My mother always told me I could be whatever I wanted “but just never, ever, EVER be a struggling artist“.
20 years later, and I’ve finally started my own blog, after working with some great people on joint/group ventures. I have to say I think it’s going well, mainly because I enjoy it, and not because I want to make money. I’m kind of indifferent to whether “people” read it or not, because I’ve never been “popular”. For me, the important thing is that I have a space to organize my thoughts, because that is what I like about writing my posts. I get to talk/write myself through a topic, and then I happen to post it online. I’m often quite shocked when someone actually takes the time to contact me and say “Wow. You wrote about something that is happening to me at the moment”. It makes me suspect I’m not the only malcontent out there.
The problem is, I’ve never been good at “selling”, and the amount of enthusiasm/lying I think that that entails, and I don’t seem to want to do anything that “makes money”. At this point in my life, I have no interest in compromising my beliefs, and I’m resigning myself to the fact that I will probably never have the income necessary in order to obtain a mortgage and keep my hypothetical baby in reusable environmentally friendly nappies. I believe in consuming (buying) less, trying to gain confidence without accessories like clothes and make up (#holygrail), paying farmers a decent wage, supporting local businesses (as opposed to chains), as well as trying to take care of the environment through eating food that can be efficiently produced (e.g. not meat, especially not beef).
The people I know who make money through blogging sell stuff. They advertise food, or holidays. And the rest of us? We pay WordPress to share photos on a pretty little page, or rant online like I am now. We pay for domains, or we buy themes (usually designed and sold by partner companies), so we’re the consumers. We are the serpent eating it’s own tail. The first person to *like* my blog was someone who (if you can judge a person by THEIR blog) I imagine would call Fundamentalist Christians “fluffy liberals”, so I assume that the person only *followed* me because they wanted more people to *follow* them, not because they had read my articles. I wonder if there are more writers than there are readers. Seems likely.
Magazines are produced by the delicate balance between reader and advertiser, allowing the company to put out product, but that’s also a tricky area, as shown by the image below:
If you haven’t come across Feministing before, I would recommend you take a look. However, as you can see from the above screen dump (hate that term. Fugly), their top story is Kristen Schaal on The Daily Show and her mocking “Sexy Halloween”, yet the advertising banner is for Halloween costumes and depicts a woman wearing a skin tight cat suit. A feminist magazine sells advertising space to a company that sells things it rails against; the juxtaposition speaks volumes.
Recently, I read an NPR article about college majors correlated to graduate earnings. If you read the article, you can see that the most lucrative profession is Petroleum Engineer, which to some people is kind of placed into the same brackets as Arms Dealer or Colonialist, as the US’s policy towards South American countries and their natural resources is nothing short of robbery. In many countries in South America, Hugo Chavez is seen as a hero for overthrowing the oppression and tyranny of how the US conducts it’s petroleum related affairs.
So, in conclusion, I want to be part of the solution and not a part of the problem. I want to make people smile but make them think too. I want to be a force for good and not of evil. I can only sell things that I believe in, like books, volunteering in the community, and ethical consumption. I want my blog to bring me into contact with people from backgrounds different to mine and help me learn a new perspective on things that I thought I already knew about. Every day is a school day!