Odd Girl Still Out

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Despite the feeling by some present at this years BlogHer, it did feel different for me this year.

Perhaps it was my year long foray into the year of the deep dark mental illness - you know - the unpretty side of being crazy that made me more sensitive to the feeling that I just didn't belong anymore.

Since I got home, I have been sitting with these feelings. Trying to wrestle out what is my stuff, what I perceived, what I felt. Why did I just feel so sad after being at BlogHer?

What I am coming to realize is that Blogging is a business. I don't say that with scorn in any way, as I am earning a very modest amount from my collection of blogs and contracts. This money allows me to buy some of the things I need without asking Terrance for cash, and gives me some of the freedom I lost when I gave up not only my employment, but my ability to seek jobs freely. I am an American in Canada on a student visa. I am not allowed to work, except in very specific places ( like on campus).

Having taken a year in which I wrapped myself in a bubble and struggled through the murky waters of my brain, I failed to watch what was going on in the outside Blog-o-sphere. The world has noticed that there is money to be made here, writers of considerable talent who can talk about more than how cute their child(ren) may be on any given day.

While I slumbered in my medicated cocoon, things changed. My beloved hobby is now a business and I am forced to view myself and others through these new eyes. I am a business. As such, there is an element of competition and self promotion that leaves me feeling like academia is right for me. At least that game, the one of professors and teaching assistantships - getting co-authoring credit on academic writing, I know how to play.

This other game? The one of cocktail parties and social networking? I suck at this. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable. My anxiety levels rise and I get silent...or start to drink to calm myself...which means I get goofy and decidedly UNSMOOTH.

I see others for whom this seems easy and wish I knew the secret. I feel jealous at their ease, the way in which others are drawn to them. On one hand, I want to know how to get invited to the reindeer games. I want what will also horrify me and make me deeply unsettled ~ I want admiration, I want the cooing, the squealing, the fussing over and being best beloved of people.

I wish I knew the secret. But I don't. I haven't figured it out in 37 years and I doubt the grand epiphany will occur any time soon.

Blogging has grown up and I remain hoping that the other blogging ~ the one I fell in love with ~ will return to hold my hand and tell me that it still loves me.

But you can never go back.

17 Baleful Regards:

kim said...

No you don't, you want to snark in the corner with me. As a very wise person once told me there's the popular kids and then there's the cool kids on the outskirts snarking on everyone else.

wordgirl said...

I love that blogging has the capacity to be both a business and a pleasure kind of endeavor. That said, I know I'll have to be happy with the latter because I lack the killer instinct and the marketing expertise that allows me to elbow my way into a circle of uber-bloggers and self-named Alpha Moms (WTF?) without feeling like the new kid who accidentally sat at the popular girls' table without being invited. This brings about two distinct emotions in me: sorrowful insecurity and...cynical outrage. Neither one helps me in my cause. If I had been there I would SO have huddled with you and I would have brought a bottle of wine with me.

Karen Rani said...

I simply can't think that hard about it. I know who my friends are and you are one of them. Nuff said.
The important thing is that you take care of you.

mothergoosemouse said...

Years and years as a project manager - working with people who were older, more connected, or bigger bad-asses than me - that's what it took for me. And yet I still came home exhausted and wanting to be alone for a week or so.

Mitzi Green said...

this is why, when my husband suggested i sign my soul to google and let them put ads on my blog in hopes of earning a few cents here and there, i gave him the dirtiest look i think he's gotten in our 18 months of marriage. i don't WANT blogging to be my business. i never intended it to be. there's a reason why i don't write for a living, and it has nothing to do with my having or not having talent--i don't want what i love to become what i have to do to eat.

and i love this line: "I want what will also horrify me and make me deeply unsettled ~ I want admiration, I want the cooing, the squealing, the fussing over and being best beloved of people." I used to want that, too--hence my short-lived acting career. but it got creepy, and when i started to see my friends the way others may have seen me--as sad, pathetic narcissists begging for attention--i realized i didn't need that kind of affirmation anymore. and i haven't been on a stage since.

2amsomewhere said...

Let your validation spring from within and be yourself.

You might get adoration, or you might get rejected. That what makes vulnerability what it is.

It may be tough to wade through in the short run, but think about it this way, when was the last time you heard someone on their deathbed wishing that they had sold themselves out a few more times?

--
2amsomewhere

jess said...

I know, right? This is bound to raise some hackles . . .but remember when writing and reading blogs was just fun, when you didn't have to wade through a bunch of ads and reviews and links to paying sites? Yeah, barely. All of this blogging as a business . . .er, business has actually turned me off blogging, and off quite a few blogs.

But whatever. I'm still buying what you're selling.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Fine. Just come drink beer at my house then.

We'll rock it old school.

TB said...

Oh man, I FEEL this. I'm torn between writing for the love of writing and wishing I knew how to do what the big dogs do.
In the end, for me I think I wouldn't enjoy it as much if I had to try to make money at it, so I don't. And that's just fine with me.

jen from boston said...

yeah, I feel ya. more than I probably let on.

Anyway, I think that'll be my last official BlogHer, barring them hosting in it New England or something.

SUEB0B said...

I think that the feeling is more common than you may realize. I mean, we didn't start sitting behind our little computers and flinging our words into a void because we bloggers are the most social of people, did we?

BlogHer exhausts the hell out of me. I guess I have to post about it but my brain is still to scrambly to put it together coherently.

Elizabeth said...

This is an interesting post, Dawn. I wish we could have spent more time talking on Friday night, but I had to throw my $13 hamburger away and go back to the hotel to collapse. It was only the first damn day and I was exhausted. I'm going to have to develop some kind of Chariots of Fire workout program just to have the stamina to get through next year's BlogHer.

I am completely guilty of getting suckered in by the promise of "easy money" on my blog. All those companies with their pay for click ads and their flashy badges, they make it sound like money will fall out of a truck in front of your house. Except, not so much. I've decided to stop doing PayPerPost on Table for Five, because I don't have the PageRank to make a living wage from it. And because I miss my Mom community, who I am so glad has not walked away from me entirely.

I'm interested in hearing what the lawyer said too-any news about that?

BetteJo said...

Oh I am SO new! I started to blog to promote my shop on etsy - but I love blogging - doing mine and reading others. Now I am being approached about advertising on my blog and I am torn. I have a couple of those little google ads - more to see if they actually DO anything than anything else. But I in no way know anything about navigating the business aspect of blogging. I guess I am/was naive. I thought people blogged because they LIKED to! Hmmm.

becks said...

What you've just described is exactly what I visualized blogher to be. It was never even a consideration for me to go because I'm not in any blog circle. I don't even think anyone other than family and friends read my blog. And I'm okay with that. I started writing it because I thought people we knew who were far away would like to check in every so often to see how my kid was doing.
But I read you faithfully (I think this is the first time I've commented) and I admire the way you've taken to Montreal (I'm from Toronto and while I love the euro-feel of Montreal, I don't know that I could live there - especially the driving! Don't get me started, and I find people there are ruder than where I am)...
I digress.
We're not all in it for the business. Some of us just wanna be here. And I for one, am glad you're here.

Bobita~ said...

I get this post 100%. There is a part of me that wishes and wonders and even longs for what the "popular kids" have. But there is another part of me, the much larger part (which must mean this part includes my ass...), that is so very content to snuggle up on the couch in a dark bar and chat with a kindred.

I don't necessarily know how to forever abate that other part of me, the part that wishes and wonders, but it all feels worthwhile to have found a few people in this world with whom I can connect. People who would have been unknown to me without this little blogging thing.

I try to remind myself that it has never been my nature to have a mass appeal, rather I have always preferred to hang with a more intimate crowd. Always, it is the crowd that does not feel obligated to bow to the whims of the "rule makers" or bend to the pervasive, robotic groupthink of the majority. If I were to be something different in the blog world, it would not be the real me, it would be the me attempting a prim little curtsy.

I can't really kick any ass when I'm bent at the knee. Others can; I can't. For this reason, I'm content to hang on the sidelines. Although, I do wish the notion that the sidelines is somehow "less than" would disappear. Especially in the minds of those of us who are actually occupying the space.

Exquisite post.

roo said...

Hey, you could always do what I did-- stop writing for months, watch your readership disappear, skip Blogher entirely, and pin your hopes on starting again fresh someday.

I'll hold your hand if you hold mine.

Jenn said...

Oh, Dawn, you must go again. I would miss your laughter and fun immensely if you were not there. Especially that whole "I think I kissed jenn satterwhite on the lips" thing. I mean, it made the trip worthwhile for me!

I count you as one of my friends. I wish I had known you were feeling that way...I'd have kissed you again! LOL

I was wrapped in a bubble the past year, too, and it took A LOT to pop out of it and try to mix it up. I know how hard that can be.

Blogging: You write what you want to write because you love to write. Screw the rest of the "business" side of it. Just my 2 cents.

 
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