For the last six years I’ve had an anonymous political/cultural blog. I set it up early in the blogging craze because I figured blogging was something I should understand. Once I got past the “understand” threshold I kept writing because it was fun. I could write whatever I wanted, however I wanted. I didn’t care that much about an audience; I had no editor. I’ve spent my career writing in one form or another and I never had such a sweet, self-indulgent set-up.
This blog has a strategic purpose as well: I’m changing my life. I’m doing what a friend advised, and doing what I love and figuring out how to make money at it later. I’m writing this blog and a book and doing some other things designed to re-orient my career along the lines I’d imagined when I was much, much younger. It’s all part of a grand strategy (Nothing original about blogging as a mid-life crisis, certainly, but I hope I’m more serious than that.) I’m glad to explain to anyone who’s interested, but I assume no one is interested. An old saying comes to mind: everyone wants to see the baby, but no one wants to hear about the labor pains.
The primary problems with this blog right now are creative. Blogs are a collaboration of writer and audience, and they find their own equilibrium. Louisville Juice doesn’t really know, yet, what kind of blog it wants to be. In fact, to a much greater degree, it knows what it doesn’t want to be.
In the last few months I’ve read about a million wine blogs and websites, and there’s a sameness to most of them. I don’t want this to be what most wine blogs turn into, which is a blog about the writer’s taste in wine. Every entry shouldn’t be a review of whatever it was I drank last night. That kind of thing isn’t interesting to me as a reader, and I’d be bad at it as a writer. You see, I’m a lousy taster. Mostly, when I taste wine, I taste wine. I don’t taste baked pippin apple or overtones of underbrush.
So, as it sits right now, the goals of this blog are meager:
- Be useful. Be something that will help people enjoy wine in Louisville, a resource that gives useful, timely information. Louisville Juice needs to be useful to the whole wine community: restaurants, retailers, educators and drinkers. But mostly it needs to be helpful to people looking to expand the bounds of their wine experience — myself included.
- Be entertaining. My sweet spot as a writer is one of those I-know-it-when-I-see-it things that may well be contradictory to the role I want this blog to play. I enjoy and see humor in our very human lack of grace — including, or maybe even especially, my own. While this works in favor of my bedrock belief that wine should be fun and accessible, it works against the vast insecurities many people feel about wine. I’m sometimes snotty even when i’m not trying to be, and as wide as I imagine the creative range of projects like this to be, I’m pretty sure snotty isn’t inside the bounds.
Unlike the old blog, I’m going to try to develop a real audience for Louisville Juice. The farther I get into this, the harder I think that’s going to be. I mean, I’m about as wine-nutty as anyone you’ll meet, and I don’t read about wine every single day. Wine isn’t like politics and culture, where events propel readership.
Which means, I think, that I’m going to have to work harder and be more creative than I’ve ever been before. A year from now, we’ll know how I did.