The random thoughts of a genius...er...gene nash.
take it for what you will
Published on February 7, 2006 By Gene Nash In Blogging

So much for my plan for "extensive blogging," eh?

Hello, my name is Gene and I'm a lousy blogger.

No, no, it's true I tell you! (Okay no one was actually protesting the point, but I made you look!)

I'm a lousy blogger because I blog too infrequently. From my perspective, the best blogs tend to be those fairly frequently updated. My average of 2 blogs per week doesn't fit my bill, especially when I know how many more ideas I have that never make it to the web. It's not just unwritten ideas -- things I really want to write about but somehow still manage not to -- it's also the number of articles written and never posted. I'll guesstimate that I actually write 2.5 articles for every 1 that I post. That's a healthy passel of unposted verbiage clogging up my hard drives.

Also keep in mind that "2 articles a week" includes probably one month a quarter where I don't write at all, and many other months that only have one or two articles total. I keep building audience only to go suddenly silent and have to start again from zero. But in all honesty, that's something I've always done in every arena. I have some kind of success aversion and always manage to pull back right as I'm going over the edge. The three fans I actually have left will know what I am talking about.

I'm a lousy blogger because I am too reserved. Good bloggers seem to let it all hang out there -- if not all, certainly far more than I will. It might seem at times I share a lot, but I'm actually very secretive. Some of those blogs that never saw JU were killed for that reason; I wrote more than I was willing to reveal. Despite living much of my life in the public eye, I actually don't like attention. Maybe it's something I developed from being recognized. I ignore attention when I'm in places I feel unwarranted of attention getting. I'm sure that "attention avoidance" mechanism spills over into other areas.

I also over-think things and talk myself out of revelations I feel could endanger future endeavors or come back to haunt me in the future. 99%, if not all, would surely go completely unnoticed and without consequence, but still I pull back.

Perhaps I would have revealed more if on one of my earliest blogs I hadn't been called a liar for telling the truth. I could tell you stories that most people here wouldn't believe and every word would be true. But if I think I'm going to have to justify my reality or start defending the truth, I decide instead to just keep it to myself.

I'm a lousy blogger because I don't blog to blog. My purpose here has always been one of shameless self-promotion and website search engine optimization. As I said in my first couple of articles, I started blogging for only one reason: to get my website back to the top position in searches for "Gene Nash." It worked almost immediately, and has kept on working. Frankly, that's still the primary reason I write here. I need to post at least one article a week to keep Google interested.

Sorry to disillusion those who thought I was here "for love of the blog."

I'm a lousy blogger because I am stuck in an old media mindset. I have trouble wrapping my brain around the new media. Look, I wrote my first short story collection when I was still in kindergarten. I was published by the time I was 15 and anthologized by the time I was 16. I worked at a newspaper when I was 15. I've knocked around publishing for 20 years (and entertainment for more than 30 years, but that's another story entirely). (This is the stuff I don't write about because I think inevitably some jerk is going to call me a liar.) I have certain long ingrained ideas about what an article is, what good writing is, etc. that don't necessarily transfer well or easily to the blogging world. So I muddle around as a strange hybrid, kind of a blogging platypus.

I'm a lousy blogger because I put far too much effort into it. This is actually a corollary to the previous, but I decided to give it its own category. Blogging should almost be stream of conscious. You think it, type it, press send. Instant thought, instant publishing. Me, I spend hours writing, sometimes hours researching, and I used to spend hours polishing. I actually draft these things. Some of my articles have gone through three or four distinct drafts, each individually numbered in my little blogging folder. I care too much about finding just the right word, about making myself absolutely clear, about... a lot of things that shouldn't enter the blogging equation. Type and send is the best way to go in the blogsphere, and I don't have it in me.

I research even things that don't need it. I've only been captured in factual errors here the couple of times I blew off looking it up. I tend to look up most of my facts, even the ones I know are right, just to "be sure." I'm so glad for the Internet. It's easier than the old days of marking up the facts in my text then slogging through encyclopedias and other books of facts to verify the information -- but it's still a chore, one I'm obviously one of the few who bothers with. That's not a criticism of you, it's a criticism of myself, because I really wish I felt comfortable enough not to do it, at least in this medium. But the obsession with getting the facts right, the names spelled correctly, the dates perfect, most of the time proves too much for me to overlook.

I'm a lousy blogger because I don't link enough. Okay, most people don't link enough and this may be the one in which most people could see themselves and take offense. Before I started blogging, I looked at a lot of blogs, and it seemed to me that the best of them had a copious number of links within the text. I tried to do that at the beginning, but after all the time I put into the researching and writing, I'd then put an equal amount of time into tracking down the links and incorporating them. It was too much work. It reached the point where I could try to keep it up and stop blogging -- which would thwart my purpose for blogging -- or just blog without the links and, in my eyes, lessen the quality of my blogs. I chose the latter.

It still gnaws at me though. I've been thinking lately of ways to semi-automate the process. Then perhaps I can quiet that nagging sense of incompleteness that accompanies these pieces.

I'm a lousy blogger because I disdain controversy. Sometimes it seems the best bloggers -- or at least the most popular -- love controversy. The more heat they generate, the brighter their stars burn, and the more people come marching toward their blogs. Somewhere along the line (and yes I know where) I developed a controversy aversion. The past couple of years my health has been too bad for it, anyway. I can't really get worked up without damaging myself. (Though it seems many who court controversy don't "get worked up" but sit there amused by the whole thing, thrilling to the outrage they inspire in others. That's a sociopathic impulse I'm glad to not possess, thank you very much.)

Another large number of unposted blogs can be attributed to controversy avoidance. It's probably a futile effort. The few times I've generated controversy here, you can be sure it was unintended. The handful of blogs I posted despite fears of what reaction they might bring, either generated surprising agreement, or got no attention whatsoever. (I wish I knew if that was because people felt they couldn't argue what I said or because they thought I was such a flaming idiot it wasn't worth the bother. Scratch that. I'll take "ignorance is bliss" on that one.)

I'm a lousy blogger because I'm not timely enough. In rare instances I've written and posted news related items as quickly as I could here. Most of the time the amount of effort I put into this precludes that. I've written many an article only to sit on it past the point I feel it's relevant. Many of them I've still wished to publish anyway, but decided that the world and JU had moved on, so let them quietly drop. I almost wish there was a category for "Not So Current Events."

I don't know how someone, for instance, "blogs The State of the Union Address." I could manage a verbal running commentary, but there's no way I could write it up and still pay enough attention to what the President was saying to keep writing. (Plus there's the dyslexia issue. I actually have my computer read back to me most of what I write so I can catch all the things I mess up initially. It's laborious but necessary.)

It's a matter of the amount of effort I put into these things making it difficult for me to output enough or fast enough to really be timely.

Back to The State of the Union, I took a whole page of notes on things I wanted to write about in response to that. Did I write one article? No. A week later does anyone still care? Not really.


There you go: Timeliness, controversy, copious linking, an ease of style, blogging to blog and intuitively falling into place in the new medium, fearless self-revelation, and frequent updates. Those are a few of the elements I think make up good blogs and good bloggers. And I find myself wanting.

I'm a lousy blogger. Good writer, lousy blogger. And if I were to be totally honest, many of these faults lead me not only to being a lousy blogger, but fairly lousy at life as well.



DISCLAIMER: There are as many definitions of what a blog is as there are bloggers. My "blogging sins" are based solely on my opinions of what a good blogger should be. If through personal recognition you feel cut to the quick by any of them -- take a deep breath and remember: this wasn't about you. Be satisfied with your own definition of good blogging or deal with your lack of conformity to your own definition.

 

Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 07, 2006
At least you can identify your faults, good step towards getting better. And better a lousy blogger then not blogging at all...
on Feb 07, 2006
You're allowed to be a lousy blogger. I don't think anybody is going to kick you off the site or anything. If people don't want to read you because you don't link, then so be it. I plan to be a lousy blogger. But it's going to be fun for me, and I'll have the articles for myself to go back and look at. If it wasn't for a forum to put them in, I wouldn't write them at all.
on Feb 07, 2006
Blogging should almost be stream of conscious. You think it, type it, press send. Instant thought, instant publishing.


I agree with this, only because the articles that I've spent a lot of time and effort tend to bomb, and the 'from-the-hip' efforts are the ones that usually gain the most attention.

As far as the type of blogger I am; I suppose I could be better. I could post more frequently, actually have plot out a few of them, and try to come up with more current themes. However, I generally have more fun when I'm all worked up and need to, yes, let it all out.

I know you've been blogging mondo long time, but I like the air of mysteriousness you've seemed to create... hehehe... I thought it was a planned effort, though.
on Feb 07, 2006
I say quality matters more than quanitity. And do it for yourself. It's fun to get some positive feedback but as long as you are getting some satisfaction out of it, keep blogging. And hey don't think so much, it will hurt your brain.
on Feb 07, 2006
"sit there amused by the whole thing, thrilling to the outrage they inspire in others. That's a sociopathic impulse I'm glad to not possess, thank you very much."

When I blogged here, I was highly disapproving of this method of causing outrage, as you may remember.

Gene old chap, there is always an opportunity to fill up your blog bank account with articles about me and my wonderful new television pilot.
on Feb 08, 2006
no one was actually protesting the point


i was...and am.

I'm a lousy blogger because I blog too infrequently


I'm a lousy blogger because I am too reserved


nawwwww. you're just a good marketeer.


I'm a lousy blogger because I don't blog to blog


I'm a lousy blogger because I am stuck in an old media mindset.


I'm a lousy blogger because I put far too much effort into it.


more like three reasons you're a very good blogger.

I'm a lousy blogger because I don't link enough


all them damn links are gonna be what finally brings the internet to a screeching halt. they're already cloggin up the works.

I'm a lousy blogger because I disdain controversy.


that, in itself, is controversial, no?

I'm a lousy blogger because I'm not timely enough


i shoulda moved this one up and grouped it with the 'old media', 'don't blog to blog' and 'too much effort' arguments (or moved them down to this one). if only there was a way to replace instant punditry with well-considered pun-nitry. sadly, just about everyone is capable of the former.

finally...consider the source.
on Feb 08, 2006
Also, the clips from the pilot episode can be viewed on Google Video.

//video.google.com/videosearch?q=Sir+Peter+Maxwell

Jolly good show.
on Feb 08, 2006
video.google.com/videosearch?q=Sir+Peter+Maxwell

Just put a http:// in front of that old chap.
on Feb 08, 2006
Jolly good videos, Sir Peter.

Tell me, will there be a DVD release on your website?
on Feb 08, 2006
lol if you are a bad blogger for those reasons... that makes me a TERRIBLE Blogger.. lol
on Feb 08, 2006
Off Topic Warning!!!!


all them damn links are gonna be what finally brings the internet to a screeching halt.



I just got a chuckle out of this statement. Ahhhh, the irony of it all. The internet is what it is because of the ability to link. Every history on the internet I've ever read has pointed this out.

/end Off Topic Warning!!!!

On Topic: Blogging at all for whatever reason you blog is a GOOD thing.
on Feb 08, 2006
yer MIGHT be a lousy blogger in your own mind, but yer a good human being and wonderful caregiver to your cat!
on Feb 08, 2006
I am currently in negotiation with a UK television station to make a full series about me so eventually, DVDs will be available to purchase for the peasant masses.
on Feb 09, 2006
Pete,

drop me an email whenever you have this on DVD in your online store. I highly enjoyed what I saw!
on Feb 09, 2006
I would be more than happy to sign a copy and allow you to have it for 10% off the full price.