Being attacked vs. being unnoticed

Squeezed May 4, 2008

I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing; but starving it is still worse.

Samuel Johnson

Sometimes I wonder if Samuel Johnson had blogs in mind when he said this in the 18th century.

Never since the invention of moveable type has there been so much…well…stuff being written, on just about any subject. Just search Technorati and somewhere, someplace, someone is writing about that subject. And sometimes people write just for the sake of writing, just to say how good or how bad their days have been, or how sick as a dog they are.

But one thing is certain. They write to be read. They don’t put this stuff out there without the expectation of there being a readership, however small. 

The artist puts paint to canvas for his own enjoyment, but no doubt his enjoyment would be enhanced if someone were moved by the painting enough to buy it. And even if the critic pans it, well, it was noticed. Someone saw it. And once that happens, the work’s reason for being has been fulfilled.

Back to blogs. Some are good, others are utter garbage. And no doubt this humble place I call home on the Web falls into the latter category. But I probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark to generalize that for many bloggers, the measure of success for a post is their comment count.

I know that’s true for me. If I get a comment, or a request to moderate a well-thought out comment (i.e. not spam), then I can rest in the satisfaction that someone read it. They may not agree with what I say, but I yelled from the mountaintop and got an echo back.

Still, what makes it hard to write (and part of the reason that I go through feast and famine stages in posting) is that sometimes I feel like I have to say something totally outrageous.

Like:  I eat human flesh for breakfast.

And if you believe that, I have some land on the slopes of Kilauea to sell you.

So, my question to you (those of you who have blogs): How true does Samuel Johnson’s quote hold for you? What motivates you to keep your blog?

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3 Responses to “Being attacked vs. being unnoticed”

  1. Kim Says:

    My blog compels me to write every day, which can be both a good and bad thing. I know the feeling of going days without writing because I feel like I have nothing meaningful to say, but at the same time worrying that someone, somewhere out there has the expectation that there will be something new at least once a day. It’s this urgency to write something — not necessarily something GOOD but just SOMETHING — that makes me apprehensive about blogging sometimes.

    Ultimately, I guess it’s important to be true to yourself and not fall prey to the comment addiction.

    Nice post!

  2. Buffbills2177’s Blog Says:

    […] 3) […]

  3. Alice Says:

    Your blog is not “utter garbage” ;)

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