Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hello Out There (Parentheticals About Things Bloggers Love)

When I started The Having It All Project, I made a goal to post at least once a week outside of the Project. I didn't want to run Project posts back-to-back without anything original from me in between. That's a thing with bloggers--we create all these rules for ourselves that no one else is even aware of. But still, it was my rule, and two weeks ago, I was thrilled to post not just once but three times between HIAPs, as I call them (bloggers really love acronyms, too).

But it doesn't feel like anyone's been reading my posts. I'm not super into my site analytics, but traffic has dropped off a cliff. The Ukrainian spambots that have found my site super attractive? They are winning. I asked other bloggers if they've felt similarly (bloggers love secret Facebook groups where we whine to each other about Facebook not showing anyone our posts), and they have, and we all seem to take it personally (what good blogger wouldn't?). In the past few days, two people asked me the question all bloggers dread: so what are you actually trying to accomplish here?

Of course the answer is that I still don't know, and if I don't know after six and a half years of writing into the abyss, I'm probably not going to know until I've actually accomplished something. Reverse bucket list, if you will. I didn't know I wanted to get a post in The New York Times Motherlode column until I did. But I do know that I didn't write something personal this week, and part of me didn't feel right until I was able to get almost everything else around me done and put off sleeping so I could write this now. As I'm typing this out, even with the knowledge that it's not the best work I've ever done, I feel better.

Last weekend, Marc and I saw the exceptional film, "20 Feet from Stardom." The documentary traces the history of background singers and interviews those singers and the front men they supported, as well as the efforts of several of them to become solo artists themselves. There were so many good lines during the film (better bloggers than me would have been prepared with a small notebook for jotting them down, but I didn't anticipate such an impactful film). I was particularly struck by the comment of one woman who tried to strike out on her own, where she basically said that she thought if she wanted it badly enough, and put all of her heart into it, it would happen for her. It didn't.

She wasn't a failure by any stretch, but she could have chosen to look back on her life that way. She didn't. She was happy and proud of all she accomplished, and she strutted into that recording studio like she owned the place. She may not have reached the pinnacle, true, but she didn't let that lacking define her.

I didn't write this week, but I did have an outstanding week at work. I had an impact on something with the potential to be big, and with it being so close to the start of my new job, the timing couldn't be better. The work is hard, and it's not like the rest of life ever slows down, so sometimes I may not write. And maybe that means this will never be anything. Because the truth remains that even if I want it badly enough, and put all of my heart into it, it may not happen for me. But the thought of me reaching any kind of pinnacle in my life still includes this writing, this vehicle for expression. It may not be much more than the spambots tagging along, but that's cool. I'm not just doing it for everyone else--I'm doing it for me (and at the heart of it, isn't that really what bloggers love the most? The thrill of writing for themselves. Yes, I'm my own biggest fan). But if you're along for the ride too, know how much I appreciate it (okay, okay, bloggers really love comments too. C'mon, just leave me one already.).


  1. Thanks for saying this because I can hear crickets on my site and it's lonely over there!! It is always good for me to remember why I blog, what I get out of it, and how it has opened up so much for me. It gets me through the "cricket" days!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Sometimes, okay,a LOT of the time, I feel like that background singer. But I WILL NOT give up. Do you hear me, internet?!

  3. Sometimes, okay,a LOT of the time, I feel like that background singer. But I WILL NOT give up. Do you hear me, internet?!

  4. I try commenting... But since I don't have a gmail or blogger persona it makes me be anonymous which is irksome. Isn't it sad that something so stupid prevents me from commenting? But, I do read. :).

  5. LOVE this. First of all, I am totally getting that movie to watch with my hubby. It is something we both would really enjoy. Secondly, I love your message here.-Ashley

  6. I love your honesty Cheryl. I truly believe that you have to write from your heart and the rest will come. We really are our own biggest fans-that's the way it should be!