Random shallow thoughts on blogging and 300 posts

Unleash the virtual confetti. This is post number 300. Woo hoo.

Okay, celebration over. Cut it. Return the llamas and clowns. End of party.

Instead of cake, how about some random thoughts on blogging?

***

Thanks to everyone who visits. Without you I would have quit this damn thing a long time ago. Maybe I should be angry at you for making me do this. It’s all your fault. Do you know how much television I could have watched?

Let’s see . . . 2 to 4 hours per post, sometimes more. Average 3 hours. 300 posts. 900 HOURS? I could have watched Road House 450 times! Am I mad in the head?

Yes. Yes, I am.

***

From the “This I know to be true” department: I suck at self-promotion.

I’m torn between having fewer readers I like or having a large audience of people I don’t know because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a blogger. I’ve chosen a contrarian strategy and sometimes think about going dark with my blog and having no readers.

Yes, I would miss you – except my two pals in England (you know who you are, troublemakers).

***

Why am I blogging? I ask that question a lot. I know I started it for my daughter, but I can’t answer it anymore. Why try to define it now?

It is. I am.

***

Department of “illogic”: I can write 300 blog posts, but I can’t write a novel.

This I don’t understand.

But then writing blog posts is a 1,000 times more fun than writing novel chapters. Especially when you’re writing after a full day of work where you get paid to write.

At night with blurry eyes, it’s all about writing what I want to write.

***

I feel good about all of the posts. I took them seriously, put a lot of effort into them.

Am I happy with them? No.

Did any of them turn out the way I thought they would? No.

But the magnificent Bono once said he’s not satisfied with most U2 songs. So, I feel better. Not really.

One day I’ll nail one of these posts, but don’t bet on it.

***

I never know which posts will draw reactions. I’ve spent days on some. Gone late into the night and thought, “I’VE DONE IT. I’VE FINALLY WRITTEN A DECENT POST.”

Then I hit “publish” thinking I’ll see comments in the morning. Nothing. Zero. The sound of outer space.

I suck.

***

Having an eclectic blog sounded good in theory. Readers come and go. I talk about the dogs, I get dog readers. I talk about CF, my CF friends chime in. Politics, everyone splits. I’m not sure writing about various subjects builds a large, consistent readership. One subject seems the way to go.

I should write a cooking blog. I don’t cook. Kiss that idea goodbye.

I wonder if three blogs is the answer – keep the subject matter consistent for each blog. Too much work.

***

Why subscribers should always read the blog post at the web site: Typos.

How many times have I hit “publish” thinking I fixed all of the typos? A lot.

Then, after one more read, I find another. Typo. Argh. Typo. Argh. Typo. Oh, Hell.

***

From the “best laid plans” department: My goal is to write only short posts and funny posts. My apologies for the 299 posts* that weren’t either.

(*My friend, Karyn of Australia, wrote a funny one for me. The other 299 are my responsibility. Send any complaints to Sean and Matt Smythington, 555 Bite Me Lane, Cleethorpes, England, 98YurAss573t)

***

I miss Fox.

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Courage is hard to find some days

I want to be the fearless guy – the one who can do anything and not care what anyone thinks, or look like it. John Belushi comes to mind. Charles Bukowski.  Bob Flanagan. Any stand-up comedian. I may have come close years ago in my bungy-jumping stage. If it was risky, I was willing to try it, or say it. Wrap a rubber band to my feet and let me jump. And I did.

He didn't have a fear bone in his body, but he did have a lot of drugs.

But it’s amazing how I’ve gone to the opposite extreme as I’ve aged. When I was younger, I didn’t care what happened to me. Now I have panic attacks because I’m afraid of dying in my sleep or on a plane. All it takes to set an attack in motion is a tweak in my chest for a fraction of a second. “Game on” in my head. With announcers, too.

And then there is this blog. I want to takes risks, push the envelope, be fearless. But I don’t know if I have the courage to do it, and that makes me disappointed in myself. The fear I’ve developed over the years, combined with OCD, is a roller-coaster of bravery and panic. Up and down, up and down. Like yesterday and today.

I pulled my first published post, the one written in the style of Charles Bukowski. I spent three days on it with my OCD firing like a rocket engine. I even held back in comparison to how far Bukowski pushes his prose. I think I got close to his style and how the world might have looked to him had he had cystic fibrosis. I knew the post pushed boundaries, even for this blog, and added a warning like you might find on property guarded by a crazy farmer with a loaded gun. But I thought the post was true to its subject. Then the “it sounded better in my head” part of fear crept in with: Are you crazy? But I summoned a crumb of courage and clicked “Publish” last night.

Then I panicked. I wrote another post to push the Bukowski post back one notch. Done, in the past. No one will notice it. I felt better. Then I woke up this morning in “spiraling out of control mode” thanks to lower back/kidney pain (another post).

What did I do? Not one comment. Not good. Hmm. Did I go too far? What will people think? I like the people who read my blog. I don’t even know them. But I do. They won’t understand the style and connect it to me. It is connected to me – I wrote it. The post is too far out there. But it’s mellow Bukowski compared to his works. It will be okay. Leave it, you wuss.

So, I removed it. And I’m not sure how I feel now. Disappointed in myself because I pulled it? Perhaps. I take this blog seriously. It’s interesting to put writing out there for others to read and see how it’s interpreted. If there’s a silver lining to this story, it’s that I am pushing boundaries because my posts have made me uncomfortable lately. The question is: do I have the courage to keep pushing?

If there’s there’s a blogging downside, it’s finding your own internal editor to tell you when you pushed too far, what’s gold or crap, and whether to hit “Publish” or “Move to Trash.” I can never tell. Maybe I need to ask: What would Bob Flanagan do?