No doubt, some bloggers have been anticipating National Blog Posting Month for, well, months and have been writing outlines and drafts of material to post on their blogs during November. They are the early Christmas shoppers of blogging. The ones who have their stuff bought, wrapped, and hidden by late July, early August. They've been stockpiling.
I don't know any bloggers like that, personally, though I do know a few early Christmas shoppers. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say I envy both--assuming the former exists and knowing the latter does. I wish I could be one of those people, but I'm not.
Instead, I've been sitting in front of my computer for the last hour crying for inspiration and getting nothing. I did have two short pieces written--one for Guy Fawkes Day and one for Veteran's Day, but those hardly constitute stockpiling or inspired.
I sat down the other day and made a list of possible topics I could blog about this month. Here's what I came up with:
Okay. That's not entirely true. But what I did come up with convinces me that blogging has acquired taboos akin to the three topics you never discuss in polite company or at family dinners: sex, politics, and religion. In the blog world, the taboo topics have become work, work, and work.
Work. You can't write about work because you might get Dooce'd and your company will fire you. In the case of some bloggers and the stuff they write about work, they deserve to be fired. In the case of other bloggers and the companies they work for, the companies deserve to be outed. But still, it's best not to write about work. Period.
Work. You can't write about work under your real name because that's a sure recipe for a Googlefind and even though you'd like to think the people you work with couldn't possibly be that interested in you and your thoughts, I promise you, they will Google you and they will find you. They may not mention that they've found you, but they will find you. And, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position mentioned previously. Not a good thing. If you're smart, you'll come up with a nom de plume.
And work. If you do write a blog and you're smart enough to do it under a pseudonym and you're even smarter to only allow a select group of friends read it, you're not very smart if you tell the people you work with about it or you trust one of them enough to add them to your list of select friends. Believe me, it won't stay a secret for long. And even if the people at work can't access it because you've limited who can read your blog, they'll still talk about it and eye you suspiciously. Also not a good position to be in. That's not to say you can't have a public blog. You just can't entrust it to anyone you work with until you're at least three jobs removed.
In addition to work, the other group you should never share your blog with is your family. At least, in my case, that's been my experience. Because what will happen is, while you're careful not to talk about sex, politics, and religion during Sunday dinner, you'll talk about it on your blog. And it will upset your mother or your cousin or a nephew. And you'll hear about it, most likely from your mother. And she'll cry and wonder how you could put yourself and your life and your job and your happiness at risk. And then she'll tell you how she knows you mean well, but others don't. And no one loves you like she does. And, and, and... And, well, you get the picture. It will make your life a living, teary hell.
So, boys and girls, as a refresher, what are the three rules about blogs?
1. Always stockpile for events like NaBloPoMo.
2. The taboo subjects never to write about are: work, work, and work.
3. Never tell your family about your blog, no matter how much you love them and they love you and your talent for writing.
Everybody clear? Good! Now where's my Christmas list, dammit!