Thursday, 3 December 2009

Navel gazing

A typical blogger, revealing all
I think it must come to every fresh-faced blogger, sooner or later, to blog about blogging. Today's ejaculation may be a bit premature, but I'm fascinated, so please forgive the indulgence.

I started blogging to scratch a writing itch. I've written two fabulously unsuccessful novels. My best rejection letter was the hand-written scrawl "I do not read thrillers" in response to my romantic comedy, and as for my post-modern lightly ironic biopic set in the fascinating world of my office, well, I didn't bother sending that out at all. I'm working on an erotic sequel though.

But blogging is a revelation. Instant success! Write any old nonsense, press 'Publish', and it's plastered all over the planet for everyone to read. Mail all of your family and mates, let 'em know it's there, they'll be soaking up your pearls of wisdom on a daily basis.

Except they don't, mostly, because they don't share your obsession. And I have become an utter blog bore. Time and again when I bump into a buddy I blurt out: 'Have you read my blog recently?' I can't help myself. It's like Tourette's syndrome. The response is usually a polite, if stiff: 'Ooh, no, I will soon, thank you so much for reminding me. Again.' The notable exception is one brutally honest friend who shall remain nameless. She point-blank refuses to read it any more. Thanks Dawn.

So the other source of readers is fellow bloggers, and they do come, agonisingly slowly, but they do. And what an amazing bunch of people. Eclectic doesn't begin to describe it. Click on my modest followers collection if you don't believe me; they nearly all blog, and they're all good.

Followers are very precious, as are comments, because they mean someone has taken the trouble to read what you wrote1. It's like your Mum praising your latest Airfix model. So I agonise about my followers and I'm just delighted out of all proportion when one joins, the same feeling I get upon finding an extra curly-wurly at the bottom of my Christmas stocking.

I don't think I'm alone. A recent post from Dr. Zibbs, who runs a very funny and refreshingly vulgar blog called The Blue Yak, complains long and loud about lack of comments. He'll give up, he claims, unless he gets at least 100. This from a guy who has several hundred followers. Cue lots of comments, effing and blinding, slapping him about and good-naturedly knocking him off his soapbox. Quite right too, Zibbs, count your blessings.

It seems the good doctor has broken one of the unspoken rules of blog etiquette, which is: Don't moan. This is because many, nay most, bloggers are from N America, where people are unrelentingly positive; witness the proliferation of cheerful jogging blogs. In the rest of the world 'cheerful jogging' is an oxymoron.

I like this attitude. Someone once summed up Brits and Americans thus: if an American sees someone driving by in a swanky car (an import, obviously) they give a cheery wave and say "That'll be me someday". In Britain we just mutter "Bastard" and pretend not to notice them.

Well, I may call myself Grumpy, but I'm with you colonials. Look how happy I am. Please feel free to follow me. Go on. Please.

Which brings me to awards. I'm bowled over to have got two today, so I have to recommend two-times-five-is ten other blogs. Only ten? I'm following about ninety and I like all of them. But here goes:

From Sandra, passed on to:
Alice In Wonderland - Pull up a comfy chair, plump up your cushions and let Alice read you a soothing poem
Dan at Vacant Mind - Fellow brit and much grumpier than me, despite the bloody cheerful music. Read his pub rant
Marla at Butts And Ashes - Serious stuff but beautifully written, from one good person
Sarah - The Good Girls. Straight from the heart
plainolebob - Everyone awards him so it'll clutter his shelf but how could you not? He's just a nice bloke with great stories

From Alice, passed on to:
Vegetable Assassin - She makes me blush but she's sure funny. I don't think she's a vegetarian at all
Jen - Cheerful marathon runner, for heaven's sake. She'll do her knees in. Help me talk her out of it
MiMi - Living In France - which she dosn't. V funny.
Tina, at the Clean White Page. Spoooooky; dare you enter?
Lou, at Live Write Dream. Anyone who can use the word 'Meh' to describe a movie gets my vote

Honourable mention: Sandra at Real Life In A Minute. I was going to award her but she's got so many today already the poor lady must be completely bamboozled. Next time, JP

1 - Except maybe comments offering to sell you a Ukrainian bride, or man-sized man-parts


  1. Nice one Grumpy! Keep up the good work, blog it and they will come..

  2. I only come here for the pictures. They always put me in a special "mood"

    Congrats on the award my fellow Grumpy Bastard, and many thanks for thinking of me to pass it on to.

    And I am looking forward to your first erotic novel.

  3. lol on the car reference! er...which picture should i copy? can i use the lovely lady that's writing? i might trick my reader into thinking i'm THAT sexy!

  4. Wow had no idea Uber that you liked the comments that much, tell Dawn to take a hike then,lol.
    oh and congrats and thanks.

  5. There's no point commenting if there are already more than four comments. Who's going to read that far? Except you of course.

  6. Thank you, Urber! I'm confused at what picture to post as an award though! I love to read your page, I love the way you moan! When it comes for me handing out awards, I usually go through my reading list and see who hasn't got many followers, because giving them an award helps boost their confidence in blogging...and what can be better than blogging!
    Thank you! Big hugs!

  7. Thanks Grumpykins for the award! You are a very eloquent being indeed, but thank you for embracing my crassness. The Zibbs stuff sure was funny. I mean really, blogging is social and fun, there's no need to have a tantrum because you don't get a trillion comments like you once did. So dramatic!

    You are right about Brits and Americans in outlook. I didn't even notice particularly till I moved over to the States. People are generally happy for you if you do well and positive. In the UK people tend to knock success. You're no longer one of them if you do well. I don't know why.

    I also follow a lot of blogs, probably somewhere in the region of 250 but I use the Google Reader not the followers button so I don't actually show up on anyone's list. I think a lot of people do this. So I follow you and you don't even know. BOO! Maybe I need to change this system so everyone knows I'm there? I don't know. I'm already subscribed everywhere. So that little followers list is bigger than you think. :)

  8. Tina ~ Sage words...

    Dan ~ It's on the way! Complete with illustrations

    Sarah ~ Oops. I reposted to clarify a bit. Sorry. I blame being a techno-weenie

    Bob ~ I will!

    Chris ~ Pardon?

    Alice ~ Oops, sorry again, reposted for clarity :(

    Mimi ~ Likewise!

    VegeAssassin ~ Phew. Advanced stuff. 250!

  9. Tesco - Cheap Jokes Division3 December 2009 at 18:49

    I remember when all this was adverts instead of comments from sycophantic bloggers and curlywurly's were tuppence for three. Comments longer than two lines are for gurls anyway.

  10. Nothing like a little validation in the form of a comment to brighten your day!

  11. South Ossetia Department Of Fish Farming3 December 2009 at 19:15

    Navel gazing. How apt. I thought this blog was about grumpiness and curly wurlys. It's not, it's about self-congratulatory North-American bloggers caressing egos.

  12. TescoProles ~ Oi! Curly-wurlies were never tuppence for three. They were three new pence when decimalisation started and they were eight feet long.

    Cassie ~ Hi!

    SouthOssettiaProles ~ Oi! Have you been drinking with TescoProles? You leave my North American ego-caressers alone. And where's my damn links? Get off your fat french arse and start researching, dammit. Usual rates.

  13. Thank you for clearing that up, Urber! It was me who changed the "Lemonade Stall" into the Santa one because I always fiddle around with my awards! I just can't help myself! Now I'll have to change this one around too!
    That's what makes me unique!
    Yes, I can remember getting little mini Curley Whirleys! Just so you know that I am in your corner!

  14. Em, Urber...Do we have to pass these awards around? You never stated any conditions, and that is what usually happens. Or tell umteen things about yourself.

  15. Thanks Alice! No conditions - just give 'em to anyone who takes your fancy. Umpteen things sounds interesting though. How many is umpteen?

  16. I don't tell my friends and relatives about my blog. It causes too much drama if they think something I wrote is about them or if they get jealous because I blog about someone I like. I don't give real names since I haven't gotten their permission...

    Thanks for the award!

  17. This coming from you UberGrumpy - you are now complaining about other people complaining about your complaints. Its a whole new level of Grumpy-ness. Maybe there should be an award for that?

  18. Jen ~ Whoa! Does that mean you could be my long lost cousin Janet from Texas?

    Mini ~ OK, good point. No more complaining, honest

  19. Urber, Umteen is a bit more than ten, but not as many as twenty, so says my gob-demon! (That's the thingy that lives in your mouth and makes you say things that only you know the answer to!)

  20. I know what you mean about your friends reading your blog. I get the same answers. "Uh......." In other words, no, they haven't read it and probably don't plan to. Sheesh!

    Congrats on your award.

    Ok. Ok. I'm you now.

  21. Nicely done! You captured the agony and the ecstasy of a blogger's world so well.

  22. I always assumed that UberGrumpy was an ironic name and that you rode around on a unicorn and handed out kittens.

    Only two people that I actually know in real life ever read my blog. One is my wife. The other works for me, so I find his motives entirely suspect.

  23. Ok that is quite enough of the self referential comments and even comments about comments - sheesh - where is the beef? (does 'beef' mean complaint in the US of A?). This is meant to be a grumpy blog not a love in - it's all very disappointing really and where are the ships that the title promised - eh? Grrrrrr

  24. I have a few friends who read my blog unfortunately!

  25. Congrats on the award and good post I think you got the occasional frustration very nicely

    Kate xx

  26. Alice ~ Gob-demon? Whew

    RG ~ Thanks for stalking! Much better than jogging, eh?

    AWS ~ Yo! Thank you

    Hunter ~ You're damned close - I ride around on a kitten and hand out unicorns.

    BP ~ I think beef is one opf those oo-er missus double entendre thingies

    Mr C ~ I know the feeling

    Kate ~ Thank you!

  27. UG ~ Thank you for the very kind words and the award. I am beginning to doubt your grumpiness. No matter, I am thrilled!

    As for this latest post, brilliant! I swear you must be reading my mind. So, have you read my blog recently? (sorry, couldn't resist) :-)

    Thanks again for the award!!

  28. Yes, it's always a surprise to know a person has forgotten about our blogs.


  29. Hello..this north American is not unrelentlessly positive. Must be the British blood in me.. I do love most things British.. hmmm

  30. Yeah. I don't know what I was thinking when I posted that. In four years that's the only time I can remember people getting pissed at me.

    Oh well.

  31. Great blog! I thought I was the only one who had blog anxiety but it sounds like most of us do! Glad to know it's not just my mental issues! I agree with the comment about new followers! It makes me giddy ever time I sign in, fingers crossed...and toes too! Will there be a new follower today?! It's too exiting:)

  32. Yu are funny as s**t. Here in the US, we(the immature think s**t is quite funny. I am not worthy to be your follower. But I would like permission to drop in on you frequently. As a reflection of your post, even your commentors are crack ups, some of them;)

  33. Personally, I hate comments on my blog. I hate new followers. I write completely for myself.


    Comments are my drug. I need them to be happy. I need new followers like I need food.

    And speaking of drugs...that's why all us N Americans are so cheery. Antidepressants.

  34. Nope, but I know a few Janets. I'll ask if they've misplaced any cousins.

  35. Marla ~ I am grumpy! I am!

    Secretia ~ You're right. I love your blog name BTW

    VodkaLogic ~ Closet Brit, eh? Do tell!

    Dr Z ~ Yeas, but it was worth the entertainment...

    Blissseeker ~ Following you now! Got there in the end... Why is your blog marked 'grown-ups'?

    magda ~ Go on, follow! Feel free!

    GWTFIHH ~ Ah ha. Prozac eh? Gotcha

    Jen ~ Please do! :)