I used to have Heather Armstrong in my blogroll. Do you know her? She’s probably the most famous blogger. My friends Den and Andrea told me about her before I really read any blogs at all. And if you visit her site (and haven’t before), you’ll see a crisp, fresh layout and you’ll see pictures of her children and her dogs and you’ll read all kinds of passion and humor and deliberate living in her words. Then sometimes you’ll find yourself shocked right into last century by her language and her references. I removed her from my blogroll right after she joked about doing horrible things to kittens, and she did it in one of the letters she writes to her daughter – one of my favorite features on her blog. I still read her. I still love a lot about her. I just don’t put her in my sidebar anymore.
But I’ve been thinking about her blog a lot lately. There are lots of articles online that you can read about how to get more traffic to your blog, more people commenting, etc. The surest way is to find a niche, or a need, and fill it – day in, day out – speak to the same audience, asking the same questions for which you provide the answers. It also works if you put celebrity names in your post titles and perhaps sex. These things sell.
So I’ve been examining what I want from my blog and if I should have done it differently, made it a blog for writers, for instance. And that’s when I thought of Heather Armstrong. And I thought about what I like about her blog, and it’s this: It’s a story every time. It’s just a happy or a funny or a PASSIONATE AND IN ALL CAPS story about her life. I don’t feel any need to comment because sometimes she doesn’t even give that option (or hundreds of other people comment first). I know that by showing up on her website, I probably make her a decent amount of money. Since thousands of us show up, it makes her a LOT of money. But I find that I don’t care or notice that. Something about the fact that she doesn’t actually need me, makes me feel all the more welcome on her site.
I’m pursuing a writing career. Yes I am. But for now, I’m pretty much doing it in my living room. And by that I mean that although I have one project out in the universe, the next one still sits on my laptop. And only I can do anything at all about that. I don’t write to you – any of you – so that you’ll buy my books one day or hook me up with that editor friend you know. I don’t try to think up posts that will get me traffic from the search engines or the most comments ever. I try to think up posts that will entertain you – at least a little. And I love it if they inspire you. And I’m perfectly, completely happy if it’s good enough to make you want to come back for the next one.
I don’t think you even knew if there was a question about this. Maybe you never wondered, “Is she just using this blog to get a book deal?” Maybe you don’t comb the sidebar every day for ads to see if I’m trying to make money off of you. And maybe you don’t even know what search engine optimization is. But I still wanted you to know that when it comes to this blog, at least for now, I don’t know what search engine optimization is either. I know that this is a place where I can post pictures like this:
And I can write about how much I want to be an author and how much I love Anne. I can write about faith and boys and Hollywood. And I can know that somebody cares to listen. And hopefully it’s a place where you can come and know that sometimes things are perfect just the way they are.
P.S. If you get a hundred people to comment, I’ll give you a pony! (It didn’t seem right to suggest that I’m totally without agenda. Talk about a pants-on-fire kind of assertion, that would be it.)