crave attention, but am terrible at getting it. I think I'm a good writer, but just me thinking that isn't good enough. It's pretty gross. This post is making me feel bad so I'm going to stop.

What do you think? Any ideas?