I never know whether or not to acknowledge when I’ve been absent from blogging. On one hand, it irritates the heck out of me when people I like to read don’t post regularly. I don’t mean this critically. If I’m bothered, it’s because I like reading what you have to say, or looking at your pictures. On the other hand, when people go missing regularly, I don’t believe it when I read a post that’s all “Oh, hi, I’m back now.” And on the third hand, I know nobody is counting down the hours until I post, nobody really cares why I’m gone, or that I’m back. I don’t mean that to be self-deprecating. I know people in my life care about me, and I know a handful of people on the internet like to read my words, but let’s not make this a bigger deal than it is, okay?
When I first started writing here, I tried to post 5 times a week. A few popular bloggers I read, people who were making money off of their sites, said that’s what they did. During the hellish months at my old job, I had this fantasy of “making it” as a professional blogger. I’d put ads all over my site and start serious conversations about things that matter with people all over the internet and it would all be very satisfying. I don’t know exactly when I gave this fantasy up, but I can tell you why.
First, I don’t think I would have anything interesting to say if I gave up my job to write about my life. My content comes from living in the world, from working, from interacting with coworkers and clients and strangers in person, from commuting, from thinking about my role in the workforce and what I’m going to do when I have kids, from the conflict between my job and my religion, from putting my education to use, from dealing with career and personal challenges, and from having a life to live. I like writing about myself, obviously, but I don’t want to make a life of it.
Second, I seriously doubt that it would pay the bills. There are lots of bloggers out there who seemingly do nothing else. If you look behind the scenes, though, they’re usually living with another person who works and (presumably) pays for rent and food and such. Apparently, the average blogger makes $32,000. This number seems high to me, but even assuming it’s accurate, that probably includes all of the absurdly successful brands, like the Pioneer Woman (per the linked article,her revenue in 2010 was “solidly one million” dollars, not including book advances, royalties, and revenue from a movie option) and Dooce (the linked website estimates she earns $50,000 a month). The $32,000 average probably also includes your average freelance blogger who hustles to get published all over the internet or who blogs for an established company. And I am sure that however much some successful bloggers make, a blog about religion is never going to sell ads. And even if it did, $32,000 is not a lot to support a family in Chicago.
As soon as I let go of the idea that I might someday monetize this site, I realized that not only did I not need to post every day, but that I did not have something to say here every day. Even though I don’t want to be a professional blogger, I do think there’s value in challenging myself to write, creatively or not, on a regular basis. Sometimes that’s the only way to force stories out. And it really does take a mighty effort to sit down and tear out parts of myself to share (or, alternatively, to think of an engaging way to talk about something that’s not so personal), when all I want to do after work is flop on the couch in my sweatpants and watch tv while stuffing salty caramels in my mouth. (This is very easy to do since our Netflix queue is overflowing with quality programming and our fridge is overflowing with homemade salty caramels.) All of this is just to say that I acknowledge my absence for the past two days, I apologize for this lengthy post about nothing and for its sketchy research, and I will be back tomorrow.