For your Saturday evening, some deep(ly neurotic) thoughts.
Back in January when I took on the challenge to write a post every day in 2011, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself in to. I’ve managed to write every day, but it’s been hard. Much harder than I thought, actually, and not in terms of thinking of topics or how to write about what I want to say–that part has been relatively easy. The hardest part, really, has been the emotional toll it’s taken.
No matter what they say, I think every person who starts a blog hopes that they will build a readership, and that the more they write, the more their readership will grow. I know this is certainly the case for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing; but I also really enjoy the community that develops around a blog, and the dialog that grows out of it. I dream of fitting in with all the cool kid blogs, like Healthy Tipping Point, Meals and Miles, Daily Garnish, and Frayed Laces (just to name a small few). And to be clear, I don’t blog so that I’ll develop a following like the ones those blogs have, I blog because I care about being able to speak about things that mean something to me. But there’s a part of me that still feels very high school-ish when I open up a window to write up a post, as though I’m following on the tails of the in-crowd and hoping that one day they’ll turn around and notice me too.
And that’s part of what makes this post-a-day thing so hard on me: I get really wrapped up in what people think of what I’m writing, and worry constantly that any seeming interest in what I have to say is a fluke. Having my Special K post re-published on Jezebel has ended up being the bane of my existence to a certain extent, since it’s very easy for me to look at everything I’ve written since in a way that makes me feel like that was a complete mistake, and something that wasn’t really meant to happen at all. As a result, I’ve felt like I’ve been floundering since that post, and that feeling then sort of feeds into a cyclical process that guarantees that I’ll feel bad no matter what happens.
This is similar to the thinking that surrounds all my accomplishments, really, so it’s not all that surprising that it would happen with writing, too. But it’s really draining, and makes me sort of dread blogging and worry more than I should about how many people are reading, and what it means about me and how worthy I am as a person if not many people are. Clearly I put too much weight on what other people think of me, and since I have a hard time generating self-esteem on my own and tend to rely on the validation I get from others, this is dangerous.
I’m not really sure what the solution is. Like I said, I like blogging so I don’t want to stop doing it altogether, but I have this fear that if I stop posting daily I will a) feel like I quit or failed something and b) lose readers. The best thing to do would be to divorce my sense of self-worth from the feedback (or perception of feedback or perception of lack of feedback) I get from others, and blog about what I want when I want. After all, it’s my blog. But anything that comes with any kind of public exposure is automatically far more complex than that.
So I’ll probably continue to worry about things: whether I’ll get chosen for the Run for the Rabbit Campaign and how I’ll feel if I don’t; whether people just read this because it’s there or because they actually like it; whether my writing is good or bad; whether the people who read this post will read the post I put up tomorrow; whether I’ll get any Embrace:Me posts for the Monday after this one; whether anyone cares about Embrace:Me at all or whether it was just a stupid idea and a poor, watered-down version of things that other bloggers have already done, and done better; who is my audience? should I write more about running, or general health issues, or women’s issues, or should I be posting pictures of the food I eat taken from five different angles? etc. I mean, the list could go on and on.
I don’t know, does anyone else worry about this? Is it best to just give up at this point? Is this just some weird blog-life crisis? Or is this just another one of my silly overly irrational ways of seeing the world?