I will read yours if you you will read mine… Really?


reading computer screen

I am having another one of my reflective mornings,  with a mug of coffee, watching as the fog tethers over the road in front of my window. I think that I have shared with you that I live near a lake in a gated community. In the summer it can be very busy as boats are pulled in and out and I love it. There is just something about the hustle and bustle of  people living life that makes me happy and I don’t mind living so close to the gate (we are right on the corner.) But my very favorite view, if I could choose is that of twinkling lights of a city and a bridge at night. Watching the world below live their individual lives is kind of comforting to me. But today it is a quiet morning and I just felt the need to check in. Because the hustle and bustle of my own life has me missing out on this side of the bridge so to speak!

city view with bridge

I have not been writing or for that matter, reading a lot here lately and have found that when that happens, my sweet loyal followers still faithfully check in and I know we are a kind of cyber family.  You KNOW who you are! We (hopefully) will always be each other’s inspire-ers and eventually find our way back to one another’s door steps, cyberly or not.  But the others fall off. There is a kind of networking mentality among us here… “I will read yours, if you will read mine.”  And slowly, if your life becomes busy and you don’t  comment or at least “LIKE” all of their posts regularly, they tend to move on. (I just find that so sad. I read when I have time and love to find new bloggers to encourage.) And then there are others that are still just finding me trickle in and it feels good that something is working.

like thumb

Soooo even though this is a soft place to fall, for me… it takes work and I do notice the numbers. As with anything, you make a deposit and you can make a withdrawal. That’s just how it works. You get what you put in. Though there are always those friends that give without expecting anything in return and I am so blessed as I recognize who you are. And strive to be like you!

And how could I miss an opportunity for a good  metaphor? (Ya gotta have seen this one!)     There is Someone else who is always there, … HE is just waiting for me to talk to HIM but whether I do or not, remains ever so faithful and is always there, never moving on. How blessed are we to have HIM as our friend? A constant soft place, whether we check in or not, HE is always there waiting for our next “post.” And ALWAYS to follow HIM!

jesus praying hands

As far as this blog, I started writing here as a place to store my book and my poetry. So it surprised me when one reader started reading and seriously critiquing my first posts. (If you look back you will see in the comments that I was a little taken aback, until I actually began to look forward to those comments.) At first it was annoying, and then I found it pretty affirming. That someone took time out of their day to read every post I’d write. Our friendship kind of evolved. And then abruptly stopped. I think there was a kind of a pattern there that had nothing to do with me… but it made me aware that other people might actually read what I wrote. And to also go out and read other’s posts. I discovered kindred spirits and an amazing little family of validation and affirmation and really have learned to not only admire other writers but love and care about you guys!

blog readers

In my life I have learned that at times in life, everyone is lonely, sad, angry, easily offended,  and that the most annoying and prideful, boasters are usually the most insecure. But I’ve  also been taught great lessons by the  forgivers and joy seekers, the ones that don’t notice the wrong in everyone, the ones that don’t judge, the ones that share their own stories to build others up and to help us know that we really are not alone… the ones that  make me have something to strive for, to always be better.

And it is here that I have discovered greatness.

 

 

Still On the Darn Subject Of THOSE “LIKE” CLICKERS!!!!


Maybe I am just shell shocked from the recent election, when every ten minutes I was getting smooozzshed by one political party or another with promises and phone calls,  commercials,  bumper stickers and billboards coveting my vote. And now once again we all are left in the dust. I feel that this blog is a lot like an ongoing election. You can’t avoid the politics. Not even here. Our little corner of the world that we have found, makes the world go away for a just a little while. Our stage where we get to perform, even if to an audience of one or a thousand. We are doing what we love best, writing. Isn’t that enough? Why are those votes so important to us? Perhaps because we learned it really early in our young lives. If we cry, we get attention. If we cry hard enough, we get picked up and even fed. Think about it. We have been searching for that kind of high ever since.

Writing is my way. And if you have a blog here, I know it is yours too. But writing comes with it’s biggest joys and most frustrating draw backs.

A few weeks ago, I went on a hiatus of sorts after realizing that I was writing on this blog for all the wrong reasons. And that was for YOUR feedback. I would post something and then wait for the response.  I mean, we have all loved the proverbial red A+ and maybe even a little smiling face that we used to get after turning in an especially well thought out little story. Whatever it was, and whenever it was, as early as second grade? We experienced that first high and we were hooked. After that, we waited for the next and the next. Finally when our teacher even commented to our mom during a parent conference that maybe we had something special” we lived for the next sign of recognition of specialness.  And as we grew older, when our instructor or professor chose to read our essay as a special example to the class THAT felt even better than the A because we were actually hearing our own words being read aloud with all the same enthusiasm we felt when we wrote them. It was that connection. Our crying was heard and once again we were being fed. Thus… here in my blog, I have felt that. It is nice to be recognized, to feel “gotten” by someone else who understands why I am writing at two in the morning again.

No high could match that. Unless we went on to find it in some other way, I actually did in a  small way. I wrote for our local magazine for a few years…. I was  even given my own column for a while, until I needed to go out and get a “real job” I mean the way I wrote,  .15 cents a word could add up, but that was when I was working for myself, doing art shows as well but both weren’t paying the bills nor providing benefits, and so I had to move on and get the job I have now.  But it was good while it lasted. I would be in town and a random stranger would tell me how they enjoyed my column and once again that  A+, middle of the night feeding high took me to new levels. But then like I said, I had to give that up for a real job,  And for a while, something squashed my creative side by having to succumb to a nine to five. But slowly through the course of less hours and a few other things that inspired me recently, I have found myself NEEDING to write again. As if a part of my heart has re-awakened.

So I stumbled onto this blog here. And as we talked about it before in a recent post entitled :”CLICKING LIKE” I discovered by your responses, that a lot of you felt the exact same way. We got sucked in BIG time to the high of our very own STATS. Arrrrrgggh! And so I went on a little reprieve becuase I was writing posts like this. I would wait for a LIKE and then another and another. (Greedy gal that I am!) And they would come… sometimes right away. Before I was even done re-reading my own first paragraph again, making sure that all my editing was done correctly, I had gotten four clicks. I smiled and then thought…..”HEY wait a minute!” Hmmm what is going on here? How could they be reading everything I wrote so fast???!

So you seee… I fell for the LIKES of those who “CLICK” just to generate traffic to their own blog. They are hoping that there are those like me who actually will appreciate each and every one who takes the time to visit my site and (hopefully) actually read what I wrote, not just click on like for the sake of clicking, thank you very much! Does anyone get what I mean??? I know those of you who I feel that I have connected with do and I guess I am wasting my time writing about this again because the few who do GET what I am saying will probably only be the same ones reading “this” post too. And I love you for it! But I would love to somehow get those darn LIKE clickers (now have I discovered a new slang word here? lol.) And pleeease understand that if you are actually down to this * point in my ranting, you are not who I am talking about! I am talking about to the faithful LIKE CLICKERS that would never be caught getting this far into anyone’s blog. The ones who flat out, don’t read any of it.

Though I am not without fault, I know it is hard to keep up with some of the posts… I have never really cared for TWITTERING, I mean do you really care that I just had a yogurt or if I am on the 101 on my way to work?? As is here, I have found that some of the bloggers (me included at times) write several posts a day. It is kind of comical. We have this random thought we feel is kind of brilliant and so we share… like what I am doing here… so I am not laughing at you!!! I do it too. It is funny how we think that everyone else is so interested in our thought of the minute and yet I know that I didn’t start out coveting your responses or LIKES for that matter, I had come here to write, to stretch my wings, to oil my “writer’s block” to get unstuck and also have a place to store my own journal so that someday, I could come back and look at where I was today tomorrow. How much I have learned and grown someday. But I got caught up in the whole STATs thing and I am sorry I did that to myself. And have to wonder. Is this just a social network of writers? I mean is it more like I will scratch your back if you scratch mine? Or do we really truly genuinely look forwrard to someone’s posts? I know I do. I know I wouldn’t have “followed” you if I hadn’t. And I know I have liked a writer’s posts so much I have sought them out to see if there is a new one that I may have missed. And I can promise if I click LIKE I actually have read it!

Sooo what has prompted me to write this latest rant? Well, I have been posting my book and it is so hard to know who is reading, who is liking and I got absolutely hardly any feedback. Is it that bad??? I have to wonder….lol. I mean even the ones who commented on almost every post I have written…. NOTHING! Well, my friends… are always my best supporters, those of you who I have totally had a kindred moment with (you know who you are) I appreciate!!  But I have to wonder, maybe I am just asking too much to expect people to read eight pages of a chapter at a time. That is rather presumptious of me I know, but what was I was to think? You had puffed me up by LIKING me all those other times! I mean like lifting the proverbial crying baby out of her crib, you fed me… I expected more! Now my stats are sooo low but I expected that. Sadly. I did. I am not out there hanging my flag in the wind OPEN for business like I used to be so my once sky high views have dwindled and so my friends… if you are new here BEWARE…. Really think about the reasons why you blog before you invest so much time. If it is for you then that is wonderful. If it is for other reasons, that may be good too. The connection I have made with a handful of writers here is worth more than the thousand of LIKE clickers I may never know.

And who am I fooling thinking that writers and agents are actually wandering around wordpress looking for raw, new talent…

Getting published is not magic. It takes long hard work. The good old fashioned kind. Technology is awesome. Being able to send a manuscript with a click and publishing a book with another click may be the way of today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to jump through the same hoops to get there. I GET it now.

Maybeeeeee I would just like to go back to the way things were. Where ignorance was bliss. Where I lived in a world of people LIKING what I wrote. What do I care if they read it or not? Nah. Ya know I do. I want to know if you reeeeeally like ME or you just want my vote.

But the final point (I promise) that I am trying to make i;s that I really am over it… the STATS thing… I probably will always want that primal pat on the back. But I know I dont’ truly need it anymore. Because if I think something is good than it is good. I don’t need  the click or the vote or to check out my stats ever again because I have finally found out how to climb out of the proverbial crib myself!

Agents, Publishers and little old me~


Soooo, ever since I started this blog I have subscribed to magazines like; The Writer and Poets and Writers and really tried to educate myself, buying books on my Kindle about marketing and how to get an agent,  how to self publish and promote your own work. I have considered signing up for a few classes about publishing. But to be honest, I really am confused about it all. Though, I have discovered one thing about social media and  the likes of blogging. You MUST network. I have to admit that I have been competing with myself in a way. By looking at my stats almost as much as I step on my scale!

Stats are a funny thing. They are a tool to show you the kind of traffic you are generating or not. It is a mystery to me how some have a huge following and some don’t. It is as simple as that, or is it? At first, I started my blog as a place to just keep record of my own writing for me. And then slowly I began posting a poem or something that I would write on my facebook page and a few friends began to follow me, and I would discover their blogs and we would kind of have a little cyber coffee clutch, checking in with each other as we would get notified that one of us had a new post. Gradually, I noticed that people that I did not know began to follow me and it kind of felt good. That strangers were finding my writing worth their time. Slowly, I began to check out who was following me and wahlah… that is what networking is all about! And yet, for me it happened through the back door. I had never really started out wanting to have my private journal made public. But the comments I received inspired me and so I began to explore the art of blogging! And I liked it! The response I recieved was a bit addicting.

Like I said earlier, I was not expecting to share my blog. In fact, there are many personal things in it that I would not really ever have considered sharing with people I  know. I kind of started out thinking that people were only viewing what I was posting on my facebook and then I realized anyone had access to anything I was storing on my blog. As I became more comfortable with the sharing part of things, I became fascinated by the volume of followers my posts were generating. In turn, I began following and I have to admit all this networking has become time consuming but I genuinely enjoyed reading each blog. It was as if I had joined a writer’s group that met daily at the local coffee spot, on line!

My daughter is on Etsy. (An on line shop for artists) She has over one hundred  followers and is in many of what Etsy calls Treasuries.   Her work is unique and wonderful and yet she works hard at updating daily and networking with other artists. I have my own illustrated and written card line on Etsy but I don’t “work it” like she does with her shop. I get a sale every month or so where she gets several. I used to sell a thousand dollars in cards at a show when I would do art shows so I know if I invested the same time there as I do here on my blog, I could actually make some good money. And yet writing is my passion and so I stay here on my blog and working on my book that I am now editing.

I guess my point is… I went on a little vacation this week. The first few days of not responding or networking on my blog here….or posting anything new still generated several likes and comments. But it is funny. I am not sure if it is how the blog is set up, or what, but I do have over 100 posts and yet it seems as if it is just all my recent posts that people tend to read and so my stats went way down. Thus, discovering that even though someone may really enjoy your writing, a blog is kind of like a daily column in a newspaper. You may read Dear Abbey that day but you don’t bother going back into her archives and reading some answer she gave a year ago even though something in those archives may very well pertain to your current life now.

I have received a few AWARDS from readers recently and had always kind of coveted them wondering what they were about and while I was touched by the words I received when they came to me. That would have been enough. The comments were my reward. But I felt obliged to follow through and go through the process of doing what I was supposed to do. It was so time consuming. But I GET it now, those awards are a networking tool. Though…. a very time consuming one! Maybe agents are’nt such a lost commodity. Maybe we DO need them. I have gone the route of self publishing a children’s book and it is costly and though I have done well in a small arena, I have an inkling that a publisher could have done a far better job of marketing it.

With Kindle and e-books and everything going technical and digital it is hard not to be tempted to rely on ourselves to develop our own film, buy our gifts on line, forego libraries and even publish our own books on line or through the vanity press type places… everything is on line now even college classes! I have a friend that makes more money than her husband who is a school administrator, by staying home in her PJs and working from her lap top! She has been promoted over and over to do what she does on her computer at home.

This week I have realized that unless I post something daily, my stats go down and my followers are not as loyal even though I have over one hundred posts to keep them entertained, they need attention back. They need me to be present. Just like a Best Seller author. One book lasts for a season. They better be writing another while they are going on those book signing events! And an agent is a little like the stats here… reminding you that you are only as good as your next post!