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the october issue of navel gazing monthly. free issue!

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things....


Iíve been thinking; what is the end purpose of this blog? Is there one? I thought it might be a springboard to a writing career, but as the blog world multiplies, so does the amount of good writers on the web. Plenty of bloggers have deservedly gone on to bigger and better; theyíve been picked up by big media or publishing companies and Iím happy for them. This doesnít happen overnight, though. And you need to be connected to the big guns somehow; they notice you, they link you, they pass your writing along and before you know it youíre being hired by the Wall Street Journal.

See, I know what keeps me from ever becoming big. I donít have a niche. I donít write about just politics or just war or just nanotechnology or music or science. I pepper my political rhetoric with obscenities. Iím callous. Iím rude. And in between my rants on the Middle East and homeland security and Ted Rall, I write about things that people who are big, people who are snapped up by bigger jaws than other bloggers don't write about. Kids. Shopping. Comic books. I post silly contests and song lyrics. I make idiotic statements about Red Sox fans and wax nostalgic about hockey fights.

I have blogging ADD. I donít know how to write on one thing, how to concentrate on a specific topic. I donít even know how to keep my tone even. One moment Iím indignant and righteous and then I post something an hour later and Iím being a self-deprecating asshole. I write two sentence posts and five page essays. I canít keep still. I hunt down the demons of Indymedia and sift through the dry rot of Mark Morfordís writing so I can say a few funny things about them while still trying to make a point.

And what is that point? See, there is none. There is no point whatsoever to what I do here. There are words, and those words form sentences and people read those sentences and sometimes comment on them and then a day later, the words are scrolled off the page and they are never commented on or seen again except by people who want me to grow a bigger penis or want to convince me that Courtney killed Kurt.

Iím torn between wanting to write about whatever strikes me and wanting to write what will get me noticed. In the end, I always choose my muse and it may be the wrong choice if I want to end up on the path lined with gold and honey. But itís the only way I can write. I canít narrow myself down to one field, to one subject or even one specific tone. I write on the fly. I donít prepare any of my posts ahead of time. I sit down at about six in the morning with my cup of coffee; itís the only time the house is quiet enough to think. I take a quick look at the news and then I write. I donít edit, I donít think it out, I just write. Sometimes I write a ten paragraph post in about three minutes. Of course, thatís probably why I will never be asked to write an opinion column anywhere; the writing here is not clean, itís not professional. Itís raw and unfocused and filled with typos.

And I go back now to the my original question. What is the purpose of this blog? And when I have no answer I ask myself, does there have to be a purpose? Does there have to be some kind of end result in order to make myself feel satisfied with what I do here? Or am I justifying the time I spend putting my words here, telling stories, making people laugh or pissing people off or boring someone to death with my incessant navel gazing? What is the redeeming feature of keeping this blog? What is about the past two and half years of maintaining this site that keeps me bringing up the New Entry page every day, several times a day?Is it worth it to spend so many hours writing and researching and expending my emotions to total strangers and a few good friends and acquaintances?

Yea, it is. I canít give you a good explanation why it is worth it, it just is. So I can stop forcing myself to write about the in thing, to get on the same soapbox as the big guys in the hopes that I can be one of the big guys, and just write for the simple fact that I enjoy it.

And thereís my reason, my explanation and justification all rolled in one. Simply put, I enjoy it.

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» Navel-Gazing, ASV Style from JimSpot
Michele ponders: A Small Victory: the october issue of navel gazing monthly. free issue! what is that point? See, there... [Read More]

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» On the Importance of Being Earnest from Sanity's-Edge
Michele posted something yesterday that I found interesting. She talks about the purpose of her blog, and basically asks, is there one? She reflects that it may have started as a springboard to a writing career and hypothesizes on why... [Read More]

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Comments

And we are ever so glad that you do.

and that's the only reason that matters.

Who needs a reason? I don't think I ever had one, really. I just wanted to write. Period.

".. and just write for the simple fact that I enjoy it."

We enjoy it too. That's why we are here, because we like how you think and like to know what you think. Whether we happen to agree with you or not.

I always considered you one of the big guys.. Maybe that's just my perception of you. I don't know you very well, so I may be just as full of shit as any random person that puts something here, but you always struck me as someone that needs to write. You don't need to publish, because you dont seem to really care about attention, but you need to write. If it wasn't this, I bet you'd have a bookshelf full of spiral notebooks full of stuff that you thought was funny or insitefull or pissed you off. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm glad you put this here. It was the first blog I read regularly, and one of the few I visit everyday. Whatever the reason that you do it, don't stop.. If you enjoy it, do it. If it's a release, do it. If you do it in hopes of a writing career, more power to you. You deserve to enjoy yourself, not be stressed out, and have a writing career if you want. That's what I think.

Um, judging by your hit counter, and blogstreet.com (which has you listed at #47 today) I think it's safe to say that you are big. HUGE even. What you do with it is up to you, but you're monumentally successful right now. You may not make the big bucks doing it, but you're successful at it nonetheless. I'd love to have just a quarter of your traffic. Rock on.

But, I should add, you're no Strong Bad.

You've obviously just answered your own question, Michele. If it makes you feel better, if it helps you get your head around something you've been struggling with, then I think it's worth the time.

Every day, inside my head, I engage in a never-ending game of intellectual and spiritual groundfighting. I wrestle every day with my feelings about the events around me. I wrestle with my own weaknesses. I wrestle with the daily trials of family life. I wrestle with big questions about God and faith and science and The Meaning of It All. I wonder if anyone out there thinks about the things I do, but none of it ever gets shared with anyone else.

I envy you.

so why dont you make ur a blog a paid to read event and see how many people will pay to read. Or prehaps get some ads on your site. Nothing wrong with trying to put a few coins in one pocket

You do this because we love it! I found you're blog accidently and it inspired me. Not that my writing is anywhere nears yours, but I try.

Ryan - Strong Bad RULES!!!!

When i get my digital camera, I'm posting nothing but cat pictures, cat movies, and cat stories.

Well ,that and Dead Pool stuff. Cats and Dead Pools. Maybe Kitty Dead Pool?

The fact is that mass popularity often (though not always) goes hand-in-hand with mediocrity.

I struggle with this question often regarding bands that I like - how can something so deliciously good be recognized by such a relatively small number of people?

Of course the answer is complicated - it has something to do with industry politics, mass marketing, short attention spans, and a general lack of good taste (somebody is buying all those Britney Spears CD's).

I don't think it really matters. Knowing you've done something well is far more rewarding in the long run than bucket loads of money could ever be. If doing this blog thing pleases you, then by all means keep doing it.

This reader, at least, is rather fond of your raw, unfocused, typo-ridden ramblings. ;-)

Michele, you are the niche. You have achieved, to the present, a status and place in the blogosphere. You just keep doing what you want, that's what draws people to your blog. A mix, political, entertainment, sports, personal, that is unique to you. You have found your voice. As of this minute, you are number 15 in the Ecosystem, higher than NRO's Corner, for example.

Just keep up the good work.

Why else would you do it? If it's no fun, why bother? And why limit yourself to one theme/subject matter? Write what you like.

We don' need no steenkin' themes.

One of the things I love about this blog is that you're not a one-trick pony. Too many of the "niche" blogs get so booooooring because it's always the same thing. While you do have certain themes that you revisit, no one thing has taken over your blog. Plus, you're witty, acerbic, and most of all, intelligent. And even when I don't always agree with you, your arguments are well-reasoned and make me think. Unfortunately, I miss the little dead girl.

I wasn't aware one had to have a justification for blogging...

Shorter Michele Catalano: "Is an examined life worth examining?"

You built it, we came. If something more than that is accomplished, so much the better. Personally, I find that if I'm not interested in something I have to say on an issue, nobody else will be either. Write what you care about.

If you want to publish in traditional media, you have to market yourself, submit works for publication, hound editors for attention. Lots of stuff that is Not Blogging, but necessary if that's what you want. A friend of mine who had been writing for pleasure for years just got her first romance novel published. She was amazed at how much time the business part of writing takes from her writing time.

You've got credentials enough. Your work on Voices, Command Post, and Operation Give on a cover letter to keep your submission from being trashcanned. You could ask for help networking and learning the business and I'm sure you'd get it. You just have to decide is that what you want, or do you want the editor-free, hassle-free, (and money-free) version of the writer's life.

That’s the trouble with you mensa types. You go so far out on a tangent that you leave the security of gravity. If you were a horse, you should be shot with a silver bullet and put out of your misery. Nevertheless, you just wrote an energy charged post---an antithesis to most earthlings‘ manifestos. I always consider you, Michele, the First Lady of the Blog. Sure on special occasions, I’ve called you “bitch” (opps). Or, the Wicked Witch of the East since you‘re not from California. I know that was Siegfried & Roy ‘s mistake, too, and they weren’t in the company of anything as close to your ferocity. But.....kind damsel.....don’t start practicing purring on my behalf. It doesn’t befit you. The world will fully recognize you in the near future. Everyone will know who you are. Even geckos will crowd around your pulpit. You’ll be so famous that your buttocks will drip with saliva. Even a stick of dynamite may await you in Stockholm.....

You can't see the goal posts ,I think,because you passed them long ago.Chuck hit it right,you are the one to aspire to and copy from.Its lonely at the top.

I enjoy reading your blog; I'm glad you produce it.

When I get into work, it's ESPN.com, the Seattle P-I.com, the Drudge Report, and asmallvictory.net. My morning staples. If I didn't have you to read, I'd lose perspective and lose faith that there's still good people in the world who give a damn about things.

So, I guess, thanks for giving a damn enough to blog about stuff.

You could be Erma "Hell damn ass" Bombeck.

By which I mean: Bombeck wrote about nothing in particular, and made a long and decent career of it. You could do the same, but with more profanity. Sign o' the times. There's an audience for it, no question.

I've been wondering about this, too, because my blog isn't one of those Unitheme Specials, either, mainly because writing about One Thing bores me.

But, at some point, it'll come together. Lately I've been using my site as a public diary and a place to develop characters for the Best-Selling Critically-Acclaimed Novel I Will Write Any Day Now (Coming Soon To A Theater Near You).

The goal, I think, is to follow your bliss. If, along the way, someone notices and wants to pay you some money for it, then you've hit the jackpot: getting paid for what you do anyway.

And, if not: then you've always done what you felt like doing.

Can't be bad, right? Right.

Just quit posting about the Yankees. Nobody wants to hear that garbage.

:-)

Just kidding. You're an inspiration to all of us really small-time bloggers. We look at you like you are the big gun.

just be glad you arent reduced to writing about bionic dicks....

heh heh heh

I'm with Mr. Helpful. And when Lileks was in NY last week, he should have set you up with his agent. You write like nobody's business, and even the trolls know it.

The point? The point is to enjoy what you're doing. As long as you like it, keep doing it.

I disagree with you strongly on one point Michelle: you do have a niche. You're an absurdist, like me, like FrankJ, like Mr.Helpful, Dave Barry or any number of other pundits I can thing of. You have a knack for seeing the inherent absurdity in things - all aspects of life, which is why it looks scattershot - and then skewering it with a bit of sacrcasm, a pithy observation, or a good belly laugh.

It's a worthwhile talent, and a needed one: wether you do it in a forum like I do, a blog like this one, or a weekly column.

Actually, two niches: you have a knack for finding causes that are worthy, and getting people involved and interested in them. Voices, Toys for Iraq, Command Post... Don't knock it: you do a lot of good there.

Hell... we write because we love to write, and we have to write. Every writer I've talked to has affirmed that. The more we write, the more we examine what we write, the better we get at it.

Writing professionally is differnt, a bit. It becomes work... I've done it. You break into professional writing by working at breaking into it... selling a column idea to a market, or articles to a market. Or you write a novel and get an agent and get published. And then you dealwith deadlines and having to write when there's not two coherent words in your head, but you still have a deadline.
At a certain point, it still becomes more work than fun, just as doing graphics on a deadline as a commercial artist is a job, not a hobby.

shrug I find doing an ongoing absurdity log in a forum a lot more fun than writing columns, but I'd still write even if it was on napkins and no one would ever see it. It gets in the blood.

I thought you did it because you know I like reading your blog?