To My Blog Friends, this week I am writing my most personal post ever.
Last year at the tail end of summer, I quit my job and effectively put the halt on a successful career I spent years building. My reasons for quitting were few, but they were big.
After I quit, I spent the next couple months decompressing (read: watching a lot of TV and DVDs) and getting adjusted to no longer answering to a big corporation with many leaders and even more demands. And I still found myself stressed, because suddenly I realized that the way I was accustomed to describing myself during my entire adult life, was no longer accurate. I didn’t count on losing my identity the day I finally quit.
Then in November, I finally followed my heart and began to write. And I decided to take the things I wrote about and put them in a bright shiny new website. My initial post, which I put on my short-lived website, was a scathing commentary on the idiocy of some of my neighbors, both current and past. For my efforts, I got berated by my sister for ‘being mean’ which led me to pull down my post that very day. I subsequently pulled the plug on my website shortly thereafter. (One day I will re-post my Neighbor Rant though, because I now know you would absolutely love it. Especially the part about the Smurf blue house. And the accompanying pictures. And the song I wrote in honor of my neighbors. It is truly one of my best, though I really have to wait until someone moves before I post it).
Still needing to express myself, I explored the possibility of using a blogging site. I figured it was much cheaper than a website (read: FREE) and better suited for the camaraderie I was seeking.
I hardly knew what I was doing, at least in terms of blogging, when I started. It was such a foreign concept to me. I somehow stumbled upon some blogs (without actually using Stumble Upon) and left a few comments here and there, but was generally unaware of how to access the huge network of people who blog and then get them to visit my new site.
Initially after each post, I would eagerly await for people to comment and provide me with some affirmation that what I had to say was worth reading. Because each post I wrote felt like a child I birthed, nurtured, watched grow, and then set free to stand alone in the world. I wanted my posts to succeed, because I loved them all, albeit some more than others. (Well I take that back. There is one post I wrote that I actually hated but I was suffering from writer’s block. I didn’t nurture that post, I kicked it out on its ass and told it never to return. I only kept it in my archive to serve as a reminder that I could never write such crap again. I will apologize at the end of this post for that one). The comments never really came. So then I wondered if maybe this meant that not only was I bad writer, but maybe I wasn’t funny either (even though I do tend to slay myself quite often).
I was pretty close to quitting blogging and then I was ‘discovered’ by the Empress. For those of you who know who she is, I need not say anymore. But for those of you don’t, well the Empress is a blogger who has the unique capability of discovering other bloggers and then selflessly promoting them via Twitter (Twitter…oh dear. Twitter can be so overwhelming to the brand new blogger and social media user. But that’s altogether another story).
So The Empress, she discovered me, promoted me, and ultimately helped me build a small following, while simultaneously teaching me, the novice blogger, about the world of blogging. I silently watched her from the sidelines, grateful that I finally had a mentor who wasn’t concerned about advancing her own agenda (I actually think of her as the Fairy Blogmother; I am pretty sure she may also have cartoon bluebirds perpetually flying around her head).
Then finally, the comments came. Maybe not a lot compared to other bloggers, but at least there weren’t crickets anymore. For a while, I obsessed about why I wasn’t getting more. This was also during the time I would check my stats practically every hour to gauge my popularity. It was mentally exhausting and somewhat out of character for me. Eventually I made the conscious decision to tune all of it out, because gaining a large following was really, not part of my focus. My true goal was to write, to create something I was proud of.
And so each week, I obsess over my writing and posts. I want to make each vignette something humorous and fun, because I love laughing, it’s one of my favorite feelings in life and I indulge in it as often as I can. I like to write about everyday things I find absurd. I like to tell unconventional stories. I like to write interesting dialogue. I like to mix reality and fantasy. Thus you should know that while most of my rants have genuine veins of truth, I can’t help but fictionalize some parts as well. I am not really sure how well my approach goes over in the blogosphere (I have been told that my posts are too long).
In short, my writing has become my work; first I let my ideas flow, and then I go back and dissect every single word and punctuation mark. I read and re-read, write and re-write, and edit and re-edited each post practically on a daily basis. I let other things fall to the wayside. It ends up stealing a lot of my time.
In addition to my writing, there’s my logo, which I tailor to every post, and which oddly (to me anyway) rarely gets commented on. Each cartoon probably takes up another hour or two of my time (except today's, that only took 6 minutes) and is my visual extension of the post I wrote.
So here I am, eight blogging months later, and I find myself wondering, where exactly am I going with this blog? Because even though I only post once a week, I put in considerable time and effort to ensure I write the best ‘product’ I am capable of producing. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the time I put in to following other bloggers that I have become fond of (okay so maybe it also includes some time spent on Perez Hilton, but don't even judge me, a girl has to keep up with Eminem, Mark Walhberg, Ryan Reynolds, and soon-to-be-a-break-star-if-he-doesn't-fall-under-the-Superman-curse, Henry Cavill).
After thinking about it long and hard over the last few weeks, I have realized that my blog is actually distracting me from my real goal and dream, which is to write a novel and have it published. It was one of the main reasons why I quit my career.
For the ideas, plotline, subplot lines, and zany characters of my novel have been swirling around in my head for many months now, yelling and begging me to make them into real, potentially marketable, fiction. Yet I have been putting them to the side like naughty children, telling them to be quiet as they are bugging me while I am doing other writing stuff. And recently I realized ‘they’ started listening to my command, because they are not as loud anymore. And that scares me, because I don’t want to lose them. They may be my future. They deserve a chance.
Given the expectations I put upon myself when I write, along with the basic needs of everyday life, I understand that I am incapable of simultaneously writing both this weekly blog and a book. One of them has to give.
Thus it is time for me to stop my weekly blogging, at least for a while, because I cannot produce the kind of post I like to produce on a weekly basis and still devote myself to writing my novel.
So I hope you, my readers, understand why I have to do this. And I also hope you know that your comments and reactions strengthened the belief I already had in myself that maybe I do have the talent to do this. Because this novel is a dream I have had for many years, and I am lucky enough to have family and friends who believe and encourage me to pursue this thing already.
(Who knows? Maybe I will beat the odds and actually make it happen. However I’m no dummy, I know it won’t be an easy road. And know I may fail. But that doesn’t matter, because I still have to try. I don’t want any regrets.)
In the meantime, I will continue to follow your blogs as often as I can, because the world of blogging gave me back a piece of myself that went missing for a while after I stopped working. Plus you guys make me smile.
And I still plan on posting on occasion, if you will have me….
So before I temporarily sign off, I have some thanks to dole out:
To those wonderful women, The Empress, Alison, 2 Girls On A Bench, Tonya & Carrie formerly AdHocMoms (p.s. go check out Tonya's new site: Going To MENSA) and The Flying Chalupa, who at various times promoted me/my blog via Twitter – THANK YOU. (You also need to know how utterly ironic it was to me that others promoted me, because I felt I did such a poor job of promoting myself, yet I spent the bulk of my career successfully marketing things for others. Go figure).
One last thing before I go, I owe my readers an apology for my Music Video Rant, posted in April. I am sorry. That rant sucked. It sucked HARD. Of all the posts ever posted anywhere, it was the worst. And it was the only rant I ever wrote that I absolutely hated (although I loved the tarty cartoon outfit my logo wore at the end with the thigh high boots. Those boots were hot. And the feathers were my homage to Cher. I do a freakin' great impression of Cher singing "If I Could Turn Back Toooooommm". And yes I know it's Turn Back Time, but I sing it as Toooooommm). The week I wrote that post, I was suffering from a horrible case of writer’s block and could not get my mojo to mo or jo.
XOXOXO – France
p.s. Good Lord, I just re-read this post. It reads like an insufferable Academy Award acceptance speech or something. It may be a little over the top. I am not trying to be full of myself folks, I just wanted to explain my thought process so that the few of you who follow me, don’t feel like I left you high and dry when you visit my blog looking for something new to read. (In spite of myself, I sometimes do have a conscience. Or maybe it’s just guilt, because let’s not forget, I’m Italian AND Catholic for God’s sake). In fact, it will be a miracle if I don’t just delete this whole post.