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Friday, March 27, 2015

No man but a blockhead ever blogged, except for the remote chance of an award

This week I was talking about blogging to people on a writing course run by The Oldie. I asked if any of them had ever considered blogging. Only one had and it turned out she'd given up after a few entries. I told the rest that if they'd got this far without it they probably didn't need to start now. Only those with a need to say their piece so intense it almost qualifies as an illness should even think about blogging.

Somebody asked if you could make any money from it. I said no. He then came back with a blogging spin on the old Samuel Johnson line about none but a blockhead ever having written except for money. He was quite militant about it. It's odd how people can get so concerned about other people doing things for no other reason than they feel like it. The people I've met who are most vehement in their condemnation of Twitter tend to be people who don't use it and therefore don't see why anybody else should. This seems short-sighted. I don't much like Facebook but I understand why it's popular.

I started this blog in 2007 out of curiosity and vanity. I've just looked at the first post, which was about how redundant the singles chart is. Funnily enough, I've just written a variant on the same theme for The Guardian. I came to the conclusion years ago that it was a complete waste of time trying to get commissioning editors interested in ideas and you're better off getting them off your chest by just making them blog posts.

Blogging is my self-indulgence. It's easier than a diary and cheaper than therapy. And sometimes people read it. Some posts are more popular than others, which is when my publisher's instincts kick in and I think "I should do more of that kind of thing", which is obviously a snare and a delusion. If people like it, that's because they like the self-indulgence of it.

And now it's even more hilarious because I'm on the shortlist for the Blogger of the Year at the London Press Club Awards. So maybe that's why I started doing it. I knew there'd be the outside chance of glory in it some day.