If my blog had a wash-and-wear tag it would say:
Slight imperfections, bumps, and color variations are characteristics of handcrafted projects, and they enhance the beauty of this garment.
Why do I say this?
I’m just back from an extended Book Expo hiatus, which is a three month marathon for me, during which I literally have time for nothing else, including food and sleep.
It’s nice to be home.
In recent link-backs some of you blogeratti have very tactfully pointed out that although I post infrequently, what I have to say is interesting, or relevant, or at least not-irrelevant. I appreciate your circumspection.
But here’s the thing I have noticed about being a blogger. I’m sure you other bloggers will understand. If I’m not careful, blogging begins to feel an awful lot like work. And, as many of you know, I have plenty of work already.
How many of you saw the 4/6 article in the NYT titled In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop? Actually, that’s probably a stupid question, since we are a pretty self-referential bunch. I’m sure the blogosphere was alight. Anyway, it talks about bloggers dropping dead from overwork. Most of us kid lit bloggers are nowhere near that level of ridiculousness, but I did have to make a decision early on to pace myself.
It’s easy to see how it can get away from you. Starting out, I got a little thrill each time my blog was mentioned by another blog, especially ones with lots of traffic. I obsessed over my metrics. I lost sleep to write. “They like me! I’m included! MUST-WRITE-MORE!”
My initial experience of blogging suddenly felt very much like high school. Who are the taste-makers? Who are people talking about? What do I want to say about what they’re saying? If I wasn’t writing, I felt compelled to read everything, just in case.
After a few weeks I suddenly thought “Wait a minute! I already went through high school. I am SO over it. Duh.” (Sound of forehead being slapped.) I still check out what’s being talked about, but now I appreciate that reading less insures that what I’m writing about is coming from an original and organic place.
Which brings me to my next point. I also recognized very early on that there are two types of blogs. Those that generate original content and those that serve as a clearinghouse by aggregating lots of interesting information from other blogs/cyberspace in one place, often with added commentary. Aggregating content seemed like a great way to generate traffic, but too much of a treadmill. I guarantee that those recently deceased bloggers in the NYT article were spending lots of time on that same treadmill.
So, original content it is. It suits my creative nature anyway.
I’m a marketer by profession. I know the rule that regular posting=more traffic. It’s true, if traffic is all you care about, and you actually have something relevant to say. It’s possible to bootstrap your way to industry fame through this technique.
But here’s what I care about: writing about whatever interests me, whenever it interests me. Writing about it in depth, and being realistic about everything I have to do. In short, going for authenticity and substance over popularity. (Again, like high school.)
So, I am unfurling the banner of the Idiosyncratic Blogger, and making my confession. I am an inconsistent poster. I may go for quite some time without saying a thing, and then I will post in a clump. I occasionally will apologize to you, my readers out of a sense of guilt. I may make excuses. I hereby give myself permission to have a life beyond this desk. I’m going deep, and I’m in it for the long haul. If nothing else, I promise to be authentic, even in my inadequacy.
Want to join the IB club? I’d love company! I give you permission to be imperfect too!
I’m about to cross the 100,000 hit mark here at pixie stix.
I don’t know 100,000 people, so I must be doing something right.
During my childhood, my (slightly eccentric) father had a ritual when his long suffering truck would hit a 100,000 mile odometer reading. (Several of his trucks have made this marker 2 or 3 times, as in 300K.) No matter where he was, he would stop the truck, get out, and circle the truck three times. Could be a busy four lane highway, or it could be a dusty back road. Then, without a word, he would keep driving.
I want to take a moment both to thank the many great people who have linked to me in praise of a post, or those that have been clearly passing the word.
If you were here with me, you would see me circling the desk three times.
Now let’s keep going.