14 Jan

What the Hell is a Blogger?

A few nights ago, Dave and I were laying in bed when I asked him “When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

Because for the life of me, I don’t remember ever having wanted to be anything.

At some point I decided to join the military. And when that career path came to a screeching halt I settled for a sterile life in corporate administration. Thankfully, I fumbled into construction but it’s been over 2 years now since I took leave of my former project-managing life.

I often think of what I’d tell someone from back then if I ran into them when asked the inevitable “So, what are you doing now?”

I want to make things

Ideally, I’d respond with fervor expounding on my innovative entrepreneurial strategies; chronicling the ups and downs of paving my own path, blazing my own trails; all the while savoring every last bit of success I’d achieved since last laying eyes on that place.

Oh yes, I would wax philosophical about the 1,000-acres journey I’d made mentally from that miserable, browbeaten girl paid to cater and kowtow to Dr. Jekyll’s and his confidante, Mr. Hyde’s every whim.

And surely, they would see just how far I had come, how alive I felt and how prosperous I was. I mean I have a website and a fan page. (snort)

And I’m not lying. I do have those things but so what. If you listen to top internet marketing gurus ANYONE can start a webpage. And it’s not like Zucks & Co are all that selective in whom they allow to man a dedicated page for self promotion. So what would come rolling off my lips if I was standing face to face with a ghost from my past inquiring about my present?

“I’m a blogger,” I’d meekly say.

And I’ll tell ya, if I was on the other side of that conversation my immediate and unfiltered response would undoubtedly be “What the hell is a blogger??”

In a vain attempt to weasel myself out of this highly anticipated scenario (I’m contemplating leaving the house a few more times this year than last) I’d like to answer my own question.

When I first decided to start a blog I had no clue what a blog was. What I wanted was a way to stop posting my project photos over and over when friends asked what I was working on. Mind you, the majority of these people lived within a 5 mile radius and could have stopped over to see for themselves. Just cruising past the house between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm they’d have been able to sneak a peek at the goings-on inside the garage. But people are lazy. They want the garage to come to them.

Initially, I started a group where all of my buddies could chime in and share photos of their projects. But I quickly realized I was the only creative one in the mix, sharing what I was doing with the same four people responding ‘boy, I have no idea how to do that but it looks great!’ Not exactly the camaraderie I was hoping for.

Somehow I stumbled upon an article riddled with bullet points of dos and don’ts and ins and outs of all things blog. The website author rambled on in total geek-speak and his ‘About Me’ picture was a professional headshot not a selfie edited to include balloon hearts and glitter. Seemed legit. So an hour later I’d followed all his advice, shelled out $200 and deeconstructed.com was born.

Yeay! I have a blog! (crickets) Now what do I do with it?

Turns out a blog is supposed to be about something. And not just random any things but a very specific, tailored culmination of certain things that are unique yet intrinsically related. In layman terms a blog should fit a niche. And the blogger should have a distinct voice. Crap. I thought I just needed a catchy URL name. It’s really no wonder my soapbox on the world wide web sat dormant for a good week between launch and initial firing-up. I had no freaking clue what I was doing.

I spent those next 7 days expanding my vocabulary. I added a plethora of acronyms to my literary arsenal. I learned real quick what a self-absorbed twit Google is and how she bullies everyone into voting her prom queen. It didn’t take too much longer to understand that Facebook is the king of all crack dealers. And Pinterest must be the brainchild of a virtual Heff only it isn’t delivered wrapped in black plastic.

But you still have to hide the contents from your spouse and neighbors.

When I finally hit ‘publish’ on my first blog post I was already contemplating begging The Jek’s for my old job back. It’s not that I dislike sharing my projects with a multitude of strangers. I actually enjoy coming up with witty headlines and snarky text. I compose most posts three times over in my head during the course of a project. But it’s taxing to remember to stop halfway through a project to log a “How To” video for the YouTube channel. It frustrates me when I’ve got a desk three-quarters of the way apart before realizing I forgot to snap a ‘Before Photo’ to tweet out. When I review the evidence and realize I painted a chair three different colors before finding the most pinnable hue I’m ready to cry. Seriously, blogging about my projects takes longer than the projects themselves.

Why do you think my floors haven’t been mopped in a year?

Sure, with practice it got easier to keep track of my blog agenda while I worked through projects but making time to sit down and pull a post together proved more difficult. See, it’s not enough to do the work and then type about it. No, you have to market your brand – engage others in your niche and stroke their egos so they, in turn, will gush all things good in return around the web community about you. If you think my biggest reward would be a job well done then you severely underestimate the power of the highly coveted backlink.

And what we’d give for you to leave a comment.

Bloggers have to connect with fans in social media-land and remind you we exist, constantly feeding you morsels of our unique awesomesauce. And then there’s email. It’s a written blog rule that we must reply to all correspondence received. ALL.OF.IT. Even if I think it might be spam.

Seriously, I miss getting pushed around by an asshole boss more than I miss keeping track of my inbox. What did I get myself into?

This is a thought I’ve thunk more than a few times in the last 15 months. And, if a former coworker inquired about my new gig it’s what would come to mind just before I told him I was reading architecture and design articles and power tool instruction manuals. I’d mention the hours I’ve wasted at thrifts imagining new life into old crap. Then I’d mention knowing what phrases people use to search the ‘net looking for answers to their home improvement questions. I’d laugh and say how funny it is that someone found my site after searching “cool x husband”. If I wanted to be smug, I might mention being on-set of a popular tv show and rubbing shoulders with famous people turned house guests.

If he had time, I’d go on to explain why certain friends regularly show up in his newsfeed while others vanish into the ether and why he has seen this stupid video shared twelve times in the last two hours. I doubt he’d care about analytics, conversion rates and white balance but just in case he had any interest in linky parties or sponsorships or the origins of the hashtag, well, I could fill him in on all of that too.

Because when I secured my domain I took on many roles. I am now a writer, carpenter, photographer, painter, webmaster, researcher, socialite, salesman, and marketing/public relations manager.

But I doubt I’d say any of it. I’d probably just smile and say “I’m a blogger” and hand him my business card telling him to check out my website or fan page.

Who has time to chat when there’s stuff to create?

~dee

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24 thoughts on “What the Hell is a Blogger?

  1. This was the last "page" I read before going to that dark corner and hiding my head. Love it. You certainly have a way with words. But honestly if you run into anyone and they ask what you're up to now…be honest. Seriously, tell them "Its not what you think, I teach". Its the gods honest truth. Ive learned more from you over the past few months than I ever have researching and listening to mindless babble on YouTube. You've got a gift, not just snark and fantastic writing but seriously, the ability to help those who dont know diddly. Its not something just anyone can do. And do well at that. Kudos, my friend. And here's to many more pag…errr blog posts. ;)

  2. This is by far the most entertaining and thought provoking post I read in weeks. It is well written with a vocabulary that will provide your parents with lifelong bragging rights. I was impressed by your dance as you juggle writing, creating, promoting, and selling. I have struggled with the question "What do you do?" since I began blogging and I loved reading your thoughts.

    Traci

  3. Blogging requires every skill set I can think of! It is hard to be an expert in so many diverse areas, but I am enjoying it because I do get to do a bit of everything. One thing! – NO One can say it is boring – ever!

    • I can honestly say the only part of blogging I've ever not enjoyed was engaging with some of the other bloggers I've met. But that is a post for a different day. I don't regard anyone who blogs as an expert in anything. Jack of all Trades, Master of none comes to mind…

  4. True dat.

    ^ ^ ^ That's my comment. Anything else I say will just be an effort to burn more calories. I can't add anything more to this post other than to nod my head in full agreement then slink back to my email and get back to the task of going through all of them. :-)

    • Good news! Your comment is worthy of (3) Hershey Kisses. Please send Triple H on his way to pick them up for you while you respond to Achmed, who may or may not be an Arabian Prince in most need of your preferred assistance.

    • Long before I embarked on my power-tool-wielding escapades I sat on a plane bound for some other flat landed destination. Prior to takeoff my boss handed me a book-on-tape to enjoy during the journey. At one point during the episode the ballsy detective heroine drilled a perp for information. And by drilled I mean powered by DeWalt, straight through the kneecaps, complete with sound effects. I think it was right then that I decided I was going in to construction and vowed to wear knee guards.

  5. I love this post :-) I'm constantly learning about how to better blog and am in so many groups to help further my blog. The technical side I don't understand at all. I just like to write and read and panic when I have a technical problem. I love the perks that come with having a blog though :-) even if google and I don't get along

    • I find that it's more beneficial to get paint tips from those whose primary function is painting, meal prep tips from actual cooks and blog tips from tech blogs. This is why you will never see a blog post on my site aimed at bloggers about blogging. If you're in groups where honestly the other members are your competition (as much as they say they are your contemporaries) try to source your information from actual experts. You may find your efforts actually rewarded. :)

  6. Sounds like a crazy but wonderful adventure. I can't imagine putting myself out there the way you do and I love your guts your stories and of course your projects! Your a great blogger. Thanks for sharing so much with all of us.

    • Crazy, yes. Wonderful? Hmmm the jury is still out but it's definitely been educational. What I didn't expect when I hopped on this ride was falling in love with painted furniture. THAT has been a true romance story that I really haven't even translated, completely, to the blog. So…stick around. :)

  7. Love this post Dee. I love blogging but it totally bums me out that it's only like 10% project time and 90% computer time. When someone in "real life" asks me what I do I tell them I'm a stay at home mom…that's it. I've tried saying "I'm a blogger", but people usually say something like "aww, that's nice" and awkwardly change the subject. Stay at home mom it is!

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