Monday, July 19, 2010

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Herman Melville
Maybe that's my problem. Have I grown too comfortable with myself?

I have written an essay in this journal everyday since 2004, except for the six weeks I spent with the phone against my ear listening to scratchy disco music followed by silly instructions from even sillier tech support people, crawling around on the floor unplugging and re plugging Ethernet cables in a vain attempt to get back on the Internet. When it was finally determined that the problem was with the computer itself some kind people got together and got me a new one so I could keep on supplying the great googleland with my thoughts and words.

What's happened? I genuinely love and appreciate the few who still read my rambling reads. But I have lost so many readers over the past year that I feel I must be doing something wrong. It can't just be "Let 'em eat facebook." I've tried pinging my entries. I've tried registering with this and that. But when I end a day with one comment and only 7 hits on the entry, as happened the other day, when I used to get between 35 and 50, I know something is wrong.

An independent publisher likes my entry of the 17th well enough to republish it. Where is everybody else? Have I become too maudlin, inane, humorless, uninteresting or sophomoric? Whats a mattah ya don like my pitchah?

Ah, I know what you're saying "He's whining again." No I'm not, I'm asking. What do people want to read? I don't have a garden to weed or a lawn to mow. I have no grandchildren to brag about or pets to take cute pictures of. I don't want to write about my physical condition, that got me into trouble before. Have mercy on me. I am bereft. Left with nothing but my imagination and 7 decades of life experience. I will write what people want to read, whatever it is.

I don't know how to specialize. I don't have enough recipes, I'm not interested in sports and there are only so many theatre stories I can tell before I bore myself into oblivion. So what do I do? Puzzles?

Cryptograms are hard work and no one does them except Bill, who rips them off before his first cup of coffee. Otherwise my puzzles and seasonal questions have become some of the most unpopular things on the web.

I really, truly am searching for a whole new approach to my writing because I enjoy writing and I enjoy writing to people.

I read through all the blogs on my blog list today and on some of them I left the 15th, 30th or 80th comment. At 11:25 p.m. on my blog I have 11 visits and 2 comments. See what I mean? I am grateful; for those comments. I am. Thank you Rose. Thank you Ma.

Maybe I'll do what some people do, knock off for a while, forget about it, spend the rest of the year just painting pictures and writing stories. Change my name and start a new journal about something as yet unknown.


DB - The Vagabond


Nance said...

Sometimes I think that we have to get more and more sensational to grow readership or keep what we've got. And then I'll see a blog with the most inane and skimpy content and suddenly it will just go viral, mushroom from 50 to 250 followers in a matter of three months. Who the hell knows what people want to read? I sometimes think they want to read schlock. I had one blogger whose followers number over 500 tell me that people just want to look at pictures; judging by her posts, they don't even mind looking at the same pictures over and over.

Here's a suggestion: write about whatever you want and write it as honestly as you possibly can. Write as often as you feel like writing, and don't worry about the comments. Don't even look at them. Go on a Comments-restricted diet. Do it for a period of time and see your reasons for writing change. Try that before you quit altogether.

Just a thought. Maybe I will follow my own advice.

pacifica62 said...

I enjoy reading your entries db and I do read them all. Many times I try to respond, some times I am not around enough to sit down and get together something intelligent to say. Some times the topics are within my realm of experience and the odd time they are not. There is nothing specific that I could offer as a topic. I like to read anything that will challenge me and you always do that. It is summer time and perhaps people are busy with other things or away on holidays. I would hate to see you give up, but I do hear what you are saying and I appreciate your concern. I do not know what the answer would be and I do not know what happens with other journals as I don't read anything other than yours. The people who get such large responses ----what do they write about that people feel they want to respond. Like you said yesterday you are unique. Nobody else could write Vagabond Journeys other than you. I would miss it if it ceased to be.

Ally Lifewithally said...

I would miss you if you did leave us ~ I always enjoy your entries ~ Ally x

Valerie said...

I'm going to write you an email, DB... =) xox

Arlene (AJ) said...

DB we may not always comment on your blog words, but know all of us who get on and read your site do it because we care about you and what is going on in your day. Your words are always written from your heart and in reality this is your private journal you are sharing with's your daily release from what is going on daily in your life, your thoughts and heart so I hope you continue writing. Do it for yourself foremost, we're here because we care about you.

Anonymous said...

You are often able to put ordinary things in extraordinary ways.
Many of your readers(like me) appreciate that. ~Mary

Sue said...

I think some of it is because it is summer time. I believe a lot of blogs have lulls then. And a lot of people read you through Google Reader, so you don't get those hits either. I read you all the time, however you write so much better than I even consider, so Im a tad bit intimidated to reply. Oh an another thought, Im too busy with family on weekends for your puzzles, by the time I get to them you already have closed it, so maybe post them on Friday? I would truly miss you, so dont stop. Thanks Sue

That corgi :) said...

DB if you enjoy writing and enjoying writing for people, you are also saying you enjoy the feedback you get from comments because I think you are trying to figure out why you aren't getting the comments plus you aren't getting the hits onto your site. Here's what I have come to the conclusion about blogs. People are fickle on what they will read and what they will comment on and what I have found pretty darn consistently is that if a person doesn't comment on someone's blog, they are more than likely not to get a comment back on their own blog (tit for tat I guess you can call it). I think the only reason I get so many comments is not because of the words I write because believe you me, they are not of the quality of gifted writers like you and so many others but it is because I comment on so many blogs that it burns me out sometimes (and thus the break I'm supposed to be on, LOL). I have also found that if you pose a question that someone can answer related to their own experience or life, you are going to get more comments/hits because people do like to talk about themselves. Honestly, I'm thinking of just walking away from it all.

I agree with what Nance said, write because you want to write regardless of who may or may not be reading it


DB said...

Hi DB,

Hi my friend. I decided to make this an email because I have a few thoughts and I think it may be too long for a comment. You can copy and paste it later in your comments section if you would like.

I don't write for comments. I know you don't either. I write for hits. You watch your hit counter, obviously. Mine went WAY down when I traveled over to There is a Season, when they migrated our blogs. A huge part IS that most of our friends did stop reading. They did!

I remember when I started blogging. I had to make a lot of friends. I liked what I wrote. This was in my other blog, There is a Season. I was lucky because Krissy introduced me to her readers and I got a huge explosion of hits. You need to be discovered! Really. All my old readers are gone. The ones who even read Joy in the Rain on AOL are gone. They are on facebook, stopped blogging, died, are depressed, whatever.

It really isn't your content. I FIRMLY believe this. You are more interesting than all of those blogs out there that get a couple hundred hits for explaining what they had for lunch and how traffic was to work.

Do you visit blogs and leave your address? Ask them to visit you? You should! Nothing wrong with promoting yourself! It will take some work, but if you really want to be read, I think you should spend some time trying to be discovered instead of worrying about your content. I think you would be sad if you ever stopped writing. I would be sad. All of your readers would be sad. I do love your puzzles, too, Dana. In fact, your blog and Krissy's are the only two I still read. I used to read about 40. I think this is what happened when AOL "burned down our city".

I totally abandoned There is a Season. I am going to start up another niche blog, but I have all kinds of ideas on how to promote it so I can get readers. Krissy will help me, too. She is so smart in this regard. She may have some ideas for you, too. If she doesn't comment on this post, you may want to ask her opinion. She taught me how to ping and got me all kinds of readers, too.

I hope I helped you in some small way, D. If you ever want to talk some more, pop me an email. PLEASE don't stop writing. PLEASE. I would be so very sad.

You take good care, love, Val xox

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is a challenge to come up with new material. I know it has been tough for me to catch up after vacation, I am still about five days behind. Stiff upper lip chap :o)