I’d saved a quote from some marketing materials to share here. The emailing voice revs up to exhort the reader: is your blog a HOBBY? Or is your blog a BUSINESS! I’m paraphrasing; in the end I couldn’t bring myself to repeat the whole spiel.
I read this message before I arrived at the Hochschild quote. So the blog-to-profit burr’s been under my saddle for more than a few days. Because this blog isn’t profitable (!), isn’t likely to be profitable, but isn’t a hobby.
Unless everything that doesn’t generate revenue is a hobby, in which case we’re classifying rearing children as a hobby and we’re squarely inside my rant on the unprofitability of relationships.
The rah-rah speech quickly moves toward “It isn’t enough just to publish, you have to publish with purpose.”
I find it interesting, however, that the emailing person only envisions one type of purpose. For a blog-as-business, one uses the same framework as other kinds of business: whose itches are you scratching? What do you offer to scratch them with? Is everything you do, business-wise, pointed at itch-scratching?
It’s a time-tested, sound approach. I have no problem with the framework…
…I’m annoyed by the meta-assumption.
Because I do publish with purpose. When I didn’t have a purpose, I didn’t blog. (Is that something that actually happens, that people blog without having a reason? Seems unlikely-!) But my purpose is, well, hermetic. I publish to be publishing, to be lifting the weights of writing daily.
I’m pretty clear about the limitations of this: daily exercise scratches no one’s itch but one’s own. Which means I’m super grateful that you who follow this blog come knowing you’re observing a few bicep curls and maybe a wind sprint. So maybe I’m being too hard on that person with a blog-to-business development package to sell.
But just as relationships are worth doing well even though there’s no money in it, I think practices–like prayer, like meditation, like physical activity, like daily blogging–are worth doing even when there’s no clear reward at the end, like toned muscles or a check in the mail.
Perhaps practice is one of those elements from the past that we dimly crave without being able to put our fingers on it. Perhaps instituting a regular practice of some kind would give each of us a foundation, or ballast, for our swirling days.