State of the Blog Address

http://fivethingsatonce.com/

I don’t usually like to get “meta.” But since I put so much work into this project, after almost two months it may be time to stop and take a look at the state of the blog. I’ve attempted to develop sites before, though unsuccessfully. I created Small Doses back in the late 90’s. This early attempt at web design was full of disparate ideas that never really came together, but it did give me a chance to learn HTML. More recently, Chump Score was a false start out of the gate. I think I only had one friend who read any of the articles regularly. How do I know if Five Things At Once is working out? The first step is to see if parenting is even the right topic for me. I use Gary Vaynerchuck’s litmus test for blogging and choosing your passion:

“Can you think of at least fifty blog topics you’re amped to write about? That’s about the minimum number of posts you’ll need to give yourself enough time to get a feel for the situation.”1

This is my 50th post, and I still have about twenty ideas I haven’t had the chance to get to yet. So, I’ve think it’s fair to say I have a “feel for the situation.” The next test would be, as Roger Waters said in The Wall: “Is anybody out there?” With more than a couple subscribers, somebody must be reading from time to time. However, it’s surprising to me that anyone would subscribe to this.

Back in the day, before we moved to Texas, I was hanging out with my drummer friend Dan who was in a band. They were trying to get active and play out more in Northern California. He mentioned that things would be easier for them if they had a manager. Music and business management sounded like a good combo, so I said, “Hey, I’ll be your manager.” But he just looked at me and quipped, “Ha. But nobody listens to you.” Just because a comment is made as a half-joke, doesn’t mean it’s half-funny. Regardless, I suppose he was right. Nobody ever listened to me. It’s more than just because I am soft spoken and have a non-assuming demeanor. It’s simply that nobody listened to me. So it is surprising to me now that anybody would read or pay attention to anything I write. But it’s nice. I’ll take it.

http://fivethingsatonce.com/

And perhaps that’s the best part of this whole project: the people I meet along the way. Their encouragement and support is much appreciated, and has been amazing so far. Although greatly rewarding, parenting is still a long slog any way you slice it, and support is emphatically needed as the days go on. Writing itself can be tough as well. It’s not like music, where you can just play live and get an immediate response from an audience. It takes much time to bring good writing to fruition, and encouragement along the way can make a big difference. And before a writer has found their voice and/or has a tough skin, discouragement can be devastating.

When I was little, I once wrote a short story about a ghost named Greeley. I thought it was pretty clever, especially because I was so young. My older sister, however, was jealous of my creativity. She held the pages up over my head while going on a diatribe about how stupid the story was, and how bad of a writer and person I was. I was so hurt,  I just cried and tore up the pages. I was completely discouraged, and didn’t write again for a long time. It was through composing music and writing lyrics that I learned to take a chance again. It’s a tough world for all of us, we all have our “big sisters” out there. A little encouragement for your friends go a long, long way- because we all need help battling those demons.

In that spirit, I ask you to speak up, use your voice– both literally and virtually. Thus, your homework for today is to go out and find a few creative people. Pay it forward and give them some encouragement. You get bonus points if they are kids. Please come back and write about your experiences in the comments.

1 Gary Vaynerchuck, Crush It! (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 50.

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19 thoughts on “State of the Blog Address

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  1. Look forward to the next 20 topics. Give or take 🙂 Amazing what comes along when you already have a post at hand. Similar things happen in that parenting journey….

      1. Jeff, I’m very excited to tell you how this little assignment went. I wrote a post called Paying It Forward: My fellow bloggers, which not only led to a Pay It Forward badge/award to inspire and encourage other bloggers, but also got me noticed. Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear has been following my blog and decided to share that particular post. I’ve had 930 (so far) views today; 9 times my previous peak.
        So, thank you! I took your prompt and very humbly linked to a few blog posts that I’ve enjoyed recently (including one of yours), and it led to lots of sharing. There were, for example, 30 clicks on your site from my post today, and I’m hoping some of those stuck around to read more. Folks on my end commented on how much they enjoyed all of the posts I linked to.
        It’s been a very exciting day for my blog and I owe some of that to you, sir. Have a great day!

  2. I hear ya about people not hearing ya. When I started my blog a couple of weeks ago I thought I would get tons of subscribers and I was amped. But lo, that is not the case. But it is still early in the game and I am getting a feel for what my niche might be. Your post today is encouraging and I really appreciate that you left me a comment on one of my posts, it made me feel good. So thanks, and keep up the good work.

  3. Terrific post, Jeff. And, of course, you know that your blog inspired me to start writing mine, so consider yourself heard, my friend. Believe it or not (believe) I was a SUPER shy kid-ask Amy. It’s amazing to me now how social I am. But back to the topic…support is essential in all that we do. I’ve gotten incredible support from friends and family along the way from playing in a rock band when I was a “new” mom to making it through these past few years without going insane. And, as an artist, whether it be with my music, painting, or even doing a little home decorating, a compliment or two goes a long way. I’d also like to say that getting another subscriber to my blog (thank you closet monster) made me squeel with delight the other day! As for paying it forward, I try very hard to do that. Sometimes it’s in a compliment about something a girl at work is wearing, or an encouraging word to my new guitar player at church. The most important person on my list, however, is Maycee. Encourage, encourage, encourage: drawing pictures, taking piano lessons, riding a horse, being nice and helpful to others…every day…There’s a band called Mercy Me that has an album about a ficticious character, Mr. Lovewell. Check it out…it’s right along these lines, and I think you’ll like it. Cheers and keep blogging, man!

  4. You’ve only been blogging 2 months??! Holy mackerel. Take it as a compliment: this blog looks like it’s been around a while (you couldn’t say that about someone usually!) Guess I should have a proper look at your site…

      1. I’m gonna be a nerd and remind motherventing that Robin was the one with all the “holy” interjections… Holy pop culture allusion, Batman!

  5. Just do what you like man… I enjoy reading your blog for what that’s worth.

    I tried to blog in the mid 90’s (yeah, they weren’t called blogs then) and then again in the early 2000’s and I kind of came to the realization that nobody really cared what I thought and that I would never make a living doing anything on the internet. I came to that same conclusion with regards to music a year or so ago. It feels good not to rely on that self validation one gets in the ally by the railway station.

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