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Why Blogging is Like The Wizard of Oz and There’s No Place Like Home. A Polemic or Maybe a Manifesto. For all the Red Shoe Bloggers.

Posted By kellydiels 3rd of October 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

A Guest Post by Kelly Diels.

Wizard of Oz Dorothy Shoes  Adult costume.detail.jpgLet’s mash up reality and assume that Dorothy wrote The Wizard of Oz and it is a memoir told through the lens of pharmaceuticals and it is to be published next year.

Dorothy has written a great book: part trippy fantasy, part freudian/jungian/wonky archetypical therapy, part love letter to friendship, and a prefeminist, feminist, post-feminist meditation on the nature and power of femininity wrapped in a trendy, little-dog-carrying, hot-shoe-wearing package. It is Sex and the City meets Eat Love Pray meets Little Red Riding Hood, on acid. It is a journey. It is a great book. It must be read.

Dorothy knows this. She feels it right from her soul to the soles of her ruby red shoes. She can see the future: a movie. Musicals. The talk show circuit. Oprah. Much money, much love, much conversation, and a place in popular imagination.

It can be all of these things, not because she promotes the flying monkeys out of it – which she will, and absolutely should do – but because it offers a watery answer to our thirsty, questioning souls: you are the author of your own affair. Plus there are weird scary creatures who learn to love each other and grow as twisted, maturing moral entities and we all know that stuff sells. I hear a little book called Twilight is doing quite well these days.

So this book should sell. It needs to sell. Dorothy wants it to sell. Even more than that, Dorothy wants it to be read, to land, to take root, to grow, to inhabit, fertilize and animate our popular imagination.

If I was Dorothy – and I am – I would start a blog before I even started writing the book. I’d go all Seth Godin and build a tribe on Twitter. I’d find my people. I’d give them somewhere to find me. I’d get on the cluetrain. I’d Oprah. I’d firestart. I’d listen to Leo Babauta when he says he doesn’t believe in SEO. I’d make friends. I’d work the aich-ee-double-hockey-sticks out of ProBlogger and spend serious time with Outspoken Media. I’d figure out the lessons learned by our pantehon of blog gods and best-selling writers. I’d figure out the mechanics of demand and distribution and audience and I’d build it and they would come. And if they didn’t come, I’d go get them and then hug and pet and feed them because that is the purpose of promotional tricks and lassos and rodeo ponies and hoopla.

But I would only do that if, like Dorothy, I had something wizardly to offer: the journey. The passion. The learning. The love. The living. The lessons. The magic. The really, really great content. Please.

And this is what exasperates me about the ‘blogging and social media for money’ superhighway. So many times I follow the yellow brick road laid by an enterprising blogger who’s working the system – rocking the comments, manufacturing controversy, guest posting, paper-training SEO, tweeting – and when I get there and pull back the curtain…nothing. No wizard. No magic. No message. Just a lot of mechanics and whirling buttons and a robotic, soulless special effects machine.

Honestly, that’s what a lot of problogging and blogs and social media enterprises are looking like these days. It is turn-key blogging. It is execution unsparked by ideas. It is a waste of time and tweets and it won’t make you money.

Straight up: I don’t make a cent from my blog and I’m certainly not disparaging bloggers who do. I LOVE money. I want money. I want you and Dorothy and every other problogger out there to have as many tiny dogs – more! – as you and your minions can carry. I just want you to make it from selling wisdom, truth, experience or sparkly scarlet maryjanes (and if you are, I’m ALWAYS in the market for red shoes, so please put me on your mailing list). I want you to make an offering. I want you to have something to offer. I want you to be a Red Shoe Blogger. I just made that up.

A Red Shoe Blogger is not blogging exclusively for money. A Red Shoe Blogger has a mission and is animated by passion and all the tips and tricks and hacks and tools and tweets are harnessed in service of that divine, cosmic, helpful, genuine, meaningful objective. That mission is Home.

So this is what I want from all the Red Shoe Bloggers out there: I want you to buck the system, or work the system, but know that the system is not a slot machine that will pay off if only you keep pulling that arm and never ever run out of nickels or take a pee-break.

Success is not just about the systems. The home address of success is passion, talent (let’s be honest), creation, contribution, collaboration, conversation, and community.That is where hot sweaty abundance and cold hard cash reside (FYI, they’re totally a couple) and I wish more bloggers lived there too.

Because, after all, there’s no place like home.

  1. God, this is good, so very good! Great use of a metaphor, great writing, and rock bottom truth! As a writer, myself, I thrill to it. And it is absolutely relevant–as ProBlogger so often is–to where I am in my journey to a sucessful blog. I’m really not happy with the fake social networking that goes on in blog promotion.

    I feel slimy when I get oily, flattering comments by people who I sense are just trolling for places to post comments as a way of promoting themselves. A typical (and real) one reads something like this: “I am so pleased to have found your blog. I can only hope one day to be as good as you are. Please visit my blog and advise me.”

    Perhaps I haven’t conveyed the exact wording, but when I get a phony, insincere comment like that that is blatent self-promotion, I really want to delete it, but don’t have a valid reason to do so. Is it proper blog manners to delete something like that, or do I just swallow the bile and hope readers buy it more than I do? Donna

  2. Yea for this – let’s hear it for passion & content!

  3. Blogging is SO time-consuming, that unless you’re well off to begin with, it can be tough to keep up with it just for fun.

    Someone once told me that everyone has a story, just some people tell it better

    Those are your probloggers!

    Great article, thank you.

  4. This is a great eye opener for a struggling blogger like me to take the road of a Red Shoe blogger. I love ProBlogger!

  5. “I had mentally summoned courage this morning. I was ready for “this gives me no practical tools that I can use in my blog” sorts of comments. And it is a love fest. Wow. Thanks. But where are the contrarians and practical people???”

    Okay. Let’s get practical.

    Kelly, your whole post is a practical tool. And maybe even a wake-up call to the folks who are cluttering the room with push-button money-making anything.

    A quick count gives me 5 links to other resources.

    And it has a motivating call to action. It’s just my opinion, Kelly, but if this is stream of consciousness then you have a rare combination of talent, passion and timeliness.

    I’ve even been trying to think of something I could take issue with, or offer a suggestion on. Kelly, the only thing I can think of is that you wrote it today and not sooner. This is a bucket of water that should be thrown on all the wicked witches.

    Conrad Hall

  6. Great article. I must say that I aim to make money with my bog, though.

    I used to think that there was something wrong with wanting money — that people were greedy for it. But then I noticed how many people hold themselves back from their true potential because they don’t want to appear greedy (either to themselves or to other people).

    Money is important to me, not because of what I can buy, but because of the impact I can have on the world with it. I want to have a positive impact on people’s lives and money can empower me to do this.

    Having said that, I try to write my blogs about subjects that are interesting to me or I am passionate about. I have a lot of fun writing this way!

  7. Kelly…..Thank you for one of the most meaningful post I have read in a long, long time.

    keep up the good work!

  8. I’ve spent my working life doing what I love and getting paid for it. The recession took my 12 year job, but…
    I love the idea of sharing all I know via a blog – many years of experience that should be shared beyond the borders of my small town. I have felt a little “dirty” nosing around in all the “how to make money blogging” sites – I still need to make a living. Who besides ProBlogger would you suggest as good resources for new bloggers looking at how to make a living blogging with integrity?

  9. Life’s a Yellow Brick Road…and perhaps true blogging is finding ourselves through addressing the needs of others. In another way blogging is going on a journey with others to collectively find who we are and what we are capable of. Thanks Kelly for a stimulating post full of passion – without passion there is no persistence and no realization…

  10. If my memory serves me well, at the beginning of the movie, the wizard is selling the equivalent of snake oil from the back of a wagon. Am I right? (It’s been a while.)

    There’s some great foreshadowing for you, Kelly.

    I loved your guest post, equally for your skillful writing disguised as a stream-of-consciousness rant as for the metaphorical authenticity of quality blogging it promotes.

    I’m all for more of both of those and will be reading your blog.

    Thanks, Kelly, and Darren, too!

  11. Bravo! When I go to a blog and it’s a giant “sales letter” I am istantly turned off! Give me something I can use, for free, and then if I like what I see I might consider spending some money. But PLEASE don’t make the reason for your blog TO make money! Like MLM….the “pie in the sky” types are what ruined it for the regular people!

  12. Thank you for that, Darren! Now I can just click my heels and say, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”

    Turn-key blogging. Isn’t that just deadly dull? I’d rather hang out with the Lollipop Guild, writing fun books for them to read, and watch the flying monkeys do aerobatics. Eventually, my Ruby Red Slippers will pick up a little gold dust off the Yellow Brick Road.

  13. very clever analogy and also very true, without great content all the other machination are a waste of time

  14. What a wonderful blog post. I love the passion in it.

    What’s interesting is that the original manuscript for the Wizard of Oz was rejected by publishers for ‘not making sense’ and now it is so much part of our culture that everyone recognises the references.

    Dorothy kept plugging away and promoting her magical journey.

    (OT: I didn’t realise at first that it was a guest post and thought Darren was revealing a certain fondness for wearing red stilettos!)

  15. Kelly, Iove your voice! The story you told was great!

    Although I do disagree with you on one major point. I don’t think it is wrong to provide your readers with something great while trying to make money at the same time. The idea that you want nothing for providing something of value is a little too idealistic for me personally.

  16. Excellent way to give us your artistic views on Dorothy and her story. You went around the block with your opinion on The Wizard of Oz and I, thoroughly mezmerized, went with you. Do I totally agree with all of it? Nah, but you blow me away with your talent.

    Do I totally agree with your on the parallels of Dorothy and marketing? Yes.

    Really brill, Jan

  17. Love this post! Not only was it a joy to read with all the wonderful playing around with words, but it was informative and inspiring. I now so much want to be a Red Shoe Blogger that I can feel it welling up in my soul. It makes me want to join the Lolly Pop Guild. It makes me want to grab a basket and put a dog in it! It makes me … oh, well, you get the picture. ;-)

  18. @y’all. I want to make money too. I’m figuring out business models as we speak. I just want to marry The Purpose with The Cash. I don’t think it has to be one or the other but it seems like bloggers are in one camp or the other. How about we do both? Have fantastic, amazing, breath-taking, creative content AND market and monetize the flying monkeys out of it?

  19. however, individual blogs may ever “out of topic” about they main idea

  20. Wizard of Oz has long been one of my favourite modern fables. The most powerful part of the story for me is the fact that not until the various yellow brick road walking companions form a little community are they able to start solving each other problems. We tend to be rather blind to our own strengths and of course the biggest lesson of all if we need to look further than our own backyard for our blogging home well then we’ve got no real need to hit the yellow brick road in the first place.

  21. So true…it is all about passion and keeping at it. It will pay off, all hard work does!

  22. Sometimes we just need to get home to start the journey all over again. I love the analogies here.

  23. Janet says: 10/08/2009 at 1:33 am

    So… what exactly was your point? Nothing you’ve written above is even half as magical as the REAL wizard of oz. So are you borrowing someone else’s ideas to do what exactly? Write prettily? Tell us to promote the hell out of something so as NOT to make any money, but just feel like we are “home” because we have a big ol platform called our blog to spew from?? Huh?

    I am really really really really tired of bloggers thinking that the medium IS the message. But they aren’t. Without a message blogs suck. Worse – they are a BORE. You can have really cute metaphors all you want but without any depth or meaning or something NEW there is no there there. (PS Another writer’s work you might consider glomming off of.)

    You sound like a nice person. You pick out pretty words. But one of these days I hope we find some substance somewhere, oh please oh please oh please!!

    I’ve read about Dorothy and you are No Dorothy! L. Frank is rolling in his grave.

  24. I just wanted to say that I totally love your style here. So refreshing!!!

  25. You know, you really know how to ferret out that kernel of grit that creates the pearl– you write with a depth and an understand that astound me. I love this, and not only because I totally agree with it, but because you want to get everyone to do better. (Karmically, not monetarily.)

    Loved it.

  26. First time listen about these

  27. Thank you for posting this. It makes me feel like if I really care about something and spend the time researching and blogging… pouring my heart into something that I’m passionate about that somebody does care if it is a real person behind the curtain. I wasn’t sure if anyone noticed anymore. Muah. Kat

  28. Loved it and just shared it with someone on LinkedIn Answers that was wondering why no one was buying his new product. Yes, I agree with the one person that said it was quirky and you interpreted this as creative – way creative writing in my opinion. I have been writing my new blog from passion – not enough attention to strategic keywords. However I’ve noticed that my old blogs still get a lot of hits because I optimized them for keywords. I did not stuff the entries with keywords, just used perhaps one or two that had low competition and and received a lot of hits on Wordtracker. So, perhaps a combination of passion and a bit of keyword selection is better for me anyway – although I prefer writing from the heart.

  29. Kelly,
    You are TOTALLY a Red Shoe Blogger. This is where fantasy meets truth and passion is the fuel which feeds our souls. Bloggers like you feed your readers – you infuse them with inspiration because your writing is alive and carrys the promise of truth, not just keyword repition.
    It doesn’t hurt that red happens to be my favorite color, so I already know Dorothy had great taste!

  30. I would say just:
    “The home address of success is passion.”

    If you are passionate about something it’s because you love doing it and have a talent for it. If you’ve got passion you create, contribute, collaborated with similar minded people.
    If you’ve got passion and create something, you will start conversations and you will gather your own community.

    For me, it comes only to this: “The home address of success is passion.”

  31. Loved, loved, loved this. What a fun post. “Red-shoe bloggers.” Love it. (BTW, I don’t have any red shoes I can spare; I only have one pair that I purposely had dyed to match a dress I only wore twice because then I got pregnant with my fourth child at the age of 39 and somehow the body has not come all the way back but I am holding on to those shoes JUST IN CASE.)

    Again, just a totally fun, and true, post.

    Anne @alivenkickin

  32. What a post!!thanks a ton.Liked the way you presented your point.Without planning it’s difficult to succeed.I have bookmarked this page for future requirement.

  33. Carlos Velez says: 11/30/2009 at 2:54 am

    I could make some ruby red slippers looks sexy. thanks, great post.

  34. I always say that to succeed in the internet, your post should either be useful or entertaining. This post passed that test! Thanks.

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