Yesterday, I wrote a kind of odd post about “Celebrity News” which focused on the addictive quest for celebrity in our culture. I also discussed the intense craving of some newspeople, particularly TV newspeople, to be people “in the news” as well as people discussing it.
I felt a little guilty writing so dismissively about newspeople’s quest for attention. It did not escape me that bloggers could be said to suffer from similar cravings.
I can’t speak for all bloggers—I only really know one. Still, I think the average blogger’s pursuit of attention is somewhat different from that of the average TV newsperson. First, the newsperson often seems to be embued by grandiosity; a (perhaps inherent) narcissism has already been gorged by all the staff persons hovering– brushing their hair, checking their noses, patting their tummies—(wait a second, that’s spaniels–)
A blogger, in contrast, tends to be alone when working, either by choice or happenstance. (The blogger’s family, losing all hope of a dinner at home, has gone out.) The blogger, unlike the TV newsperson, or any TV persona, receves little coddling; their “stats” are a pretty good ego-toughener. Moreover, the blogger knows that even the few that do “view” the blog may look for a second at most—the time it takes to realize that a mouthwatering tag like “Robsten” has led to no new gossip and questionable adulation.
As a result, the blogger must garner sustenance from the age-old wisdom of Gandhi, as quoted by that newly-minted sage, Robert Pattinson, in the trailer of his upcoming movie, Remember Me: “Gandhi said that whatever you do in life is insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it.” (Sorry, but in the downswing from the manic side, I find myself studying this trailer.)
Which brings up what may be the most important difference between the TV newsperson’s motivations and the blogger’s. The blogger (or at least the only blogger I know) does not crave attention so much as expression. Yes, the blogger is thrilled when the number of hits rises, but his (her) most engaging and happy moments, are those spent actually writing, typing, and cursorily editing, each post. And then, of course, the pressing of the little button that says “Publish,” and the watching of that little button spin.
This is something for those with writer’s block to remember. Try to get hooked on the process, and not to think too much of the impression that you, as the person engaging in the process, are making. Of course, you need to keep your audience in mind. You are trying to communicate. You want your readers both (i) to be able to follow your work and (ii) to want to follow your work. But try to keep the focus on the the writing, the message, and not on yourself as its deliverer. Writing is not about getting your nose powdered, head (or tummy) patted, but about putting the words on the page.