I have never, in my entire life, spotted a trend. Never. I didn’t invest early in things like Microsoft or Beanie Babies. I began wearing big hoop earrings about two decades after they became cool. I was pretty sure, in the seventies, that the whole “jogging” thing would go away because, face it, it hurts to run. I’ve never picked out a writer who later became famous based on a little piece I saw in Parade Magazine or an actor who had a bit part in a road trip movie. (Okay, I did know Obama was going to be big and I forced my children to watch his 2004 speech at the democractic convention — but then, so did a million other people.)
But I think I’m on to something today — a bona fide blogging trend. I have even given it a name: Blogertia. (It is not a good name. I know that. I’m not that Faith Popcorn lady. Obviously.)
These are its symptoms:
- The excitment of getting ten hits a day, or more than ten hits or any hits at all — totally wears off. You don’t care. All the hits are from people who got to your blog by mistake anyway, thinking you might be able to tell them about some lascivious topic they’ve idly googled, which is so dispiriting you can’t even admit to yourself that your blog has apparently become a resource for the depraved.
- Your technorati rating inexplicably goes from 100 and something to forty something. You don’t really care. Why shouldn’t it plummet? No one reads your blog or links to your blog because you don’t actually exist, except in a shady corner of the internet where weirdos ask weird questions and think you might know the answer.
- Your regular daily visits to people you like and respect begin to slow down because you are — admit it — lazy. After a while, you are too embarrassed to leave any sort of comment because you don’t want to call attention to the fact that you’ve been MIA and someone you really like has had a fantastic thing happen to them and you weren’t there to say congratulations right when it happened.
- Your blog grows cobwebs and you don’t brush them off. (See my “journal” page above, last updated in June.)
- You take a vacation, thinking that might help, but when you come back you think, “I can’t write about anything at all anymore. I have nothing to say.”
I am not the only person feeling some version of this, I know. What to do, though is the problem. In an effort to be helpful to someone other than the guy who wants more specifics about carnal acts between a boss and a secretary (who cares, I say to him!), I offer you the following thoughts on combatting blogertia, at least one of which I might rouse myself out of the stupor into which I’ve fallen and implement. I will even number these suggestions, because it makes me feel good.
- Do something different. Beyond spotting a trend that everyone else has already noticed a long time ago, you might try to write something that pushes you in a direction you’ve shied away from. For example, If you’ve avoided writing about things that are personal, give that a try. One tip: Don’t go all confessional all at once. You might want to dip a toe into the personal narrative. Write one paragraph about something that you remember about being a child that has stayed with you your whole life. Or you could do the opposite. If you spend a lot of time, as I do, writing about your life, try writing about something that has nothing to do with you. Try writing about a book or a current event. Keep it short. You don’t have to be the New York Times Book Review.
- Okay. I’m on number 2. Inertia is setting in. Why isn’t one thing good enough? Because it is lame and it is not a list. Let’s see. Oh. Learn a New Skill. For example, it is not actually that hard to post a picture on your blog. You do need a digital camera and you have to be able to follow directions. If you have a digital camera, you need to post a picture of some kind. Your favorite coffee place. Your dog. Your cat. The book you’re writing about. The mess on your desk. People love pictures. I’d be more careful about things that require people to click on a link to see. I rarely do that. But then I am lazy. Others might be more energetic.
- Woot! Three definitely makes a list. And that, in fact, is my third piece of advice. Make a list. Make a list of your six favorite short stories, piano pieces, weird movies, past bad boyfriends (names changed, of course!), top vacation spots. Whatever. A list is fun to compile, and easy to write and read.
All right, then. I’m going to see how it feels to write about something or someone other than myself. And then I might try a couple of other things on my short, somewhat lame list. But really, what I’m hoping, honestly, is that the people who’re here from someplace other than the corner of the internet inhabited by those who google desperately hopeful, lascivious strings of words will make some suggestions of their own, so when I reach the end of my three ideas I might live to blog another day. That’s because, in the end, I like this blog, love having people visit, like the regular thinking it requires. And the pictures, I like having a place to stick my pictures.