Deep wonderment first. I usually get between a dozen and fifty folks popping into this space whenever I publish a piece. I do wonder what makes anyone who is not a friend read and possibly return but I am grateful, a bit intimidated and very happy about it. Of course, many times I am pretty sure that I know the two people in Australia, the one in Bolivia and the one in Canada who check in. I get too many US hits to identify readers by the numbers but if wordpress broke the US stats down by states, I’m sure I’d recognize most readers. At the beginning of the month, I considered disconnecting news of my blogging on Facebook, because I planned to be blogging a lot during November and I am never comfortable pushing my ideas on others. But I remind myself that making available and pushing are two different things.
So, all that by way of admitting great surprise when, after I published “dreams,” I had more than 1,700 hits. I expect that there was some key word that some service picked up on and pushed out to clients. What is slightly annoying; however, is that if I look at my stats now, the small numbers that I was very content with before this are almost flat lines compared with 1,700. I have not thought about blogging for a living or even making some connections for future economic gain though this blog. I’v never considered inviting advertisement here. Rather, blogging has been about self exploration and sometimes conversation that I share with a few friends and similarly situated seekers. But getting so many hits does call reasons and aspirations into question. What if I could figure out how to get that many hits every day? Could I monetize? Would I be inching ever closer into the economic “literary” world? And yes, indeed, “literary” belongs in quotes. I may have been looking and hoping for that a long time ago, but if it was given to me now, if it was possible to work at now, would that please me?
Quite serendipitously, I stumbled upon a blog entry — which I cannot find now and kicking myself for not ‘pinning’ it — that was about similar issues. The writer, who is in the economic blogging world but only barely by her description, had recently gather over a million hits on one day. Yes, a totally different league than the farm team that I am on, but she too was not sure of how she had done it and was somewhat interested in combing the piece for clues and trying to replicate what she had done. She expressed long held dreams of turning pin money into a living, of scaffolding blogging into a book deal, of finding that agent, that editor, that publisher who fell in love with her content and style and was confident s/he could head for the best seller list with her. But she also talked about the disappointment of getting that many hits and not a single new follower, that even though her readership had been steadily climbing, no doors had opened. She complained that the state of publishing is not about talent or good writing but the cult of popularity and extreme writer aggressiveness. Unfortunately, I imagine Jane Austen and George Elliot complaining about the same things. Finally, she admitted that she did not have the nose for self-promotion that she needed to transform her moderately successful blog into something more. She wondered if it was self-confidence or lofty artistic pretensions that kept her where she was. She seemed disappointed with her self-knowledge and somewhat dead ended.
And as she got down to those last ideas, I searched my own soul. It is not my writing or this blog that I want to take me anywhere but I can admit here to really wanting my Mindful Circle idea — mindfulness and support for caregivers and eventually families — to take off, proliferate and become gainful employment. Not immediately but eventually. Not for the income or fame it will bring but because I do believe that it is a good and useful idea. And I am awful at self-promotion, awful at seeing some great idea take hold. It is a lack of confidence. I know that. Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of climbing too far out on a limb? Or worse, some deeply held personality flaw that can only invite failure. I almost wish I could give the idea away to someone more capable of seeing it through. Except I am in love with doing it, preparing and giving those workshops and doing something that I think is useful for my community. I want to keep going with it and develop a curriculum and become skillful at delivering it. I want to grow circles. Of mindfulness and support.
And I really need help to move forward. I need to ask for help. I need to find who can help me. These ideas are terrifying! And the realization of that — that asking for help promoting is terrifying — is kinda’ crazy! I could have been terrified about so many other parts of the journey. And I wasn’t. I was not terrified about leaving what I knew I could do, not terrified plunging into the study of things I could have considered myself too old to begin learning, not terrified that I didn’t know where I was going a lot of the time. Man, did I wander! And I hated wandering at times, but I was not scared of it.
In some sense, I’ve written myself into a corner this morning. How can I not venture forward now that I’ve declared so much to my small world of readers? How can I not storm the gates of the universe and call up people would could help me move into action?
Perhaps . . . soon . . . no, now!
And bison and Christmas soon.