When Blogging Became a Popularity Contest

“I am my own man now and you don’t have to agree or like my decisions but you have to accept them.”

Sometimes your kids say things to you that just make you want to beam with pride and that was one of them. Little Jack is 12.5 now and I couldn’t have been prouder than to hear and watch him tell me how things were going to be.

Sadly for him I hid my smile and told him that was not how things were going to be because I am his father and sometimes he is going to have to do things that he doesn’t like to do. I would have liked to have told him he was channeling me and that this attitude would take him far in life but it wasn’t appropriate for the moment.

Blogging As A Popularity Contest

Maybe I am still thinking about a writer’s voice and maybe I am still stuck on monetizing the blog but I get fed up with the popularity contests surrounding blogging.

All I Want To Do Is Write and not worry about the nonsense that comes with blogging. Believe it or not I sometimes get tired or writing posts like How To Make More Money and Have Better Sex Through Blogging and The Dad Blogger’s Guide To Blogging- A Writer’s Tool Kit Part One.

But I always come back to the same places that I addressed inThe Problem With Blogging Conference Speakers and that is the question of is what I am doing now going to help me reach where I want to go.

If I want to make more money as a writer and use the blog to help me get there do I have to spend more time playing the popularity game. Or alternatively can I adjust that and spend more time on my marketing efforts.

Is it a reasonable compromise and am I willing to do the work.

Do The Work

The willingness to do the work is a huge part of how far we go in life. I can complain about blogging being a popularity contest and point out that a lack of invitations to some events and addition to some lists is because I don’t play that game.

But I can also be accountable for not doing other things too to make that happen.

I can say without question that my not being in the kind of shape I want to be in is because I haven’t adjusted my eating habits. I am 44 but I like to eat like I am still 24. Either I adjust my diet or increase how long I spend in the gym.

Ok, it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition, I could do some of both, but whose talking. Shut up.

If I want to be a published author I have to do more than just say I need an agent/publisher/willingness to self publish. I have to do the work that is required to make those things happen.

I write more than most people do because I love it and because it is part of doing the work to become a better writer but it is not enough.


Accountability is a big part of my life and something I keep talking to my kids about. If we have goals and desires we have to be accountable to ourselves first or we dramatically impact our ability to live our dreams and not dream our lives.

I don’t want to be the guy that always points the finger. I don’t want to wake up and say that if I had a new computer I could do better. It is true, this  laptop is dying and it is getting harder to work on it but that shouldn’t be the primary reason why I am not getting it done.

The primary reason has to be the guy in the mirror, the reflection. It has to be me because I am the only one I can control and even that is questionable at times.

We really have limited control in life, most of the time the best we can do is manage the situations we find ourselves in and go from there.

Is that a contradiction? Did I just say we can only control one thing and then in the next breath say we can’t.]

Yeah, I did, but that is life, a contradiction.

My Own Man

Fifteen hundred miles from here there is a 12.5 year-old boy who is working on becoming his own man. He is focused on trying to figure out how to find the path that suits him best.

I just hope that as I blaze my trail he figures out that sometimes I am going to force him to walk on my path but only because it is part how he’ll learn where and when he can branch off and truly become his own man.

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  1. Kenya G. Johnson August 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I had to chuckle, because I’ve said, “If I had my own iPad”… Hope your computer doesn’t die on you though. That’s serious!

  2. Stan Faryna January 11, 2014 at 5:17 am

    As I reflect on this post and the comments, these thoughts come to my mind:

    We are gifts unto others and our specific gifts (writing for example) are to be exercised for the profit of others.

    If we understand that and live it, we can rise above our idle thoughts about the popularity contest, let go of the envy, fear and self-doubt, and do amazing things through a sincere and inexhaustible love.

  3. Sebastian Aiden Daniels June 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

    It is true. Blogging is a popularity contest and it sort of sucks, but I guess life in general is a popularity contest.

    We can only control ourselves and as you said that is questionable because when emotions become involved it can make things very difficult.

  4. Lessons Of A Dad June 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Now that I think of it, yeah, it’s like we’re back in school again, aiming to be the queen bee of the blogsphere. I admit that I do get caught up in all traffic driving madness, too. I should just focus on writing good content. I don’t like to be a “fast food” blog.

    As for your young man, I feel you there too. My daughter is turning 14 and my middle child is turning 12. I can already feel them wanting more freedom and to be independent. The best thing we could do is to have built a great relationship with them when they were younger, so that as we slowly give them the freedom they crave, they still value our opinion and our approval.

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi LOD,

      It is easy to get caught up in that. I feel it sometimes too and there are moments where it bothers me. It is a question of how much time we give or don’t give to it. I agree about building the relationship with our kids. It makes a significant difference and hopefully will help them listen to us when they are older.

  5. medium success June 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    That is a serious, thought provoking and yet really relatable post. I know what you mean when you say everything you said above. It is true. We start with a thought in mind that this blog is going to be a place where I write because I like writing except some people ofcourse and then somewhere down the line the personal blogging experience necessarily starts wanting a competition. But you break it down into so simple points, which is just amazing. What is great about this post particularly is that every paragraph flows into the next one, showing how structured your thought process is

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Medium,

      Thank you. I have been doing this for a long time and have written about the topic before so I think it is probably easy for it to just spill out of me.

  6. Betsy Cross June 2, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I remember standing in the dance studio with fists clenched behind my back as I was getting yelled at by a teacher / choreographer. I asked myself whether it was worth it to me to keep going. I had witnessed the so-called popularity contest and politics of the dance world behind the scenes and thought about how that wasn’t what I’d signed up for. But I just couldn’t pull myself away from it no matter how destructive it seemed or felt. In the end noe of that mattered as much as getting my time on the floor and the stage where I felt like myself.
    I don’t see what you see in the blogosphere. But I’m not too active in it either. Perhaps I don’t care about writing as much as you do. But I understand your commitment and why you stick to it. 🙂

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      My perception has been that you like writing to express yourself and to memorialize people/events/places. I think that is cool. It doesn’t mean you don’t like to write, just a different approach.

  7. Karen June 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This was an eye-opening post for me. I’m pretty new to blogging, and I came to it as a creative/emotional outlet. I read other blogs, and I enjoy interacting with people who know how to craft a good story. Sure, I want people to read my work and give me feedback (money would be awesome too), but I’ve never considered blogging as a vehicle for making money. Very interesting.

    I hope you fulfill all of your writerly dreams.

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Karen,

      The people who get the most out of blogging and last the longest tend to be those who are in it for the same reasons as you. It is just more fun that way.

  8. Larks June 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I was nodding my head throughout this post. I’m trying to “get” blogging more – like really understand the nature of the beast but I’m finding it so challenging. The popularity and networking aspect of it is mind boggling to me, perhaps because I’m an introvert. But I very much agree with what you said about the person in the mirror being responsible for the outcome and a willingness to do the work. So I’ll keep trying to figure it out but mainly I just need to commit to writing, writing, writing.

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Hi Larks,

      Blogging isn’t all that different from life, just done on screen instead of face-to-face, well most of it. The conference stuff is different.

      But you can get out what you put in, more or less. The question is do you know what you want. If you do then you can figure out a plan more or less to try and make it happen.

      Just comes down to what works for you.

  9. Jamie June 1, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I was nodding with all that you wrote here — except — being a 44-year-old man and the first part about your 12.5-year-old son. My 12.5 year old daughter has turned into a sassy hoochie-mama overnight and I am an imbecile. And I don’t have to agree with her decision to parade around town with her turquoise padded bra (that I bought in a weak trying-to-be-a-hip-mom moment) half out of her top. UGH. Twelve and a half boys were never like this.

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      I have an almost 9 year-old daughter who called to complain that her mother won’t buy her a bra. She tried to convince me that I had to and that since I wasn’t a woman I couldn’t really understand why she needed it now.

      I told her that her mom and I are on the same page and that I like killing boys that ask her on out on dates. She didn’t think that was funny, but it made me chuckle.

  10. Kaarina Dillabough June 1, 2013 at 9:22 am

    In the words of someone I know (wink wink): Just write baby, just write. Cheers! Kaarina

  11. Natalie DeYoung June 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Gah, I hate the popularity aspect of blogging. Makes me feel like I’m in high school all over again. Of course, the ironic thing is that if I ignore it and just write good shit, I get more readers. When I panic & try to jump through hoops, it’s like the internet popularity gods see this and block people from making it to my site…

    • Jack June 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Hello Natalie,

      It does feel like high school but fortunately that is really a matter of choice. If we stay focused ignore it good things tend to happen or so I have convinced myself.

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