Thursday, October 7, 2010

the fame didn't go to my head

it went straight to my gut. True story, readers. While the rest of you were ignoring my post on lovely things here yesterday, my Eco Women post was featured on "Freshly Pressed" over in the Land of WordPress.

For a day I experienced the heady rush of being a "popular" blogger. "Popular" meaning "read by a couple thousand people." My inbox was full all day, 90% were very encouraging, agreeable comments. But honestly? By 3:00 when I went to gather Team Testosterone back into my loving arms after school, I was quite tired of it. A little fearful. The stats kept climbing, the comments kept coming, I felt the edge of panic scrape against my nerves. Later that evening I checked in again and another 30 comments barreled into my inbox, clamoring for my attention. This Freshly Pressed business is only a 24-hour honor, right?

The Eco Women blog has a singular purpose: encourage people to live more thoughtfully and carefully on our planet. This blog? This is all about connecting with readers, making friends, sharing advice, opinions, stories. You all are my neighborhood coffee klatch/Bunko club/Stitch n' Bitch. My heart is here.

I felt compelled to respond to all the comments over at Eco Women yesterday--an overwhelming task. I felt the urge to visit all of their sites and check them out--an unreasonable expectation--no way can I become bloggy pals with all of those people. I had to quelch the urge to be "Green Girl in Wisconsin," mild-mannered, friendly Midwesterner; and wear a more professional, guarded hat as "Enviro Girl." I had to behave totally opposite of how I behave here.

I realized that this rash of comments explains why the famous gals like Jen Lancaster no longer allow comments on their posts. They'd spend entire days just reading the comments, without responding to any of them.

I felt a little naked and exposed with all those people reading my ideas and thoughts--which seems silly since blogging is all about exposure, right? The very premise of a blog is to throw yourself into a public forum for some kind of attention. I felt hypocritical about my sudden hesitation about the entire business--like people on reality TV shows protesting people watching their behavior once the episodes air--I put my work out there. Of course people are going to read it. DUH. But these people are strangers. The people over at Green Girl in Wisconsin are my friends. There's trust and context and mutual support. Then I started to reflect on how this experience might compare to one of my books selling. Hundreds, maybe thousands of total strangers paying money to read my work. What if they hated it? What if they felt ripped off or angered by what I wrote? Would I spend hours online watching the stats on Amazon.com, obsessing over who is buying my work and why or why not? After yesterday, I think publishing might be terrifying in a particular way. Maybe there's a good reason why I haven't landed a book deal for it yet. God knows I may not have the stomach for it. Perhaps He's protecting me from myself and my foolish pride and ambition.

Blogging for me is about the give-and-take. It's relational. I get a lot of joy and love out of this site and the places it leads me to (Georgia, Germany, California, Florida, England,Tuvalu). There's a world of difference between here and there.

But I still have a lot of "freshly pressed" thoughts to process.

19 comments:

  1. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming to have all that action at Eco Women, wasn't it? Still, I'm glad we were able to get the word out to more people, even if only for one day!

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  2. I need to put your other blog in my reader...I always forget to check it. I have this post rolling around in my head about how I was "country when country wasn't cool" in regard to recycling, saving money, etc. In fact, my heroine is still the good old Frugal Zealot, Amy Daczycn of the Tightwad Gazette. I still refer to her books often. I bought them, but she'd tell you to go to the library.

    I get that same scary feeling when I link up to the Met Monday blog party...the day I linked up to two was kind of freaky. Hundreds and hundreds of hits, although few commented. Since I get so little traffic I often feel like I have a good handle on who is reading, so when all these "strangers" start stopping by, the feeling of exposure is kind of weird.

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  3. I know just what you mean... if I get more that five comments on a post, I have a crisis and stop posting!

    BUT, while you have all this Enviro-traffic, you can brainwash the masses into the Enviro Way!!!! It WAS a great post, and so sensible. Yesterday I cooked a vat of dried black beans into awesome vegetarian black bean chilli, froze two containers full for two future meals, had some on rice with a little grated cheese and a few taco chips. The boys loved it and it cost hardly a thing per serving. Dried beans rock!

    And slow cookers rock, if you're into dried beans...

    Today is leftovers day: there's a chicken carcass in the fridge with plenty still on it, rice, veggies... and of course black beans! Cost of leftovers: zero, because they would be thrown away if we didn't eat them today.

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  4. I think you would be obsessed with your Amazon sales stats for a while. But then the novelty would wear off and you'd be all "book sales, schmook sales, la dee dah." Well, ok, not really that blase, but you know what I mean. Or maybe I'm just projecting...

    I would be overwhelmed by tons of blog comments, too, although I have been a Very Bad Blogger lately and haven't always responded to the comments I do receive. I can't imagine that bloggers with HUGE followings actually read their comments. I mean, really, the Pioneer Woman does not have time to read 17,000 "yummy!" comments every time she posts a new recipe, does she?? (I am ashamed to admit that I only comment on her site when I want to win a giveaway.)

    Can I get you another cup of coffee with that pecan roll, friend?

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  5. I have the same worry about getting a book out there...what if no one likes it...what if they tell all their friends just how much they don't like it...will I be able to just let that slide off me? I don't know that I can...

    Glad you're back over here. :)

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  6. It would be overwhelming to have SO many comments...but in that magnitude, I don't think people expect a reply comment...

    With that said, how Awesome that your word got out to so many!!! Hope that your message sticks with them :)

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  7. Don't freak out! *haha! Look at it this way....go check out your stats on your profile on THIS blog: over 9,000 people have dropped in to "check you out", right? whether they have said anything, or commented to you or not. That's more what the book will be like...and when or if you go 'on tour' to promote the book, you'll see some of the people who LIKE the book, because what kind of jerk would show up to a book-signing for a book they don't dig? *haha!*
    Greens. It will be okay!! Have a spoonful of cookie-dough or something and just sit still for a couple minutes...*heehee! It really will be fine!!

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  8. I just read your eco post! Way to go!!! I still have to process all the stuff we've gone through for the last 8 months---no/low processed, low sugar (and Not artificial or hfcs), low grain (especially white flour), no juice or soda. Personally, we are on a fixed budget. I can't express enough how shopping the outer isles have saved us! Sure, meals take a little more time, but with a bit of planning and prep it goes a lot faster. Oh, and my boys are doing fantastic on this plan---no allergies, no #2 problems...and autistic symptoms super lowered! Plus I've lost over 35lbs! Whoot whoot for buying green And saving money!

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  9. I just read your article. You are just so fabulous! No wonder you got so many comments! I think I would probably stress about it a bit too. It must be the midwest in us. ;)

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  10. Congrats on your day of fame! I like your fall header picture.

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  11. It was a great post. I know how you feel about the sudden fame. I'm sometimes a little sad that my blog gets hardly any comments, but when I do get a lot, I feel sort of weirded out by it.

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  12. Congrats! Good for you - you go girl!

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  13. It was a great post to feature.

    Getting big changes things, that's for sure.

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  14. Oof. I totally understand this. Funny how I see the people who read my blog as my friends. But when I stuck my neck out and wrote a very personal post as part of a BlogHer campaign? All sorts of people I didn't know read it! And commented on it - sometimes not so kindly. And when it was all over, I felt like I was coming home to my mama after the first, horrid day of junior high. Except in Blogland, it was OK for me to decide not to go back.

    I like to think that unless you're writing a memoir, publishing a book would be different. But I'm naive like that.

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  15. Good post! Those NPR bits about people's food expenses always miss the point, don't they? And I'll never forget the piece they did a year or so ago, where a woman was lamenting that she had to buy at the standard grocery chain instead of at Whole Foods. As if that were the end of the world...

    Duh.

    I think you should just enjoy having been Queen for the Day and leave it at that. And yes, one's own blog always does seem so much more comfy, doesn't it?

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  16. Don't forget: Canada. ;)

    It's funny; I don't like people I know reading my blog. So I don't advertise it to anybody except those I know won't judge me. Oh, and the people on the internet and other bloggers. Bloggers are some of the nicest people I "know", so it's all good here.

    It's stress and pressure to respond to every comment, and I find that I sometimes (okay, often) put it off a day or two or three... and I only get half a dozen comments on average! I don't know how you do it, Enviro Girl! Good luck on your popularity. May it only last as long as your endurance!

    P.S.: Go for the publishing. You'll be fine. It's not like the internet, or so I hear.

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  17. Congrats to you on all the buzz about your recent food post at Eco Women. It - and you - deserved the attention. I predict you'll have many more dips in the pool of fame. (:

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Spill it, reader.