“Mom, I had a nightmare.”
“There were three little squirrels trying to claw their way under the covers.”
“That does sound scary. But don’t worry lady, we all have nightmares. I had one last night too.”
“What happened in yours?”
“Well, we’d just flown back from a family trip and were at home unpacking our bags…when I realized that we’d planned another family trip for that very same day. It was a huge rush to repack everything and get back to the airport. And on top of it all, I had to write a blog post.”
“Um….that was your nightmare?”
Yes, my dear, as you age, nightmares become less about monsters, more about things like perfectionism and overcommitment. But maybe that’s just me.
Fortunately I don’t have nightmares about the blog too often. And when I do, it’s not about the work that I have to do, but about the standard that I try to maintain. As I look back at earlier blog posts, it’s wonderful to see an evolution. Which, in a sense, is what keeps me going.
I’m my own biggest critic, so when I see improvements – whether it’s within the writing, or the photography – I become excited to do more. To write more, to take more pictures, to develop a style that feels distinctly my own.
I read an article in The New York Times that said that blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants. Causality seems clear. People get caught up in the metrics – their pageviews, unique visitors, press mentions, and number of social media followers. It can be frustrating when you’re not getting as much exposure as you think you should.
I know this from prior experience. I was spending hours each week throwing myself into this new hobby, which somewhere along the line became a legitimate job – taking pictures wherever I went; writing at odd hours of the night. And I wanted to know that people were reading it. If not, what was the point?
Recently I wrote about perspective. About shifting your view, even by an inch, and suddenly the world looks a whole lot different. Yes, I was talking about Starbucks and grits, but the rules still apply.
Year 2 was about taking this new perspective.
Whereas year 1 was about non-stop work and unguided promotion….year 2 allowed me to settle into things. I relaxed. I focused on building community in the places that made sense. Most important, I deleted my traffic plugin. It was distracting me, and taking my attention away from the more important metric: how I felt about content. Did I feel happy when I worked on the blog? Or did I feel stressed and depleted.
I started to focus less on what people would think. Did I want to show failed food experiments? Could I tell the kinds of stories that I wanted to tell? Would I feel happy about what I was doing, even if it meant losing the occasional reader?
The answer is yes. Because the second I stop writing for me, I’m writing for someone else, and I might as well re-install that traffic plugin.
Being authentic is fundamental to this site. And it’s my pledge to keep writing honestly about my family’s stories – however shameful, exciting, or food-blog inappropriate they may be. Telling those stories, and being able to have a sense of humor about life, is what makes me happy. Sharing images of our life together makes me happy. Connecting with you – whether you write a comment, or email me to let me know that you read a recent post – makes me happy.
It’s shocking to know that I’m heading into year 3 of this blogging business. But you know what, it’s fun. I enjoy it more than I ever thought possible. I’m learning and growing and meeting new people; I get to be creative on a daily basis; I couldn’t ask for more.
I can’t promise that the blog format will always be the same. But even if the number of posts per week goes from two to one, it will be for the sole intention of bringing more diverse and interesting content to this space. It will allow me to get out more, meet more people, see more sights, get my hands dirty with urban gardeners, make chocolate with a Brooklyn start-up. Who knows? I don’t have an exact plan, but if I were to state my vision for this space, it would be to create stories about our family’s adventures beyond Chelsea and Greenwood Lake.
I end this post with a heartfelt thank you. If I’m true to my word, I’d be doing this in absence of readers, but you do make the ride more enjoyable. I look forward to your comments and am grateful for the friendships we’ve made. If I could click my heels and have a wish come true, it would be for another year much like 2014. With, I suppose, more dirt and chocolate.
Over ‘n out friends.