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Kitchen Sink

Soul Questions

May 4th, 2010

 

WHY, OH WHY INDEED

 

Why are you doing this?”

 

It was a simple question, surely. Referring to something I’ve been doing continuously for nine years, but why, WHY? What do I hope to get out of it?

 

That was his next question.

 

He and I were sitting at a bar in a swank LA eatery enjoying drinks and nibbling tea sandwiches. A rare, rare time alone, we had the chance to talk about the things we don’t usually discuss. Why? What? How? Where, where, where are we going? And Good God, how will we get there?

 

Metaphysically of course.

 

Eventually, the conversation turned to blogging. Probably because in between smoked salmon bites, I obsessively checked Twitter and posed my plate for a picture I’d soon share with hundreds of people in the online universe.

 

He cupped my chin and turned me towards him. “Why?” Then: “Look at me, not your phone.” Finally: “Why are you doing this?”

 

I knew why I’d started blogging. Way back in 2001. I wanted to write. I wanted to be goofy. I wanted to be introspective. I wanted to have a forum where I could express myself and feel beholden to producing something readable. Because I just couldn’t seem to do it only for myself. But it turned out that from 2001-2008 no one read my blog. Not a soul save for my brother and a random reader whose name I never did catch. I didn’t promote myself. I didn’t leave links around like strands of a web. I didn’t pull readers toward me. What freedom that. Because? I didn’t scratch my head for post fodder. I didn’t feel the pressure to be funny, or insightful, or informative. I just was. Worse, or better? I didn’t concern myself with branding. Positioning. Fitting in. And thank God for that…because I wouldn’t have spread my writing wings otherwise.

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

 

So in 2008 I decided to get more serious. I wanted to sprinkle my writing seed and see if I could pick up some gigs doing what I loved — writing about nothing. And everything. Maybe, just maybe if I developed a blog that was purely, 100% ME — the silly, the obsessive, the occasionally delightfully random — and this time let people read it — someone would see something in that and ask me to write for them or it. You know, because my voice was so unique and special. I was following my bliss, which was the simple act of molding words and stringing them together. Expression. That’s what it was pure and simple. Expression. With a side of please notice me and tell me I can write, then hire me to do this same thing in other places for money. I wanted to be a little like Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck. Just writing my life my way.

 

So that was naive. Somewhere along the way, I began to second guess my voice, my purpose, my one reason for beginning to blog in the first place. I started to care too much what people thought. About if I fit in a genre, and if so, which one? About if I were popular enough. About if people knew who I was, and did they care. I’m also supposed to give thought to how I look to potential sponsors and advertisers, right? I mean, that’s what the conferences say. I need to worry about what the conferences say.

 

Except that doesn’t feel right to me.

 

WHAT NOW

 

Well, I’m working on a book. Have been since 1999. Blogging has taken me away from it somewhat. I do believe that blogging can be writing, but not always. When I spend my time posting here, I’m not getting words on my manuscript. Blogging is an adjunct to what I want to do: WRITE. Still, I can never give up blogging. I can’t ignore the lure of instant writing and feedback and expression. BUT: It’s OK to not care about packaging myself, isn’t it? It’s OK to just write and not have to put it in a box, right? Do I really need to be strategic here? I mean I have a strategy: it’s to write because I love it and eventually get paid for it because I’d like to make a living being ridiculously in lust with what I do. BUT the more I do this, the more I find myself moving away from why I began blogging in the first place. Now I’m drawn to making this person like me, or that person, because it validates me on some level. I need to be everywhere at once, that’s how it feels, or people will forget me. I don’t want people to forget me. Everything I’ve begun to prioritize is outside myself, external. I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.

 

As a result, I’m scattered. Unfocused. More insecure than usual. I worry about being left behind in this blogging game. I’m all over the place, but I’m not in the center. I need to be in the center. Grounded. Anchored. Not pulled apart by zero comments, slights from the A-listers, mama drama. What’s important? What’s important? What’s important? The core. Always the core?

 

Is the writing for the sake of writing, my family, my dream.

 

And that’s what he wanted to hear.

 

We had a great weekend.

 

On May 4th, 2010, Bridget Smith said:

What a wonderful post, Deb. The same questions have been asked at my house lately as well. Yes, it’s definately a question to ask…does blogging take me away from my writing…my family? I have a few thoughts that were brought up by the movie Julie/Julia on my blog today.

I had actually been thinking about inviting you to stop by because this was one of those posts that are the ones I really like to write, unlike the SEO focused Legoland updates that hopefully propel me to something like economic security.
http://www.familyadventureguidebooks.com/2010/05/04/armchair-adventures-julie-and-julia/

I am starting a blog or two that are more of the money making variety, but I think I’ll always keep Family Adventure Guidebooks as the place that I call home.

See you Thursday. Please give me a hug. Networking and meeting new people kind of stresses me out.

On May 4th, 2010, Maureen@IslandRoar said:

I think about this a lot lately. I love the community, I love how it gets me writing shorter snappier pieces. But it does take me from my other writing and it does eat time.
No easy answers. You’ve been doing this much longer than I. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep up.

On May 4th, 2010, Kizz said:

You write my truth. You know, without the husband and the trip to LA.

On May 4th, 2010, Sugar Jones said:

I keep getting asked what my blog is about. I always squirm because I don’t have a packaged answer. And then I think I should have that packaged “elevator pitch” answer. And then I squirm that I even thought I should.

I am Sugar Jones. I figure if people want to brand me with anything it should be that I love life and I write and say out loud what others were thinking. But because of all the packaging talk, I stopped that, too. I realized that this past weekend… at a conference, naturally.

I think I need to go write about that right now…

On May 4th, 2010, Danielle said:

I understand where you’re coming from exactly. I feel the same way about what I could be doing different to get more readers, etc. I am the queen of putting pressure on myself. I’ve thought about stopping the blog becasue of all those things you listed, but then I think well I enjoy writing the random stuff, sharing funny stories about the kids. I guess I really don’t care if anyone reads it or not, on some level it is a therapy for me.

On May 4th, 2010, rima said:

You and I? Are living parallel lives. (Except you are tall, blonde and beautiful!). I am totally picking up what you are laying down here, sister. I KNOW I’m not “doing blogging right,” but . . . I can’t do it any other way.

HANG IN THERE! ;)

On May 4th, 2010, Kelly S. said:

Hey, I used to love that song!

It seems what you’re feeling is out there in the air right now. Just read this today on another favorite blog:

http://petuniafacedgirl.blogspot.com/2010/05/its-all-in-my-head.html

Doing this for 9 years? Very impressive. I say it’s all creativity, whether on paper or out here.

On May 5th, 2010, Da Goddess said:

Ahem, I was one of the few who read you between 2002 and…well, for years until you disappeared. Just sayin’.

As for the tweeting and the phone and all that, my guess is that you found a way to turn the phone off and to focus on your wonderful husband because, as you said, you had a wonderful weekend.

The book will happen when it happens, darling Deb. It’s there and it’ll come out when it’s damn good and ready. And I’ll read it.

On May 5th, 2010, vodkamom said:

It’s quite a dilemma. Is the blogging writing? What writing are we meant to do?

I am still trying to figure out what the bleep I am doing.

On May 5th, 2010, Susannah aka Petunia Face said:

Exactly! Why, indeed. Of course there is that needling reason: because we are compelled to.

Lovely blog. I’m going to excuse myself while I keep reading your posts…

:)

On May 5th, 2010, green girl in Wisconsin said:

That’s kind of funny how the blog can take on a life of its own.
I think it’s great that your husband and you can have the deep talks, though.
Here’s to room for BOTH kinds of writing in your life!

On May 5th, 2010, Jenn @ Juggling Life said:

Be yourself–that’s the only way to be happy. And yourself rocks!

On May 5th, 2010, JenniferfromLaJolla said:

Love this post. And love how committed you are to being YOU. While I am loving things, need to add that you are a fantastic writer. Stick with your gut–it will (and has) taken you far.

On May 5th, 2010, Tweets that mention San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » Soul Questions -- Topsy.com said:

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BridgetASmith. BridgetASmith said: Love this post on blogging by @San Diego Mama. http://tinyurl.com/2dvmv49 […]

On May 5th, 2010, Mama Mary said:

Deb, To quote Frank the Tank, “Keep on, Keep on Truckin'” You are on the right path! The path just gets convoluted and messy at times, but keep on the path! Love you and your blog! (And your accessories!)

On May 5th, 2010, becky said:

Been going through a bit of that questioning myself. A lot. So much so that I almost quit posting entirely (as you can tell if you look at the frequency of posts on my blog). But I’ve had that domain since 2002 and I’m just not ready to give up yet.

So I’m trying not to worry about the goodies and blogger junkets and why no one reads me and just write for me. Because I need to write. And hear from other people that they get it. So I’ll keep plugging away, but maybe with some blinders on so I can just type instead of worrying.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night. Will you be at Mamafest on Fri as well?

On May 5th, 2010, Stacy Traynor said:

I have to tell you…I love your blog. I love this other side of you that I probably would never meet in person. It’s so honest and brave.

On May 7th, 2010, Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said:

I am thinking about what you said to me about blogging.

On May 12th, 2010, Hip_m0m said:

Deb,

You’re a beautiful writer and especially so when you become introspective and allow us – your readers – to peek inside the windows to your soul.

I always look forward to what I might find here and am especially eager to read your book when its finished.

love you.

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