A Professional Blogger….With No Blogs

Sometimes, it seems to me,  the overwhelming stench of truly copious fecal matter sends me into a swoon as I walk down Empire Avenue.    The first two sentences of the man’s biography indicated he is a “professional blogger”.   And he does not have a single blog connected to his account.     What’s wrong with this picture?

I’m well aware of the rock star aura that some bloggers work so hard to project.   Indeed,  when I first started as a blogger I actually thought that my blog would make me a comfortable living.   (In the dot com heyday,  lots of companies with clever names, interesting ideas and cool logos raised tons of cash without ever attending to such pesky details as a business plan or figuring out how to make any money;  in retrospect it was clearly naive to think that becoming a good blogger would make me rich,  though I was hardly alone in my euphoric day dreaming.)

Anyone who has ever struggled to figure out the right keywords to draw search engine traffic to their posts,  experimented with contextual advertising or plastered a blog with Adsense  or indeed anyone who has ever struggled (as I sometimes still do) to write a good post and get it published by a deadline very well knows that creating a successful blog is neither an easy thing to do nor a quick way to make money.   Yet the aura of blogger as rock star persists and continues to draw new suckers to the field every day.   As I remarked to Hajra the other day,  I don’t want to be a blogging tips blogger,  not because I don’t know more than enough about blogging to pull it off, but because I can’t imagine anything more dull than talking about blogging stuff all the time to a continuously rotating band of newbies with stars in their eyes.    If you are a writer,  a photographer or an artist blogging can certainly be a platform for you to show your stuff and build an audience.   But if anyone tells you that it’s easy or a quick way to earn money,  they’re lying to you through their teeth.


24 comments on “A Professional Blogger….With No Blogs

  1. It’s so hard to write a good post! I started one to serve as a dream journal but I’m terrible at taking the time to actually write something. Good thing I’m not looking to make any money at it!

    • If it’s a personal journal, Daria, I would suggest just writing whatever comes to mind. If you really don’t like what comes out you don’t have to publish it or share it. While I do of course know from writer’s block, I’ve learned that sometimes the only way to overcome it is to just start typing and see where it takes you.

  2. I don’t know where you find such a person. I never meet one. He could be a ‘retired’ blogger, or a guest blogger. But, I really could not believe that somebody could call himself/herself a blogger if he/she does not has a blog.

    • You’re absolutely right of course, Wayne, that very very few blogs make any money, although it is possible (in some niches, with the right affiliate programs AND good writing, good SEO and frankly good luck) to earn meaningful income. It can also be a lot of work.

  3. Most blogs are like mine, retweets of articles that I support or think people should be made aware. I make periodic comments but do not under any circumstance create fecal matter or tripe! I just share it! 8-))

  4. Well, I was a professional writer of sorts (I had two books published by Oxford University Press) but I never made any money out of those either. Luckily, I am a kept woman, and have been for 25 years out of our 30-year marriage, so I can indulge what I must guiltily admit is my favourite pastime!

    But my blog posts are original, for the most part.

    • I’ve read your blog posts several times, Laura, and I do enjoy them. I never comment, not so much from lack of opinion or engagement, but rather from feeling like an outsider with no right to contribute what appears to me a conversation you are attempting to have within your church. I still feel a bit embarassed that the #definethis word almost seemed to cause a schism one day 🙂 Thanks so much for being a regular visitor and commentator, Laura.

  5. I find this post confusing. On one hand, you make snide comments about “rockstar bloggers” which, I admit, a few people migh deserved. But I think you have a handful of specific people in mind and the reader just has to infer who you might be talking about because it is an awfully broad brush to paint the whole blogging community. Do bloggers really have a rockstar aura? Because the successful bloggers I know, none of whom does it full-time, are just regular people. They just found a niche and were persistent and didn’t quit after the inspiration faded.

    On the other hand, it sounds like you are discouraging people from trying out blogging because of some misplaced illusions. But are there still a lot of people who think they can get rich off of blogging? If so, let them try! After a month, let’s see if they are still writing. But why discourage casual bloggers from starting something that might not be about SEO or backlinks but be about finding a vehicle for self-expression and sharing their creative ideas? Blogging is almost free these days so all it will cost them is their time. And who knows who might find it a fulfilling pursuit?

    • As I was discussing in the comments on my guest post on Holly’s blog, it’s all a question of how you measure success. And I believe that each of us has to use our own personal yardstick. My purpose is not discourage anyone from utilizing the tools of blogging for their creative expression. (If I discourage the n-th person from starting the trillionth copy/paste how to make money online blog I will shed no tears.) If someone had sat me down before I started my first blog and told me the facts of life about the economics of web publishing, I probably would have started blogging anyway. But I would have wasted far less time chasing money that wasn’t really there an could have used the blog to better serve other goals.

      And I do very much hope that every blogger out there finds fun and fulfillment at it 🙂

  6. I, myself, have aspirations to write… but the problem lies in focus. No-one (rarely anyone I’ve ever met) has the bandwidth to absorb more than a few points in a specified amount of time or the patience to wait full circle… by the way, that pecan pie is making my mouth water… therefore, due to the fact that I lose people in simple conversation due to my amazing ability to digress, I hold little hope at being a well read blogger.

    There has been thought put into it though… should it be sarcastic, edgy, dignified, angry, happy, optimistic, scrutinizing, etc… and the beat goes on.

    Some think there is no bravery in blogging but I beg to differ… bloggers, true bloggers, interested in promoting ideas, and sometimes events, over individuals are a brave bunch and sustain a certain level of intestinal fortitude reserved from the faint of heart.

    • David, over the years I have come to realize that the blogosphere is so vast that no categorical statements about “bloggers” are ever true. And as you are discovering, writing well can be really hard work.

  7. I masticate ideas and defecate – we’ll you’ve been to my blog and seen the fruits and fiber of my “labor.” Still, I could provide impressive charts and nifty pictures of kittens (or in my case Kittehs) begging retailers to buy my ad space and I still couldn’t blog professionally (aside from someone paying me to write their posts for them). Even if I could monetize my blog, and I kinda can, I won’t – and here’s why:

    In order to make it as a professional blogger, you have to sell out. You have to resign yourself to a certain set of topics, keywords, schedule blah blah blah and after awhile that is what your blog is – blah! And for what? For the really good high end bloggers that shake their moneymaker day and night doing the fan dance, maybe a couple grand a month is worth it. For the average blogger though… what? Enough to fill up the gas tank? It takes the spontaneity out of what you do. It kills the ability to have total creative freedom. It eats your soul – and I know – I actually did this crap back in the day and got all excited over the tiny bits of loose change and lint coming in from it thinking all the while – one day… one day…

    But I digress…

    I’m well aware some professional bloggers exist. I know a few and good for them even though the love they had for it went when the checks started coming in. What they all have in common though is they have a blog, and I think that’s what we’re all getting at here as I eat up more space on your comment page. And Peter – if you run short of fecal matter or tripe, my blog is wall to wall with it – feel free to share it!


  8. As usual, a great post, Alan…. Although I did find myself distracted for roughly 3.2 minutes looking at the background of delicious but alas unachievable pie before I could tear myself away and read the central text 😉

    Bloggers who end up making money are indeed extremely rare… of course, there are the exceptions. My favorites are the bloggers who end up with book contracts, and I will list a few here, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of falling out of your chairs and wetting your pants with laughter:

    * Allie Brosh, who writes the hysterical and heartrending “Hyperbole and a Half”…
    * “Ovid”, the college student who pens the highly irreverent “Myths RETOLD”…
    * David Thorne, whose “Missing Missy” post on his blog “27bslash6” made me laugh so hard I had to do a quick leak check…
    * Adam and Karen, whose “SleepTalkin’Man” lets us listen to Adam as his dreamland alter ego can be heard saying extremely funny and very NSFW things…

    I have a dozen blogs, and don’t make a dime from any of them – I blog more for the love of spouting my own opinion than anything else 🙂

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