I’ve been blogging now for a year.
I remember the first time I stood on a high diving board as a kid. The safe haven of the water was impossibly far away. I did eventually jump, but I stood, hesitating, for a long time.
Beginning to blog was like that. Could I manage the technological learning curve? Would I have time to do a good job? Did I have anything to say? Would I have to deal with spammers, hackers, hecklers and hate mail? Would anyone read it? And, the biggest Boogeyman of all, what would people think when I revealed who I really am?
I researched. I read dozens of articles on blogging. I made lists of do’s and don’ts. I bought a book on blogging.
I hesitated. I worried. I doubted myself. I clung to limits, obstacles and fears.
Then, in the middle of a personal and emotional catastrophe, the very last time I would have chosen or planned such a risky, frightening new endeavor, I suddenly started. I suppose I felt I had nothing more to lose.
This summer I’ve been taking stock of what I’ve created, what I’ve learned, my long list of mistakes and my intentions for the future. I’ve been a member of She Writes and Medium. I follow several other bloggers. I went into my Favorites and deleted most of my Blogging folder and then started filling it up again with new articles on Intermediate blogging.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles about blogging on the web. What I notice is 19 out of 20 are geared to successful blogging, which is to say blogging with the most possible likes, looks, shares, clicks, referrers, subscribers, advertising and side bar businesses, all of which can translate directly into income for the blogger. The Holy Grail is to go viral with your blog. To this end, the advice is repetitive. Use sentences of five words or less. Use short paragraphs of two or three sentences. Use lots of images, video, bullet points, colors, fonts and section titles. Keep your posts short and to the point. Carefully construct a title that will result in as many clicks as possible. Convince the reader you have something of value they need. Don’t be emotional or personal. You can’t be successful unless you have several active social media accounts.
I read, saved, took a few notes, and then realized I didn’t want to do most of what these articles said I should do. I paused and thought about that for a couple of days. I looked at my stats. I talked with my partner. I groped for a bottom line.
I absolutely love blogging/writing.
Because when I do it I’m real. Every single week I write about something real. Most weeks I struggle with what other people might think, but at the end of the struggle I again choose to be seen. I stare down that fear of using my voice and speaking up. I’m taking my power back, week by week, post by post, line by line.
Blogging and writing are my way of building bridges and fostering connection, to myself, to others, and to life. It’s the medicine I can offer to aid in healing. It’s my hug, my love letter to the world, my kiss of peace. It’s my outstretched hand, regardless of whether or not others choose to clasp it, ignore it or spit on it.
My feeling of success about writing a book and creating a blog isn’t attached to any of the general markers of success among bloggers. We have all kinds of programs that help us gather statistics on the web, but my heart doesn’t thrill to hundreds of clicks or fall if there are only five. None of these stats tell me anything about the quality of my contribution to my readers, and that’s the only stat that interests me. I don’t have anything to sell you. I don’t assume I have anything of value to you. I never expected to make money on my blog.
I just am. Myself is all I have to give, and what I really want from you is just … you.
I’ve been honored to achieve simple connection with others through Our Daily Crime. Some I know about, because people comment. I may be making other connections that remain invisible to me. Contrary to the best advice, I don’t have social media accounts. I don’t have a Facebook page. If a reader connects with my words or finds some kind of value in the experience I share and doesn’t comment or email me, I don’t know anything about it, but I have faith. I believe there are others out there who think about relationships, empowerment, being a woman, and what it means to be alive on Earth today. I believe there are readers who can deal with sentences more complex than five words and read a paragraph of several sentences. I think a post about rules for success should be titled, clearly and honestly, Rules For Success. I’m not a click bait engineer.
I don’t regret a minute of research or reading I’ve done about writing and blogging, and I wish those writing advice the success they seek. They’ve helped, especially their content that I couldn’t use. All those rules set off a lot of feelings. I hardly ever met a rule I didn’t want to challenge, and my feelings showed me the way into my own definition of success.
I find it useful to have goals and intentions, to know what kind of outcome I want, but the fact is I don’t always know. Some things are so unknown and such a personal leap of courage or faith that to insist on exactly defined goals before beginning is to never take action. Jumping inelegantly off the high dive into blogging was all I could manage last summer. I couldn’t define an audience, a goal or an intention, except that I was damned if I would let fear stop me from trying. It’s only now, 50 posts later, that I begin to understand what I’m up to, and it’s not necessarily the same as what other bloggers are up to.
Here’s my favorite story about success. This version is from One Bird One Stone by Sean Murphy.
For 40 years, a fisherman in China used a straight needle to fish. When someone asked him, “Why don’t you use a bent hook to fish with?” he replied, “You can catch ordinary fish with a bent hook, but I will catch an extraordinary fish with my straight needle.”
Word of this came to the ear of the Emperor, and he went to see this fool of a fisherman for himself. Laughing at the sight of the fisherman’s straight pin, the Emperor asked, “What are you fishing for?”
The fisherman said, “I’m fishing for you, Emperor.”
Thank you for reading my blog. You’ve helped make it a success.
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