If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know a few things:
I’m my own worst enemy; I waffle on age and parenting (but I rarely eat waffles); I’ve written a novel; I’m wait, wait, waiting to hear from 7 agents/editors who asked to read my work, last summer; I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years, and I’m trying to build my stats; I act like an extrovert most of the time, but really relish my alone time; I find blog stats fascinating; I like Bravo TV (but don’t tell anyone); my kids are top of my list (almost any list); I want to get my novel published this year… one way or another; there’s more, but you should read it on my blog.
This June I will have been blogging for three years, and in that time, I’ve shared a lot about myself and a bazillion other things. I’m generally very direct and honest in my posts; I think it’s safe to say that I don’t use a lot of filters. For some readers that may get tiresome; while other readers tell me that my openness really impresses or inspires them. Nothing feels better than those comments. I put a lot into my blog, and it means a lot to me that what I have to say impacts anyone, let alone readers who I admire and enjoy.
In that three years, I’ve won some and I’ve lost some… and I’m still waiting for some.
I’ve “won” followers, and that feels really good! When I started blogging, it took a while to get readers. If you take a minute and go back to look at the first few posts (the Yellowstone ones are pretty great, I think), there are very few Likes, and very few comments… none, for some of those posts! I was fortunate to have one of my posts, The Grass Is Always Greener on Someone Else’s Head, Freshly Pressed, after I’d been blogging for only six weeks. Honestly, I hardly appreciated it. I was still so clueless about blogging; I had no idea what FP even meant! However, that did bring in some readers and “followers.” However, since then, I’ve worked really hard to build my following on Word Press and Tales From the Motherland. It’s so much harder than I imagined, back when I started. Each time I see a new subscriber, I am still tickled– but I still keep setting new goals for those numbers. Just last August, my subscription numbers were slowly building from just under 500, and today that number is at 2,896. I can’t wait to see 3,000, but my optimistic goal for 2014 is 4,000! It’s been thrilling to see that number jump so much in such a short time, after just limping along for more than two years. I feel like I’ve won this one!
I’ve won in the friend department, because I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging. When I try to explain that to non-blogging folks, I can totally their expressions, as they think “For real?” “Desperate much?” “You think these people are your friends?” Yeah, ok; I see you rolling your eyes people, but I really have met some amazing people through blogging. Over time, we’ve emailed each other; we’ve followed each others’ blogs; we’ve supported each other in writing and in personal issues; we’ve reached out, and in some cases, we’ve met each other (here and here). I can tell you this, when I was in the hospital this past December, and feeling pretty scared and really sick, a few of these great people were really there for me! They emailed me; they kept me company late at night, and they sent lots of love. As a New Year’s resolution, I put it out there that I would like to meet more bloggers in person, and I intend to follow through. Several blogging friends responded to that post, or have chatted with me via email, to say they’d like to meet cara a cara; I plan to try. Emily, Carrie, Kelly, Melissa, Julie, Jen, Jennie, Kat, Deanna– you’re on my radar. Some of these will be harder (Deanna) than others, but they’re on my radar! There are so many other great people, who I’ve connected with, who I’m still getting to know, or who read my blog regularly and are so supportive, but these are the ones who have reached out and shared a little more, or said: stop by some time. Anyone going to BlogHer? I am. It’s one more opportunity to meet in person.
I’ve won in the me department. Me. This blog is mine, and all mine. It isn’t something I do with or for my husband or kids. It’s not something I worry about writing to please others. I stand by whatever I put out there, because it’s mine. With so much of my life having been about others: taking care of others, answering to others, working for things that involve others, volunteering to help– This blog is mine, and most days I feel like I won the lottery! Given that this started as something to help me get my novel published… I can honestly say that if my book never gets published, I’ll be very sad, but this blog is no shabby consolation prize. I’m proud of what I do here, and I’ve already won.
Ok, and I’ve lost. (For me) with success comes some self-doubt. As my own blog stats go up, as my followers grow, I still feel blog envy. It’s hard not to look at other blogs and wish I could be that great. It’s the nature of my beast: always feeling like I fell short somehow, and trying to sit with whatever I come up with and simply appreciate it. I can’t help but feel disappointed that some of the bloggers I follow, don’t necessarily follow me the same way. If I follow you, I read each post. However, lots of my posts don’t get read by folks I admire and follow. Or, they don’t get read regularly. This blogging community is an edgy, quick crowd. I’m not always that kool, and I know it. Accepting and letting go of that is something I still work on, but it lands in the loss column for now. For all the compliments from some of these folks, it’s the times I don’t see their likes or comments that stings more. Yep, I’m that fragile.
I haven’t been published, and it may not happen. For now, that’s a real loss. Admittedly, the jury’s still out, but it’s been really challenging sometimes to see so many other talented writers in the blogging community doing it, while I still have not. I’m not getting younger, in fact I’m getting pretty damned old. I think I had idealistic expectations when I started blogging, that getting published was right around the corner… Humble pie, is that you stuck in my throat?
I’ve upset a few people… it’s a loss, but I wouldn’t do it any differently. A few of my earlier posts upset a few family members. That sucks. It was a real bummer to hear that some folks didn’t like that I was talking about my experiences, when they saw things differently. I should say, none of them are immediate family members, but these relatives felt that I presented our family negatively. I say it was honestly, my honestly. We grew up in different sides of things, and my experience is mine… not to mention, dead on accurate to me. But, it was sad to see that expressing myself this way could create some very hurtful lines in the sand. Loss.
Waiting. I’m waiting for a bunch of things, but topping that list: I’m waiting to see what happens with my novel. I’m holding my breath. I’m wishing on stars. I’m crossing fingers and toes. I’m pushing buttons and trying to get my work out there. I had 7 agents and/or editors ask to read some or all of my novel… last July. I’ve been waiting since then. One of them rejected my work, months ago. One of them rejected it, today. But, this week, one agent wrote an email that said (about my first 10 pages): “I’m intrigued. Could you please send the next 20 pages and a synopsis?” Twelve words never looked so good! I sent the pages, and now… I’m waiting again. Waiting for the 4 who have sent nothing. Waiting, knowing the odds are stacked against me. But, hopeful
Stats: I’m always waiting to hit the jackpot, in blogging and writing. It’s so exciting to see a good day on your stats; it’s so sucky to see a bad day. I know that lots of bloggers ignore their stats, but I’m not that blogger. I watch them. Daily. Last month, I had one day where I logged on there were nearly 1,500 hits, and more than 1,200 of those were for one post, about my (fake) affair with Barack Obama. For another month, every time I looked at my stats, there was that giant spike, jumping off the stats bar… skewing all the other numbers. It was there for weeks, and weeks…
It’s giant middle finger on the page, each day!
I see it and it reminds me that I probably can’t do it again. It challenges me to try.
It both encourages me and discourages the hell out of me!
For the past few weeks, every time I looked at my stats for this blog, I was greeted with what looked like a giant middle finger:
Blogging is a wild and wooly ride. Lots of bloggers write about less personal things, but my blog is about me– my life, how I see things. It’s all personal. When you take risks, and put it out there, you win some, you lose sometimes, and sometimes you just wait. It’s all part of the crazy, wild, fun ride that’s blogging.
Tell me about your ride. Are you new to blogging? Are you excited, or feeling discouraged? Have you made friends in blogging? What do you love? What do you not like so much? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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