Give-ourselves-a-break Week

This week I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon going on in the blogosphere.  It seems like everyone’s gone into some sort of meltdown at the same time.

Either that, or everyone’s in a perpetual state of meltdown, and getting brave enough to talk about it.

The posts I read were illuminating.

First there was 4amWriter (who does, impressively, get up at 4am to write).  She did an analysis of her time spent Blogging vs Writing and the results were – astounding.

Let’s just say, it’s more than the average 21 hours most Aussies spend on-line in one week.

I encourage you to check out her blog, because in it are some great links to other posts and related conversations about blogging habits.

Most notable (and I hope she won’t mind my linking to this one) is a post by jmmcdowell that includes a live poll on how we follow blogs.  Did you know most people follow between 100 and 200 blogs?  I didn’t (though I am getting close to the 100 mark).

Right after I read these two posts, I saw another one by onethousandsingledays.  In I’m not a jerk, but I am sorry, she discusses the issue of life, balance and replying to blog comments.

There are other comments I’ve received, tweets I’ve read, and probably a hundred other posts I haven’t read, discussing a similar theme:

How to honour our followers
while also honouring our real life loves and occupations.

There’s no easy answer to that.  Everyone has different expectations and reasons for being here.  There are also numerous (and sometimes conflicting) rules out there about what one should and should not do.

I devoured those rules when I first started blogging.  Rules are useful – they help point me in the right direction when I haven’t got a clue.  They also (hopefully) stop me from making a complete nincompoop out of myself.

But here’s the thing:

Too many rules does not a happy blogger make.

Maybe it’s just me, but I start having what are affectionately referred to as ‘Alarna Dramas’.  I get paranoid, and wonder if maybe I did something that upset someone and maybe that is why I haven’t heard from them in, like, two weeks?

I’m no different than anyone else out there when it comes to a borderline blogging addiction.

I mean, who doesn’t feel a rush every time they log in to WordPress and see the little orange speech bubble gleaming in the corner?  Not to mention gloom when the bubble’s STILL a shade of grey.

But then I think back to those days, before blogging, when the Inbox was empty and the phone didn’t ring and nobody visited unless they were invited and I ask myself some simple questions…

  • How many meaningful real life friendships do I actually have?
  • How long do they usually last?
  • How often do I hear from them once a month, let alone once a week (and vice-versa)?
  • Is the conversation always equally two-sided?
  • Is the conversation always interesting?

When I compare that to the quality and level of weekly online engagement I’m expecting myself, and others, to adhere to, suddenly the rules fall away and I am just eternally grateful for anyone who ever bothers to come by, let alone RETURN…

So, in honour of all the faithful and not-so-faithful bloggers out there, I say, let’s give ourselves a break.

It’s like this tweet I fell in love with yesterday:

Presumably, there’s no one holding a big stick over our heads making us blog our hearts out, right?

Let’s do what’s meaningful for us, and let the natural laws of physics do their thing.

Life’s too short.  At least that’s my thought on the matter.  How about you?

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Credit for images is as follows:

Emotiguy by farconville, courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Signposts by jannoon028, courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Friends by digitalart, courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to my Rock

This post marks the end of my twelfth week in blogosphere – which means, in job terms, I’ve just passed my probation.  Yay!!!

You’d think by now I’d have some idea what it is I’m doing, but a couple of weeks ago, one question pulled me up short:

Why do you blog?

I’m very thankful to Jenny Hansen for posing this question in her post Does Blogging Jack Up Your Schedule? because (as her blog promises to do) it demanded MORE from me.

In my travels so far, I’ve found almost as many approaches to blogging as there are people in the world.

For some, it’s a means of meeting and keeping in touch with friends, a public form of ‘diary’, or a place to heal and figure out your thoughts.

For others, it’s a highly professional gig.

If you’re like me, you’re here because you finally realized that living under a rock is no longer an option for writers in the 21st century 😦

Until I read Jenny’s post, I thought that was enough – except for the one small problem of it having robbed me of my Quiet.

For example, this is what I actually wrote the week I posted An Island in a Sea of Words:

I was whining explaining to my most important person that I had lost my Quiet.

Helpfully, she told me how I if I don’t learn to Logout.  Shutdown.  Exit the program. I will drive everyone insane.  Including me.  This is not sustainable.  She says.

“But that’s just it.  It’s not like I don’t know that!” I squeal, hands in the air.

“It’s like my brain is fighting with itself.  On one hand it’s like – You have to interact – and the other side is saying – You can’t keep doing this – and then I’m like – But look at all those tweets – and then it’s like – What about your writing? – and them I’m all – You haven’t read their blog posts…And next thing I’m staring at the screen and

…I am Not Responding anymore!”

By this time she is pissing herself laughing at the monster She unleashed…

Clearly, I was in need of help.

In my quest to manage this thing called a ‘Social Media Platform’, I’ve consulted some incredibly generous souls for their advice:

Anne R. Allen is an advocate of Slow Blogging.  For a variety of illuminating reasons, she promotes quality-over-quantity, which for her means blogging once a week or less.

Amber West has a refreshingly principle-over-rule approach.  Her ‘You’ve Got Questions’ series answered a lot of mine, including the big one, Do Writers Need to Blog? and a fantastic overview on Everything Twitter.

Nina Badzin is the go-to-girl for detailed Twitter tips.  This includes how to organize Twitter so you don’t go insane, as well as solid tips on how to avoid driving other people insane.  She also defends those of us with Facebook lurking tendancies! 😉

Pooky shares a succinct and sincere approach to social media.  She reminded me that the point is interaction.  After all, who has time with 5000+ followers, to send a personal tweet notifying you they’ve replied to your comment on their blog?  Well, she did, and for that I am immensely appreciative.

Suzannah Windsor Freeman tops it off with help for burnt-out bloggers.  A fellow lover of small things (including tea cup chi’s and elves), she encourages us newbies to enjoy the benefits of having a small audience.  She doesn’t need to tell me twice…

It became clear to me, from all the good advice, that the question of what to do is best answered if you know why you are doing it.

I was reminded of Mokey and her song (at 3:27 mins) from Fraggle Rock:

Sometimes I’m alone,
Sitting on my very own,
Trying to find a simple kind of clue.
And I would like to know
Why the Doozers Bloggers move me so,
Doing all the things that Doozers Bloggers do.
Why do caterpillars crawl?
Why is there a sky?
Why is there a world at all?
Why, do I ask why?

And then the answer came.

Have you ever noticed how animals won’t come near you when you’re noisy?  But sit still long enough and you get to experience a whole other kind of wild?

It’s like that with the Fraggles.  They might run away from Gorgs, but don’t be fooled – they got it goin’ on!

That’s when I realized.

Living under a rock is not the problem.  It’s failing to invite anyone else under it!

So, what can you expect from my cosy little den?

  • For now, a move from weekly to fortnightly wordy thought provoking posts (phew, relief, right?) :).
  • On alternate weeks, shorter posts about fun things Fraggles like to do – cook, chit-chat, send postcards, scamp about, sleep – I don’t know, I’ll make it up as I go along.
  • Until I have a better plan, a less-is-more approach to social media.
  • The space to Go Wild. Quietly.

Hopefully this will make me more congenial to be around for everyone concerned ;).

So – consider yourself officially invited.  And while you’re here, please tell me:

Why do you blog?  Are there any tips you care to share for all us baby bloggers?