|Image Credit: Stock Photo by Karen Humpage|
In December of 2010, Faith in Ambiguity was born. I invested no time in site design or graphics and haven't since. I just set up a Blogger account one afternoon and wrote a silly post about winter squash. I posted erratically, often going months between posts, and put everything on Facebook. Family and some of my friends were my only audience, but they seemed to like my writing and soon a few people would come up to me in the supermarket or at church to tell me that they enjoyed my blog. The next fall, I had put up only 30 posts or so since I'd begun, but I was ready to have people really read me.
I geared up to run a marathon. I participated in Reverb Broads. I signed up for NaBloPoMo. I joined GBE2. I learned a bunch of how-tos about blogging and tried to carry them out, one by one. I participated in Leap Blog Day and accidentally met a kindred spirit and writer with whom I have a vibrant email friendship. I went to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. I was ready to play big, to get my blog noticed. I joined Linked In. I created an editorial calendar. I revamped my blogroll. I got up to spending twenty hours a week on my blogging activities. I started to see some results, as the occasional post got picked up on message boards and page views spiked.
And then the weather got warm and people, apparently, stopped reading blogs. Someone accused me of racism in the comments on an old blog post. I posted an interesting question on a message board and nobody understood it. Lately I sometimes find myself having spent three hours researching and writing a post and getting 20 page views. BlogHer fixed "reads" counter so that it reflected actual reads, proving that it is really not worth my cross-posting to BlogHer. My stats graph lowered its standards. And then lowered them again.
A couple of readers have told me that they hope that someday I will publish something. Nellie of Buttons are Not Currency even said "I always look forward to your posts, but I also find myself a little disappointed when I see that you have something new for me to read. It only means you are not working on something that would certainly get you published."
So, I am changing priorities a bit around here. I love Faith in Ambiguity. I love my community. I love the Ask Team Ambiguity posts and I still hope they, and things like them, catch on like wildfire. I look forward every week to posting for GBE2. There is much that I have to say that lends itself well to blogging. But I am, perhaps, too obsessed with some sort of fictional "making it" in the blogging world, the bar for which will simply get higher and higher with time and success. There is a sensation of immediacy to blogging, with its comments, page views, and retweets. But this can also be a pitfall when you feel compelled to put something up, and when the constant production of blog content interferes with writing anything else.
So, I have this book that wants writing. It is a cross between a book of memoir pieces and a book of personal essays. The essays and memoirs are intended to be like conjoined twins. And I have two hours of writing time scheduled each morning. It takes a surprising kind of discipline to make myself give up some of the instant feedback of blogging, to use Word rather than Blogger, to see through a much longer project. And without Faith in Ambiguity, I wouldn't have the body of work and the audience feedback to see that I should even bother.
I started by trying to respond to a prompt about "Self." And, somehow, weirdly this fits, although it's not at all what Beth had in mind, I'm sure. It's not my best writing. It's full of clichés and something that smacks vaguely of self-pity. It sounds like the Academy Award acceptance speech given by Moaning Myrtle, who didn't even win. And yet, this is where I find myself. And because you're all apparently at the beach, I think it's probably OK.
I see myself along some sort graphic continuum of evolution as a writer, beginning with a knuckle dragging scribbler of histrionic adolescent poetry who regards the deletion of a single word as an insult to her character, progressing to the producer of prose choked with adjectives, unable to breathe. At some point, I became a blogger–one part used car salesman, one part Jerry Springer guest, one part writer. Now, perhaps I will reach the next stage of evolution: person who spends copious hours producing content that, as of yet, nobody reads. This will be followed by more used car salesmanship as I whore my book around town. And yet it feels like a departure. Next, when I am actually published and reviewed, I will grow enormous feathered wings and be shot down by the army.
Somehow this has turned into the take-off on a scene from X-Men. We will see if anyone notices. Or sends a beach ball bouncing into my comments section in reply.