January 27, 2010

On (Not) Being an Internet Celebrity

I woke up this morning with a serious case of writer's remorse. I always feel that way after posting something that is particularly emotionally charged, and in case you couldn't tell, my last entry certainly was.

Lately I've considered ending my blogging "career." (I have no better word for "career." I make no money off this blog. Just so we're clear.) I have a real desire to document my life, and that's why I started doing this. (You can read more about how I feel about blogging here.)

Back in 2007, I had no idea that there were such things as professional bloggers. My first real introduction to the world of professional blogging was the much revered, love-her-or-hate-her Heather Armstrong. Since then I have come to admire those bloggers out there who have a huge following. I've had fantasies of becoming one of them, actually.

But I know that I will never really be a professional blogger. Blogging is something I enjoy doing, but it's fun and therapeutic for me. I have such a small readership that there aren't many real expectations, like that I need to write at least five times a week or SWITCH TO ALL CAPS WHEN I'M SAYING SOMETHING FUNNY. And you know what? I like having a small following as opposed to a large one. There's no hate mail or comments to moderate. Everyone is supportive. I consider most of my commenters to be my friends. It's a win-win.

I also have this real desire to tell the truth. I don't want to put a spin on something. I'm not really that kind of writer. I report things as I experience them, and if I happen to get the facts wrong, it's because I genuinely got the facts wrong, not because I was stretching the truth or trying to write a certain way. Not saying there's anything wrong with either one of those things, but they're just not me.

All that said, recently I read this post on Heather Armstrong's blog about how she is now a part of the HGTV family. And then I watched this Momversation, where Maggie of Mighty Girl revealed that she had been sponsored by Intel to complete some things on her Mighty Life List.

And even though I really have no desire to be an internet celebrity, or a celebrity at all, I found myself flushed with jealousy. Me, the person who doesn't even watch HGTV and has yet to complete her own life list. I began to wonder why I am so ordinary and how to make myself more interesting.

But this is as interesting as it gets.

And I never feel like that is enough, that I am enough. And so I start to second guess myself when I get all emo on here, and I tell myself, "No one wants to hear it, Leslie. Be happy! Be funny! Be clever! Don't write a really long post; people don't want to read that shit. And make sure you include pictures!"

And that is why I have considered not blogging anymore. I may not be an internet celebrity, but the pressure is still there. And I worry about whether I use you guys, my readers, as an emotional crutch, if I depend on you too much for your input and support. I start to wonder if I am being too negative or if my general feelings of being lost are starting to seep through too much. I worry about being judged.

I am not planning on deleting my blog or anything, but I do think that I need to take a step back and revisit my intentions for this space. This happens to coincide well with my needing to cut back on how much time I spend online. Like it or not, I need to write my thesis, and it's not going to happen if I am constantly checking Twitter or Facebook. I have wasted so much valuable time on those two websites, thinking that *gasp* I might miss something! In reality, all I'm missing are opportunities to work on things that are important to me and/or things that need to be done.

I'll still be here, but less. Maybe I'll post twice a week or so. There's a rich life out there for me that has nothing to do with the computer.

Thanks for continuing to check in and for being my friends, all of you. You (and your words) mean more to me than I could ever express.


kim said...

While I love to read Dooce (maybe not as much these days... not sure what;s up with that), I will never have a blog to become "popular." I am so glad I started the blog I have now, because I plan to print it out as a book down the road. I am glad I documented my "journey" and hopefully my girls will love to read it someday to know how they came to be.

Next up will be a blog for family and friends to keep up with us as a family. Snooze, I know, but they will appreciate it. This means that I will no longer have a place to document my feelings anymore, and that's OK. That's what venting emails to my friends are for. ;)

Nanette said...

Ditto, Kim! (And not just 'cuz I'm lazy to leave a comment of my own.)

I'll never be a mega-popular blogger, although I DO LIKE TO WRITE IN CAPS FOR EMPHASIS AND OH-HA-HA THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY! I write when I feel like it, I write to show off Em and capture moments of her life, especially for the grandparents. I read prolific, expressive writing like yours and think, "I wish I could do that," yet I find myself STILL USING CAPS and LOLZ, as that's my blogging nature.

Regardless of what you decide to do, I'm sure it'll be the right choice for you and yourz. (See what I did there?)

Eric's Mommy said...

I love reading your blog :)

Lydia said...

I know your feeling. The decision to keep blogging is a hard one (hell, I have my personal blog on ice at the moment, so I get it). It's a weird blogging world out there and I know I won't make a living out of my blogging. As you say about yourself, I'm too ordinary for that. I love reading your blog (though I'm a crappy commenter) so I hope you keep it up.

Erika said...

I TOTALLY feel you on the Jeaously thing....I mean i read Matt and Maddies blog, and here he is getting recognized and getting on all these shows.....and I'm like man if only my life was that intresting......not to say that I want all that but....you know what I mean.

Don't ever feel like you have to pressure yourself into fitting into a certain "classification" if you are not feeling it anymore then by all means stop. But from what I'm reading you already know what to do my friend......JUST DO IT!!!........:-)

Sara said...

I totally understand the need for a *break* or really I guess its just a cut back. However, I love reading what you have to say! I find myself nodding or laughing in agreement to a lot of what you write about!

phairhead said...

i'm stuck creatively on my blog. i feel ya, girl.

i really enjoy reading yr thoughts and observations

Crazy Daisy said...

While part of me is screaming "please don't leave!" I also COMPLETELY understand needing to re-prioritize life, and at times, the blog ending up at the bottom of the pile.

I love reading your honesty and real look at life. However, you should always do what is best for you and your family.

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

i like that you're not a 'celebrity blogger'. you're real and honest in your posts, you don't have to use capital letters to emphasize a funny point. i like that you blog simply because you feel the need to document your life, not to attract an audience or because it is your job. i find your blog refreshing and and fun to read.

good with the thesis!

inflammatory writ said...

I use caps all the time and I'm not famous! ;-)

In all seriousness, do what you have to do, but don't stop blogging forever. Maybe take a break. But there are a lot of people who look forward to your next post.

alejna said...

We have quite a lot of parallels going on, Leslie. I, too, have been struggling with finishing my degree. And with the extent to which motherhood has been kicking my ass the past year+, I sometimes think I just don't have it in me to even write a dissertation.

I really need to devote more time to academic stuff if I'm ever going to finish. But I've been unwilling to give up on the blogging. It's just about the only thing I do for myself, and my online activities are about my only contact with the outside world. Plus if I didn't have a creative outlet, I think I'd go (even more) bonkers. So I'm looking into additional childcare options.

And yeah, I hear ya on the jealously thing. I have also fantasized about being a popular blogger. But like you, I realize that there are advantages to being under the radar. I have a blogger friend who had a post go (more or less) viral, and it pretty much killed off her blog. Her anonymity was blown, and she no longer felt comfortable having her thoughts in such a public space. She deleted 95% of her archives and pretty much stopped blogging.

Alisha said...

I have just returned from an absence and I am shocked to read this! Your blog has been one of my favorites and I have really enjoyed our cyber friendship! I do understand what you mean about life outside of a computer though...when I was traveling, I spent very little time online and it was liberating! I do hope you continue to post some and I hope you do find that time for your thesis. :)

And I really enjoyed your comments on my blog while I was away. Thanks for checking in on me!

khairun said...

I feel sad to read this as I've enjoyed your blog eversince I accidentally came across it in a Google search on being 4 months pregnant! (the magic of Google eh?) But I do understand how being online can make you feel unproductive and unfulfilled.
Whatever you decide, know that there are readers such as myself, who value what you have to say, and appreciate your brutal honesty on sensitive topics.
It certainly helped me in looking at things more closely, and be more open about them on my blog. Before, I hid behind the photos I posted and assumed that writing too much would be a bad thing. But bad for who? I blog for the pure pleasure of it, for getting some writing practice in after doing nothing but diaper changes and singing Incy Wincy Spider a hundred times. I get to reconnect with the pre-mama Khairun. Comments on my posts are a lonesome few, but I see them as being abit like recieving an unexpected visit from an old friend, a pleasant surprise!
Having a baby to tend to is no easy task but it's a beautiful, special time too, and no matter how behind you may feel in other areas in your life, your little boy thinks the world of you. Us mamas, we could be in our pjs all day, but our babies will always make us feel special.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do.


alyssa said...

I love your blog updates! They are real. And as an almost new mommy, I need real experiences! Not sugar coated crap :) You're an internet celeb to me ;)

amber said...

Since I just blog for fun, it's never even crossed my mind to think of receiving any $$ from it. I totally understand that sometimes life gets in the way of hobbies and fun stuff and that sometimes you just need to re-adjust priorities and such. I know you'll choose what is best for you. :)

Jessica said...

For me honesty is the most important part of a blog. I want to know what it's REALLY like living in someone else's shoes. That is why your blog is the only blog I've been able to read consistently since I've discovered it.

It's hard to have a blog in this age of blogging celebrities, especially when we are the types to second-guess ourselves. It's hard to know what the point is. I really don't know why I do it. I've never been a good journaler. But I guess I have a desire to share my experiences with strangers, in the hopes that I might bump into like-minded people that I never would have met otherwise.

But, your blog has definitely touched me. I have thought about you and what I've learned about your pregnancies throughout my own pregnancy and the birth of my first child.

So, for whatever reasons that you continue to do it - know that your honesty and fortitude have been motivating to this blogosphere stranger. NO PRESSURE or anything! :-)