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.