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.


  1. The trouble of course is that the year is 2008

  2. I hope you win...I enjoy your blogs. Thank you for them

  3. A very well deserved nomination.
    You make your point and invariably put a full stop at the end before it forms a second line. It makes it so easy to understand what you are saying, which with your experience is worth hearing. Like your interview style when you say 'tell me about that' and then you shut up and listen. Sounds easy but not enough people do that. Good luck at the awards, and no, I am not Mark Ellen or looking for a career in journalism !

  4. You blog, so I don't have to.

    That's my philosophy.

    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting.

  5. That's great.

    I'm a newbie blogger, and I love it. More work required than I'd expected. But certainly cheaper than therapy and feels more meaningful.

    Now all I need is someone to read it.

    Good luck with the award and enjoy the night out.

  6. I've kept a number of blogs over the years and, you're right - if you do this for anything other than your own amusement then you are likely to be disappointed and unlikely to continue adding to the blog.

    I'm lucky if an entry on my main blog gets 20 views on the day of posting, although the entries do tend to accrue traffic over time.

    My pro-Gamergate blog nets a shade over a 1000 views per entry which I suppose says something in favour of writing for a motivated audience.

    On the walk into work a couple of days ago I thought about starting a music blog. I have opinions about the Grateful Dead that I want to make public.

  7. Very best of luck with it.

  8. "It's odd how people can get so concerned about other people doing things for no other reason than they feel like it".

    Totally agree. I've been writing for ages, prose, poetry, songs, rubbish of all kinds. I do it because I enjoy it.
    I'm hoping some of the songs will be popular soon.

    Some of my pals play golf for fun. Nobody minds. Ditto my gardening chums.

    Haven't tried blogging yet. May never bother, and if I do and it turns out not to be fun, I'll stop.

  9. Best of luck, David.