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, a site called 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. 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. Maybe I was just hanging around the wrong people. Regardless, 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.
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 greatly 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 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 goes 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.