Friday, October 5, 2007

Blog Journey: brick walls, crossroads and a dip

In a few days I will have been blogging for nine months. My entrance was probably less than conventional for someone contemplating moving into a regular career in online writing and publishing. I started with a kernel of insight that if I wanted to be a writer then "not blogging was an opportunity lost" (whoever wrote that, thank you). A few months back I defined my current blog as an internship; a place to learn the lingo, the tools, the culture and norms of writing online regularly. Now I am starting to plan where I want to go from here.

The thing that is surfacing more and more is that I love writing online. I think I have been marking time for this moment of progress if you will. One issue is that I didn't design a niche or a theme or even a posting outline in advance. Essentially I decided if I was going to swim I had to jump off the plank, get wet, and start paddling like crazy. Maybe it is no longer the recommended method but if online writing/publishing is a skill to acquire then jumping in works.

But I am maturing now. When I started out, the blogs I had been reading were mostly by women between 22 and 42. Seriously, I couldn't name one blogger my age or life stage. The only male blogger I was aware of was Darren Rowse at Problogger because I Googled "blog tutorial;" and who else is going to show up as number one? In spite of our lack of major connectors they were each welcoming and encouraging (despite my seemingly drunken staggering around).

The truth of the matter is that I am not some young thing and I am not a mommy blogger; I'm not. Nor am I satisfied with rambling on about the weather in Ohio - though sometimes it can be interesting. The two plus weeks where I determined to post everyday or else were very revealing. But the most revealing event was posting a quick note about the Randy Pausch lecture. The sheer number of people who came was stunning. The real insight, though, came with checking out how long they stayed and what pages they clicked on.

So I think I am at a point where I have to decide between treading water with the moms and tots or diving into the deep end with the explorers. True, mommy bloggers are often explorers but they tend to be looking for stability whereas I want to know what my range is and can I recover from the crashes that are inevitable. I want to build something bigger than just pleasant and well-groomed small talk but I don't want to be another ranting "boomer" blog either.

Three ideas have been hovering in my mind's ear recently; dreams, brick walls, and dips. I am almost too familiar with dreams and brick walls even if I can retrain myself to see them from Randy Pausch's perspective of "tests about how badly you want it". But I recently started reading Seth Godin's The Dip. He makes a lot of points in the book but I'm mentioning one for now. He talks about sometimes a plan needs help on the side. He was talking about a day-type job until the business could support a living as well as itself. He cautioned about getting too entangled in the means and forgetting what the end game was.

I have (and have had) a dream about being a creditable published writer. Over several decades there have been numerous brick walls to that whole dream though there have been small victories in getting smidgens published. Blogging has been sort-of an end around play for getting experience in online writing and publishing that the established system seemed determined to deny me. The thing is that now that I am really starting to get it I have to face-up to the fact that I can't grow where I am planted, at least not well. So I have to decide (actually I already have) do I stay where it's warm and cozy, or do I strike out into new territory (for me not the blog realm) and see what stuff I'm made of.

So I thank you for the indulgence of a personal editorial piece as I work through the process and keep you all apprised of how I am moving forward. I realize that I risk some of you feeling you can no longer invest time with me once I move to being more niche-centric but I understand your need to spend your online time wisely as well.

This was written primarily with my regular readers in mind. I have not included any links or Technorati tags because that is not what this post is about. Any names or books referred to can be easily Googled.


Pieces of Me said...

I hear you all the way through and I too have yet to find a wide readership that fits my glove; I am glad for your post it stabilizes m a bit knowing that I too have tended to the mommy blogs a bit too much. I think you're wise to experiment and move on to a different glove sometimes there's a way to find specific bloggers by doing a random search although I have not done one myself.

Scribbit said...

My husband once said my blog would be "organic" which irritated me because that's one of those hip new buzz words that doesn't mean anything about what it really means but the point was well taken actually. As you go along your goals change and it will evolve. Sounds like you're in the middle of that right now.

AuthorMomWith Dogs said...

G, you write very well. Well enough to become a published writer. In some ways, that's the easy part. The challenge comes in finding your voice -- knowing what it is that you want to write about.

You're asking the right questions. You'll get there.