The art and commerce of the blog

There was a great story in today’s New York Times about blogs and our fantasies for them. The dream of bloggers everywhere is that we will become well-known, if not famous, thanks to the effortless publication that is the blog. That we will be discovered, be invited to produce books for mass markets, make a living if not a fortune from these postings.

Turns out that most of us blog in obscurity, read mostly by family and friends, our efforts blooming unseen in the vasty darkness of the ‘net. And once we discover this fact, we give up. According to the Time, “In a 2008 study, Technorati estimated that since 2002, 133 million blogs were started. Of those, only 7.4 million have been updated in the last 120 days. The rest are essentially abandoned.”

I think people stop blogging because no one writes back. No one cares. It’s too sad.

But having written for newspaper and magazines, I’m sort of used to that deafening silence. Sure, I hoped that more people would post comments if only because it’s so easy to do. No paper. No postage.

But the experience of print is instructive. If I received a single letter to a column published in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine (in the days when it was read by millions rather than tens of dozens of New Englanders)I was thrilled. If one person was moved to pick up a pen, that meant there were others who thought about doing the same. After all, I am just as guilty as the next browser of not taking the 60 seconds to thank a favorite author, applaud a great singer, or say hey to fellow bloggers, whose words I follow. (Yes,that’s you, Dr. Paley.)


  1. Lavender Luz on June 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    That’s one reason I enjoy leaving comments for people who write something that really impacts me.

    Not sure I ever picked up a pen in the “old” days, though. 😉

  2. cecily on June 9, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I’ve almost given up on my blogger fame dream… but my blog is still limping along. 🙂 One of the main reasons I’ve kept it going is because I’ve made ‘friends’ through blogging (we’ve even exchanged real life letters!) and if I let blogging go I might lose those ‘friends’. That would be a shame. However, I have become lazy with commenting… I cruise around in bloglines, and clicking the button to go to the blog post is almost too much effort. Thanks for dragging from my malaise!

    (Hmmm, how does it work when you are already famous and blog???) 😉

  3. Laura Cococcia on June 9, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Hi Anita – how did you know this is just what I needed to hear today? 🙂 I, too, am guilty of browsing and reading – I’ve tried a new strategy of picking 5-8 blogs I really love and reading them often and commenting when I have something relevant to say. But on the writing side…it can often be a little tough when we take time to write something and we’re not sure if no one read it or no one liked it…but I guess that’s all part of the writing world (books, newspapers, blogs, etc.) It’s been a great learning process – and thank you for putting it into perspective here for me.

  4. Beth on June 12, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Hello from Charleston, SC. It’s so hot and muggy here now. I just spent a wonderful afternoon in the AC finishing The Last Days of Dogtown. It provided a great cathartic cry and your blog has provided a peak into your life. Thank you for writing your novels and your blog. Please continue–I cannot wait for your next book and will continue to pop in online.

  5. jer on June 15, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    thank you for this post!

  6. Bridechka on June 18, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Trully a great post. I have been such a fan of your work for many years and just discovered that you have a blog. I am so excited to get to read more of your words.

  7. Melanie on June 18, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you for your inspiration!

  8. Evie on June 19, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Found you from a Practical Wedding, but read the Red Tent many years ago and it’s stayed with me. I think I’ll always be interested in reading what you have to say, though pre-blogs would never had told you.

  9. 60's Guy on June 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I have recently become interested in blogs, and it’s surprising to me how many people keep up on some very good and interesting blogs, with very few comments, or none at all, sometimes. There are some I follow faithfully, though I seldom comment myself. I should do more of that. I didn’t realize until I read yours that it would be so appreciated.

  10. eLiZaBeTh on June 19, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I always have to laugh at myself when I feel bad that I haven’t posted an entry in a while…like the 3 people who read it are upset that I haven’t posted anything new!! haha. I must remember why I blog in the first place. To have a little place of my own where I can write about whatever I please & to have a bit of the ‘net that is just me. To those of my friends that post daily, yea! I love reading them, but I have to be true to my blogging…or lack there of…

  11. eLiZaBeTh on June 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I have to tell you one more thing. I just read a passage on why you married your husband (via A Practical Wedding Blog) and that is where I found your blog. I have always wanted to tell you how much I adore your writing…I read The Red Tent at the end of my (very unexpected!) pregnancy with my daughter and it gave me strength to get through the pregnancy and all-natural child birth. What a wonderful book! It is one that I cherish. I will be a faithful reader of your blog:)

  12. Anita Diamant on June 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Whoa! I never got so many responses to a post. So interesting that this should be the one…

  13. Caroline on June 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Well, now I feel obligated to respond. 🙂 I read some blogs regularly and others sporadically, but it’s true–I rarely post comments. The exception is on my niece’s blog, where Aunt Caroline always has a response or two.

    Thanks for all that you write. Know that we are all reading, even if not responding on a regular basis.


  14. PrincessMax on June 22, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Well, I just found you via Meg at A Practical Wedding and I’ll stick around for a little while. Your wedding book has been read by both my fiance and I and that alone propels me to add you to my Blogreader.

    I’m not sure why I didn’t stop writing when my reading circle stopped growing beyond 12 people. Maybe it is because blogging is inherently valuable to me. The responsibility of it makes me notice the details of my experiences and feelings. I live life more fully because I blog.

  15. Allan on June 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Hello from an old friend now in the Four Corners…

  16. femail doc on July 17, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Hey cool, that’s me. I haven’t visited in months, haven’t wished you a happy much belated birthday, and need to be in touch! Love and xoxo talk to you soon!

Leave a Comment