Bloggers start out with exuberance. The hits come in, and the attention and the emails, and the growing circle of acquaintances.
At first you get many detractors, but if your work blazes new ground, if you make a contribution, you eventually get your recognition, even fame. You might make just enough money to get by. You develop thick skin. You get good at the conversational style and you can pump out a dozen blog posts a day.
And then as the years roll by, you don’t build up any financial assets. You barely scrape by. You get old. Your peers pass you by. All of your peers pass you by. In your 20s, you were right there with them, and now they’re out of sight and you can’t afford to socialize with them much, if they even want to go downmarket to hang out with you. You still aren’t married. No children. You burn bridges. You leave people feeling betrayed. There are favorite haunts you can no longer frequent. The thrill of blogging is gone. Back trouble begins. Resentment builds. “When am I going to get mine?” you think. You have contempt for sell-outs aka those who are more successful than you. You hate your friends who are succeeding in their careers. You call them careerists because it seems like they will sacrifice all of their free speech just to get ahead. You by contrast aspire to a higher nobler calling. You have a mission to tell the world the truth.
You get old. You get isolated. You get weird. You make mistakes. You feel shame. You have nightmares about the innocent people you hurt. You develop a fear that you are not on a good path. You tire of the abuse and the anger. You read some of your old blog posts and you are appalled. Sometimes at 2 a.m., you wonder, where did I go wrong? Surely there is more to life than this.
Some offers to sell out come your way. At first you reject them, but eventually, fatigue and isolation and poverty overcome your scruples. You take the money and you move on with your life. You either wind down the most controversial parts of your blog or you walk away entirely.
You miss the attention. You miss the feeling that you are changing the world. You miss your delusions and that sense that you are at the very center of things. You miss the groupies. You feel empty. You feel stripped of your distractions. You face yourself and others. Your walls come down. You talk to people without a gun in your holster.
When other bloggers confide that they are thinking of selling out, you tell them that it might be a good idea. There’s more to life than pissing people off with blog posts.