Monday, November 26, 2007

On Having Nothing To Say

I’ve had nothing to say, so I’ve been choosing to say nothing. I suppose it’s an odd position for any blogger to be in. It seems to me that so many blogs exist precisely because people who have nothing to say want to say something. It’s why we end up reading the mundane details of their lives.

So my silence is different. I’m silent because I’m not in the mood to entertain you. Life is difficult. It’s coming up to Christmas and it’s a struggle to sustain my indifference to the outside world. I don’t really know what’s wrong with me. Desperation, fatigue, a seasonal shift in my moods…

There is, however, a terrible inevitability of a blog dying. You begin with high expectations and work hard to establish a readership. The readership begins to dribble in. Then, one day, you get noticed. You have a peak when there are hundreds of people hanging around the blog and leaving messages. It lasts for about 48 hours and then all your new friends are gone. You’re back working at the coal face for a few loyal visitors, in whom you begin to feel a ridiculous pride. From therein, you’re lucky if you attract one new regular reader a week.

Then, at some point, you begin to wonder ‘why’. That happened to me the other day. The Harlan Ellison piece I found on Why That’s Delightful made me realise that in all the few years I’ve been publishing my work to the web, I’ve written close to 500,000 words and that it has earned me nothing. Nada. Zilch. What a fool I've been!

After half a million words, I think the shine of blogging has finally begun to wear thin.

I don’t know why this blog has failed to take off. Perhaps it’s simply because it’s not funny enough. Perhaps I’m simply not a good enough writer. I might lack interesting things to say. What entertains me, clearly doesn’t entertain the masses. I’m not a political blogger, so people don’t come here for informed gossip about the Home Office or Westminster. Nor am I a ‘personal’ blogger who people get to know as if they are getting to know a friend. If it doesn’t sound too conceited, I consider myself a ‘humourist’, though today lacking the humour. I write about nonsensical things. I write to amuse myself. I write to make you laugh.

All of this is a way of saying that the readership is just getting nowhere fast. I also don’t know if it’s just me or whether this is a wider phenomena, but traffic has been down for the last month. One of the rules of blogging is supposedly not caring about readership. Yet I do. If I don’t get readers, I begin to think that I should move on. I should write something more meaningful for myself. They say writers earn £4000 a year. What riches! How do I get some of that action?

And yet…

Yet, I’d miss the feedback. I’d miss the hits. I’m miss the comments, the trackbacks, the incoming links. I’d miss the excitement of writing these short pieces that I write to amuse myself and which send to bed at night chuckling to myself. I’d also miss thinking that I’ve made somebody I don’t know laugh.

And yet…

I can’t help but feel that I’ve half a million words for very little purpose. I have another novel half finished but blogging gets in the way when I could have it done in a month or two.

And yet...

16 comments:

Shades said...

For fuck's sake Chip, make your mind up...

;->

Big Chip Dale said...

Okay, okay. I'll quit...

And yet...

Grendel said...

Don't do it big fellah, we all love you!

Big Chip Dale said...

Thank you Grendel. Good of you to say that and I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, on the 'pissed-off' scale, I'm registering in the high 90s. I'm really fed up of my writing having no direction, no clear goals, and no finished product. Blogging is a problem. It's easy to spend hours working for nothing.

dovid said...

Having the gift to make others laugh & being able to laugh at yourself is a blessing Chip. .You cannot buy a blessing but you can earn it, you have earned yours Chip. If you do decide to quit though ,go out in style with your head held high and a big Chip smile.

Big Chip Dale said...

Thanks Dovid. I might feel better in a day or two but this has been coming on for a long time... At the moment I feel less like Big Chip and more like Tiny Tim wheezing his way towards Christmas.

Momentary Academic said...

It's the holidays, chippy. I feel it too.

Nige said...

Chip, Chip, Chip - don't do it! Hang in there...
Think of yourself as Yeats's linnet, who 'has no business but dispensing round his magnanimty of sound'. It is enough.

Big Chip Dale said...

MA, I think it could be that. Just the numbers never get better... I sometimes wish I had Richard Madeley's readership.

Nige, I'm honoured that you've come over and given this blog a look. If you tell me to carry on blogging, I know I have to really give it some thought. As it is, I'm having a few days of non-blogging activity. It might refresh this stale old thong.

elberry said...

i'd recommend taking a month off, come back in January. There is something exhausting about feeling obliged to render something interesting up every day, for a largely anonymous readership; take some time off. i shall miss your thong.

Big Chip Dale said...

Elberry, that's exactly it! It is tiring trying to be interesting all the time. My imagination is worn thin. Perhaps not a month. Perhaps a few days. Perhaps a week. I'll have to see if the spark comes back.

Shades said...

Chip, I'm worried about you moping around the house. Your Thong hasn't budged an inch from Trem Ilidir all day...

Big Chip Dale said...

I've moved. Honest I have. Perhaps it's just that you missed it. I could move around the room but I don't think you'd see much change. Earlier today, it was showing the map of Rhyl but now I'm back home.

Kurt said...

Oh, go on, stick with it. I'm a newcomer to the Thoughts of Chairman Chip but already, when stuck with a problem, ask what would the Thongster do? Besides, I used to live on Holyhead Road, so need regular updates on what's going on down in uptown Bangor.

Void said...

You have nothing to say and you are saying it. That is poetry.

GreatGranPapaPat said...

Believe me Chip - you've got IT... No question about your humour; it's always bang on target so please DON'T even think of quitting. Perhaps take Elberry's advice and take a break. Cancel Christmas maybe ? But do come back to us refreshed, restored and even repithed...
GreatGranPapaPat