Good Enough

IMG_4713I remember clearly how excited and nervous I was when I finally started this blog.  I was excited because I was finally trying out a new writing venue, but at the same time nervous about putting my writing on the internet.  I didn’t know whether to worry more about no one reading it, or lots of people reading it but not liking it, and then saying so.  I had seen links to blogs on Facebook with lots and lots of cruel comments, and I didn’t want to deal with that.

Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about either of those things.  Enough people read my posts to make me feel that it was worth writing them, and the worst thing that appeared in my comment section was some random spam.  Aside from struggling to figure out all the technological issues and getting over my distrust of all things cyberspace, I managed to launch my blog with no problems.  There was really only one issue that I struggled with a bit, and that was how to deal with friends who made it a point to tell me that they had no intention of reading my new blog.

I’m not going to lie, at first it hurt my feelings.  I thought starting a blog was a very big deal, and I had naively assumed that all of my good friends and close relatives would support me in this venture.  And most of them did, for which I will be forever grateful.  Still, several good friends congratulated me on my new blog, but followed that up by saying they didn’t have time to actually read it.  I smiled and told them that was fine, but that wasn’t true.  I was thinking, “Really?  I write a short post that takes at the most five minutes to read, twice a week, and you don’t have time?  You can’t spare ten minutes a week for something that is clearly so important to me?”

But eventually, I began to understand.  Sure, my blog is important to me, because I’m a writer and therefore, I take writing very seriously.  But the friends who were telling me this weren’t writers, and for the most part, they weren’t people who enjoyed reading a lot either.  To them, my blog was just something I did on the side, like gardening, and while they were pleased I had found a new hobby, they honestly had no idea that I was actually hoping they would read it.  They weren’t trying to hurt my feelings or dismiss my creativity, they were just looking at things from their own, unique point of view.  Which is, of course, what we all do.

I’m sure if I asked every single one of my friends to name a time when I didn’t offer support to them on an issue that they considered important, each of them could offer at least one example, and probably several.  The time I forgot to ask about the new grandson they were so proud of; the time I didn’t recognize a career crisis they were going through, or the time they found the courage to follow a dream and I simply told them, “that’s nice,” and then changed the subject.   Too often, we are so busy dealing with the chaos of our own lives that we don’t always keep up with, or even recognize, what is important to others, no matter how much we care.  It doesn’t mean we don’t want to “be there” for each other, it just means that we don’t always manage to do it.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that good friends aren’t the people who understand everything about us, or who always do what we want them to do, when we want them to do it.  They are just the people who love us, and who really are giving us their best, in their own unique way.  And that’s more than enough for me.

 

 

41 thoughts on “Good Enough

  1. Well stated! I have experienced the same disappointment of having some friends or relatives with no interest in reading my blog. It does hurt a bit but then there have been faithful fellow bloggers who have encouraged me. Let’s keep writing and blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it really is all about the writing. And those who enjoy what we write, read it, and that’s all that counts. It hurt at first, but then I realized that it made no sense to expect each and every one of my friends to understand how important my writing was to me… it’s not as if I always understand what’s important to each of my friends, no matter how much I care about them. So it’s all good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Ann! This is something I still struggle with. In general, I’ve found strangers are more supportive of my writing endeavors than friends and family are. It still stings but I eventually arrived at the same conclusion you did. They aren’t writers. Good luck to you! Keep on writing!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, they aren’t trying to be hurtful, they just don’t look at things from the “writer’s mindset.” And when you think about it, it’s really much more gratifying when total strangers read and appreciate our work, because we know they are truly enjoying it, and not just pretending to to spare our feelings!

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  3. You don’t blog, Coleman. You share your thoughts. Note a current interest. Put pen to paper, digits to keyboard, to parse the past and present, or scribble about something that has caught your attention. You could print it on a post card, or Magic-Marker one of those old fashion brown paper lunch bags, or cursive two, three, or even four bar napkins.

    The thing is Coleman, you’re a person who shares what they write. And you currently do so via the internet by way of your own website. Which doesn’t make you the now anachronistic “webmaster,” but neither does it make you a “blogger.”

    You’re a “writer” using a contemporary tool that allows others the opportunity to read you… if they choose to do so, and comment if so inclined.

    I understand the main thrust of your post, Coleman, and you made it well, but as “hobbies” go, come up and see my etchings , is a helluva lot more enticing than, I think I’ll start a “BLOG.”

    Regards,
    Doug

    Liked by 2 people

    • True, with me it’s all about the writing, and not so much about getting out there and drumming up the followers and likes. The positive feedback is certainly encouraging and gratifying, but for me, my blog is just the vehicle I use to write. Not sure if that counts as “blogging” or not, but hey, I write a blog, so I’m happy to claim either title!

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  4. Very thoughtful post, Ann. I’ve found what you described all very strange and random. There are people I know who I thought would be interested in reading my blog and they have no interest. Conversely, some people I know who I never thought would be interested are faithful readers. There is no rhyme or reason so I just laugh and keep writing..:)
    Nice job expressing what so many of
    us probably think and feel. ..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was a real surprise to see who did and didn’t read my blog! And while I was a little bit hurt by some of my friends who didn’t read it, until I figured out that it was a bit selfish of me to expect them to, since it wasn’t really something they were interested in. But I was happily surprised by how many people do read my blog. It is rather random, but the one thing I try to remember is that we all read what interests us, and I’m just glad that my writing does engage some people. It really is good enough for me. Thanks, George!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I share so many of your thoughts! But by stepping out here into the “blogosphere” and trusting my thoughts to this group, I have found a whole new avenue of acceptance. We support each other, which is wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hey Ann I felt exactly the same when I started my blog. I was nervous about putting myself out there. It was actually my 15 yo son who encouraged me because he knows how much writing means to me. Many of my friends don’t read my blog even though they know about it. Like you I was a bit disappointed at first but now I’m ok with it. This is my passion and I think only other bloggers really understand how special our community is.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought I was the only one that happened to. I’m lucky in having two faithful friends who make a point of reading and encouraging, and sometimes mentioning the content of a post. When we see each other, once a fortnight, it saves a lot of ‘catching up’ – sometimes they surprise me by already knowing stuff I’d forgotten I blogged about! Yet one of my sisters never reads it and the other, if she does, never mentions it. On the other hand, blogging has made me new friends all over the world – so, like you all, I Blog On.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never realized it happened to so many other people, either! I thought perhaps I was the only one who had close friends and relatives who didn’t care to read blogs, but clearly that’s part of the blogging experience. And I’ve learned not to be upset by my friends who don’t read my blog…they are still terrific friends, and I know full well I don’t meet all their expectations either. I bet is is harder to accept that with close family members though, as part of being a family entails regularly doing stuff we don’t especially want to do. I’m just lucky that my mother and sisters do read my blog (but on the other hand, there are certain subjects I don’t write about just because they do!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm… the ‘doing stuff we don’t especially want to do’ rule seems to apply to me in the sense of having to do a of things I don’t at all feel like doing, but not to me in any other sense. On the other hand, it means I can ‘mention them in despatches’ knowing they aren’t likely to be reading! Which is the point you were making at the end. Rosie

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  8. We gain two very important things from blogging: writing skill and a thick skin. I for one, would counsel beginning bloggers against asking friends and relatives to read their blog. Since we all get better in time, why not give yourself time to mature as a writer before you expose yourself to the people whose opinion carries such power?

    I have found that the best audience for the beginning writer is other writers who are just starting out. While they rarely give the best advice, they are the most encouraging and the blogsphere is full of very good, very generous writers who are more than willing to praise your achievements and forgive your mistakes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s good advice with any kind of writing! I think early blog posts are like first drafts of manuscripts: just the beginning of the idea we are trying to form, and not yet ready for criticism from those we care about. I have had more than one manuscript falter because I shared it too soon with someone whose opinion was important to me, and they pointed out all the flaws. Now I don’t share until my work is more fully formed so I’m not so easily swayed by someone else’s opinion of it. Thanks, as always, for you input…it’s always worth sharing!

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      • You are so right, criticism too early in the process can be destructive – especially to beginning writers. I hope new bloggers keep in mind that they will grow over time and leave themselves space to do that.

        The worst thing that can happen to anyone is to believe that they do not have “talent”. Sure, there are naturals who can do anything effortlessly. They are never us. We are always the people who work long and hard to appear effortless – but eventually, it all comes our way and we can take solace in the fact that we earned it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I had an English professor who always told us “Easy writing makes for very hard reading.” I agree that natural talent is over-rated and that anyone who wants to write, can write, as long as they are willing to work hard. And, when necessary, ignore the critics!

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Two more things for beginning bloggers to think about: patience and community. No matter how good of a writer you are, it takes a very long time to build an audience and a very short time for it to melt away. If no one is reading your blog that says very little about you or your writing.

    The best way to build an audience is to join the audience. Find the blogs you like, follow them faithfully, let them know you like their writing by clicking the ‘like’ button and dropping a comment.

    There are a lot of wonderful people on WordPress and to be noticed, you have to notice others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is such a good point! When I first started, I had no idea there was a blog community out there, and how important it was to engage in it. To be honest, the main reason I told my friends and family about my blog, hoping they would read it, was just to get some readers at all. It never occurred to me that bloggers supported each other, and that I needed to be a part of it. It was all part of the learning curve, like figuring out that I actually had to tag my posts, and even figuring out what a tag was! But for me the nicest part of the blogging community isn’t the readers I get for my own blog (although that is very nice), it’s discovering all the other well written blogs out there! I feel as if I have stumbled into a secret library full of wonderful books…some funny, some insightful, some affirming, some thought-provoking…and some of them are all of those things, rolled into one. I love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I get what you’re saying here. I felt that way too–not understanding friends not wanting to follow my blog, esp when many of my posts are short or photos–and knowing that folks spend HOURS on facebook which I find SO inane. But–to each their own. Interestingly though, I found another opposite issue: if someone I knew followed me and then for some reason I no longer wanted them to–it annoyed me when they continued to do it. Blogs are so personal and until recently, I didn’t know how to delete them. I somehow manged to do it on a few folks the other day, but I don’t know how to recreate it. It felt good !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is very true.
    I’ve learned since I began posting my writing on my personal Facebook page that the people we love and with whom we share our daily lives, are not necessarily the people who will take our writing seriously. Why? They know too much about us! Many of the stories we tell in our blogs, they’ve probably heard before perhaps from a different angle. And if they haven’t, they still aren’t as interested as a stranger who only has a glimpse of your life from time to time. For this reason alone I’ve stopped posting my work on my private Facebook and created a fresh account just for the blog.

    Also, though my family knows I have a blog, I’ve refrained from giving them the info that leads them to it, since I already know they won’t take my work seriously.

    In a way, I like that I haven’t given them the info better, than giving it to them and have them not read it anyway.

    I also feel a certain sense of freedom to write whatever I want without wondering if they’ll be upset that I wrote something about them (especially my mom – – we’ve had a tough relationship).

    I also believe strangers give more honest feedback. I could be wrong on this one but would I really accept the feedback from a family member? Perhaps from a couple of my cousins who’ve read my work on the past, but not really anyone else. So there, I guess family involvement goes both ways ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I know just how you feel, Ann. Every week I post my latest blog posting onto Facebook and except for a few occasions no one likes it or comments. Yet I could put up a single sentence unrelated to my blog and get tons of likes and comments. It’s okay. I’m grateful for those people who do read and love all of the good advice everyone wrote here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s odd how some of our friends don’t understand how important our writing is to us, isn’t it? But then I realized that they all have important stuff I don’t understand either. Still, it would be nice if they just hit the like button when you put it on your Facebook page!

    Like

  14. I’m coming back to blogging after having had a two year absence from it, but I’ve blogged on and off for years.(Very different content to my current blog.) You’re quite right in what you say in this post (well written post, I should add) but there are another couple of angles to it. One is that some of your off-blog friends might actually be reading or might start reading later. I discovered that a very old friend of mine had secretly read every single one of my posts but she didn’t tell me until much later! And a relative,also, suddenly told me she’d been reading my posts… it makes me think that there is a privacy or shyness issue involved, or that some people prefer to find their own way to a blog than be led to it. I did the same as you and told friends about most of my blogs – with the same response as you received,

    The other thing is that when online people have ways of communinicating that they prefer and they tend to stick to them in rather cliquey ways. Many will only communicate with each other on Facebook. Some prefer emails. Some prefer phoning. And some prefer blogs and their comments. A whole community tends to build up around a few blogs and their readers and that’s the source and end readership of most – not the people from outside it.

    By the way, sometimes real (odff-blog) friendships form from strangers meeting via each others blogs. It’s an interesting and worthwhile medium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point. I think some of my friends who told me they weren’t going to read my blog didn’t really understand what a blog was, or how much of a time commitment there was in reading it. And some friends who didn’t read it at first are reading it now. I don’t have a problem with that anymore, and I actually understand it once I turned it around and looked at it from their point of view. People do get in their routines, and the idea of adding something new to their “to do” list can be rather intimidating. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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