The State of My Ego and Six Years of Wine Blogging
On the sixth anniversary of starting this blog, I see that I've produced 2,170 posts in those six years of blogging about wine, the wine industry, wine politics, wine public relations and marketing, and my affinity for bourbon.
However, all those blog posts aren't what interest me today as I reflect on the past six years of writing under my own name for public consumption. What interests me is why I, and other wine bloggers, do it. Though difficult to tether all wine bloggers to the same explanation, it is significant that we all have something in common:
1. Our blogging is meant to attract (or at least results in attracting) attention to ourselves.
2. We are, for the most part, uncompensated for our blogging
3. We believe the opinions and thoughts laid out in our blogs are worthy of attention and consideration.
Is it all merely an exercise in ego stroking?
No…not entirely, though anyone who denies that writing for public consumption is an act of ego stroking, particularly when it is unpaid writing and meant to be read by strangers and acquaintances alike, simply must engage in a bit more honest self reflection.
For me, in November 2004, the key point was #3. I honestly believed that after having spent 15 years writing on behalf of clients and their brands, that my own personal thoughts and opinions on the ebb and flow of wine industry matters were worthy of consideration. I admit giving in to self reverence.
Today my motivation is somewhat different. There is a great deal going on after six years of working this blog that keeps me motivated.
First, writing commentary and essays on a daily basis has become a part of my daily routine that serves the necessary act of exercising my powers of observation and reflection.
Second, blogging has actually become an act of self indulgent relaxation—a development I don't fully understand.
Third, though I write about a variety of topics, my semi-regular forays into wine politics on this blog satisfy my desire to try to draw attention to certain kinds of reform this industry badly needs.
Fourth, advertisers on this blog deserve to continue to have as vibrant a platform as possible for their marketing efforts to gain interest from this blog's readers.
Fifth, this blog represents the best tool I can currently fashion to generate and control the kind of conversations I want to have.
The 2,170 posts over the past six years comes out to 361 posts per year, beginning November 29, 2004—meaning I've failed by a sliver to live up to the idea of a "Daily Wine Blog". Going forward, I'll just have to work harder to serve my ego.
Can we slip in one further commonality – well, it applies to you and we hope to us – that our blogs may entertain others?
Congrats on being prolific, Tom.
On my own blog I have been wondering about frequency. I don’t think I should post every day because a lot of the more thought-provoking stuff I write takes a couple days to start getting attention. Since I know that you want readership for the political stuff you write, what’s your take on this? Do you see a benefit in leaving a strong post up for an extra day or two?
I think I do it for reasons 2 and 5 along with creating and feeding some very real relationships that began because people started reading and commenting on my silly crap. Those people have come to mean a great deal to me and if all I have to do to repay them is post once in awhile, share my stories, discoveries and rants…well it is the very least I can do.
I don’t care much for original hits as you and I have discussed before Tom and the reason is that I am trying to make a connection to people, trying to touch and inspire them and the only way I can do that, (with my style writing and my outlook on wine) is to share myself with them. For them to truly care what I say I think they first need to care about, respect or at the very least understand my passion for wine and sharing it with others. I think to make that connection it takes more than one visit. I believe someone, (not pointing at YOU Tom Wark) said that was self absorbed but….well kid aren’t we all in a way?
Anyone who blogs and doesn’t agree that one of their reasons is to touch others, just isn’t in touch with their true motivations. Self absorption isn’t a bad thing as long as it isn’t the single motivator. And you, Sam, have accomplished your stated goals with Sans Dosage.
I think it’s pretty clear that the longer one leaves a post at the top of their page, the more likely it is to get attention than if it is pushed own by something new. Of course the real way one gets attention for a post, whether at the top or bottom of a page, is determined by the degree to which it is linked to by other sources. So, if you want maximum exposure for a particular post, or any post, you are leaving it at the top of your page and pitching others to link to it.
I recognize this as I post new stuff. I recognize that certain things won’t get as much coverage than if I left them up there for a two or three days. However, I like blogging/writing. There’s stuff that wants to get out of my head. So, I’m willing to sacrifice the exposure for the opportunity to explore another subject.
Tom as usual it is pleasure to read your writings and “rants”. I truly enjoy the fact that you are so honest in what and why you do it. I have recently discovered and dropped several new blogs because it was pretty much in your face that the blog was all about there ego and for them. And to add insult to injury they always mention something they are promoting or doing and even that they are teaching how to use social media to make money! I would much rather read someone who has something to say that they feel and want to say then to hear an advert for someone who is “paying” them to say it. Thanks for the last 6 years and please give us many more of your fun and informative ego!!
Congrats on another productive year! It’s been a pleasure reading your posts, whether they be personal, political, or philosophical.
If you truly enjoy blogging, then it never feels like a chore or an obligation. For me it’s like hunger: on a regular basis I get an urge to write, and I’m happier after I’ve satisfied it. I also get a real kick out of redesigning my site once in a while, laying out a general editorial style, and taking a look at it occasionally to see what’s working and what’s not.
I don’t fool with my layout much, though not because it doesn’t need it. Maybe I’ll get to that sometime in the next 12 months.
Thanks for reading!!
You’re very kind!
To help you understand reason number 2: it’s what every writer knows, or should know.
Writing is self indulgent relaxation because, if it is done well and if it is a true expression of the writer, its purpose is served.
The fact that some of us get paid to write does not remove the self-indulgent part of the equation, but it can go a long way to increase the relaxation 😉
Congrats Tom. Well deserved success to be sure. I know with your day job in the industry, you’re not exactly the average wine blogger, but for people to discount blogs when they’re written by people working for free samples, it’s silly.
great article, there were many blogs I didnt know about…but the true question remains : how do we get the time to read all these great articles?
Amen to everything in your post! Blogging about wine is totally how I rid myself of the cacaphony in my brain after a hectic work day (and it’s always a hectic work day). May I add, it gives us an excuse to try lots of new wines, and often!
I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!