Remember in the early 00’s when blogging was about all your teen angst bullshit?
Remember when your blog was called “Life’s Garbage” and it was a place where maybe five strangers on the internet read about your bad day and you read their blogs and their bad days and you bonded over your mutual teenage angst over tagged links (rewards for leaving comments, the gold of all personal blogs!) and it was a back and forth trade of failed math tests and boys who didn’t like you and emo bands until you grew up and went to college and didn’t have time to complain anymore?
Sometimes I miss that. I miss feeling like I had a reason to write about my own experience.
Now I have this WordPress plugin that tells me if my posts are SEO-friendly, meaning if I’ve got enough eye-grabbing photos and links to other posts to keep visitors on my website and links to affiliates who will keep people interested and enough buzzwords that link to my web-friendly not too long title to keep the web search that links to my blog relevant. The readability needs to be just so. I need to have a focus keyword that describes what the post is about. I need a bloody meta description that describes the post for some other amalgamated search jargon that I DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND DO NOT CARE TO UNDERSTAND. There are all these checkboxes that my blogs need to fill. I have to turn them from red to green with my blog post.
Here’s all the crap I need to fix on my post thus far:
The perfectionist in me will likely deal with all my flaws, but all this mentioned, I can freely admit that there are things I miss about my teen angst days. The 00’s wasn’t even really early days for the internet, but it was still a time when you felt like you actually “found” stuff on it. A band nobody else listened to? An episode of The Office that hadn’t yet been deleted from YouTube? A person who also couldn’t get a boyfriend no matter how many hot low-resolution selfies they took with their webcam and their bedroom in the background? That kind of magic doesn’t exist in an online universe built around square images.
I’ve wanted to delve into lifestyle blogging for a while now, but that shit involves real commitment, and the only thing I’m really committed to slaving over for extended amounts of time is my writing. Everything else must be instant gratification. Often times when I spin myself into an anxiety trap about not having more followers or likes on my Instagram, I remember back to wanting more comments on my Life’s Garbage blog posts.
I named the blog Life’s Garbage after my favourite band in the 10th grade: Garbage.
I used to be obsessed with this awful Canadian show called Train 48 about 12 people who ride public transit in Toronto. None of my friends were fans but I thought the guy named Zach was super hot, and one Halloween I dressed up as a stockbroker after the Pete character who I also somehow had a weird crush on.
I once bought this lime green shirt that I was convinced had changed my perspective of myself.
At one point in time, Billy Talent was the only band that meant anything to me, mainly because the single for their first video, “Try Honesty” was filmed in an abandoned psychiatric hospital and I felt like they understood the darkness in me.
In 12th grade, I had a spare block where I spent every day in the empty Drafting classroom so I could build a three-story model of a truly-ugly McMansion where all my friends would live. It had an accusation parlor and a movie theater and a bar in the basement with a hidden wall that lead to a grow-op room for us to grow marijuana (because how else would we afford a house like that in an economy that was about to crash?).
I know all this SEO shit is important, but it’s restrictive. The creative in me can’t handle having to restructure my words. Currently, my plug-in is telling me that this post’s readability “needs improvement”. I’m not using subheadings, even though my text is long. 40.6% of my sentences contain more than 20 words. That’s above the recommended maximum of 25%. 17.6% of the sentences use a passive voice. This last one I can understand, being a fiction writer and all. Nobody wants to read passive prose. But this is a bloody blog post, and a passive one at that, and I know at this point that I should just delete this damn plug-in and write without guilt, but the internet is a special beast now.
They have courses on blogging now. So you can write correctly. So you can take the right pictures. So you can manufacture the best content just like low-wage Chinese factory line workers.
So this, in a nutshell, is why I have such a difficult time blogging.
I’m too lazy.
My anxiety is too rich for this line of work.
Still, what is being a writer if it’s not living with stress and anxiety 98% of the time?