A Return

I read a strikingly good post the other day about the return to authentic blogging and one woman’s struggles as she sailed the turbulent waters of writing and blogging because she had to in order to keep her readers and sponsors happy and coming back for more.

I’m not naming her because she wrote it semi-anonymously, but I think that anyone who has been blogging for any length of time and has earned any type of income will empathize with the feelings of burnout.

Bûrn·out: a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest.

It really resonated with me on so many levels. This summer marks 4 years of blogging for me. In that 4 years, I’ve had highs and lows — I’ve been in the top 25 and in the bottom 25. I’ve had tens of visitors a day and thousands of visitors a day. I’ve had ad networks featured on my blog and I’ve removed ad networks on my blog.

Through it all, I’ve struggled to maintain integrity and stay true to who I really am, instead of who I want people to think I am. As the numbers climbed and the ad networks paid more and more, my stress inched its way up the scale a bit. Anyone that knows me would laugh at the thought of me worrying about numbers. I couldn’t pass a statistics class if my life depended on it, but I became obsessed with numbers and metrics and optimization and socialization and and and…the list goes on. The need for perfection grew (out of my own silly insecurities) and I often felt that I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t getting noticed like some of the “other” bloggers were.

For someone who is as competitive as me, that’s quite a tough pill to swallow. I was never a stellar athlete in high school, but I had some game in me. All that changed after one little innocent comment left on my blog by Sophie. I was discussing the pros and cons of watching your metrics and the little counters in the sidebars and she simply said, “Oh, I never watch any of that stuff…in fact, I don’t even have it on my blog – it would drive me nuts.” {insert screeching tire sounds here} What? The Boo doesn’t watch her metrics? How can that BE? So I began to think about it…and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of not looking at those things. So I took them off.

The pressure to post daily was gone almost immediately. I began posting three or four times a week and then tapered off to twice a week, then eventually whenever I felt like it. When the ad network began sending me emails asking me to post, instead of succumbing to the peer pressure, I removed the ad network. Then life took over and I all but quit blogging through some personal issues (which I’ll blog about eventually – when I’m ready to share). And here I am, one full year later, a recovering statistics addict. With no blog income a page rank of ZERO and no readers.

The bright side? I can write whatever I feel like writing about and say whatever I feel like saying whenever I feel like it. I have no rules to follow, no disclosures (for the most part) to worry over and I can finally be ME again. Plus, I now have a thriving little design business and am tickled pink whenever I think about the prospect of blogging again.

How I’ve missed you, little blog of mine. You may be small, but you’re mine. And I shall take you home with me and hug you and squeeze you and call you George. Because no one loves you as much as I do, which is why I’ve returned home. Home is where the heart is.

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Lost: Blogging Mojo

Last seen: August of 2009 (or thereabouts)

Reward: $1,000,000

Oh, I kid about the reward…I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll get to the Blissdom conference next month in Nashville. It’s only a 5 hour drive – I have a bloggy friend (a fellow homeschooler and blogger) who has offered me a ride with her (shared the fuel expense – can we get an amen on that!?!), but I have yet to figure out the conference fee ($299) or the hotel room ($125 a night for 2 or 3 nights). Oh, and I haven’t asked my husband yet about going – that’s sort of the clincher.

He doesn’t read my blog anymore (especially since I never post..ahem), but I sort of lost my blogging mojo there for a while because of the financial difficulties we were going through (who wants to hear about those, really?) – I was down in the dumps and really just unable to find anything amusing or uplifting to write about. Plus, I didn’t feel that I had liberty to talk about our personal goings on without making him feel badly or that I thought it was his fault (which it wasn’t).

My blog took the back seat as I really needed to work to earn some extra money to keep us afloat. God has been so good to us and my little business. I have fabulous clients and have not had a shortage of people interested in my services, ties were recently severed with the company I was doing subcontractor work for (and though I can’t design any Christian author blogs or websites until June, it’s a BIG relief), and I recently redesigned my website.

Here’s the problem…once you LOSE your blogging mojo, how do you get it BACK? I have thought so many times about writing a post about the effects of the surgery I had a few months ago (see – you didn’t even know about that, did you!?), my experiences while shopping for a wig, and the feelings I have about losing my hair…but I just haven’t done it.

I think reconnecting a bit with some of my blogging peeps (church member reading this: that means “people”) might be just what Dr. Mojo ordered. Now, I just need to get out and earn my keep so I can pay for this thing.

I created this photo yesterday in Photoshop as part of an exercise in the Smashing Magazine’s Design Something Everyday — it is a good representation of how I’ve felt lately…distracted. I dare not join in on any blog every day exercises. 🙂

Hoping I’ll find that mojo cocktail soon – I’ve really missed connecting with all of you. And I haven’t had a comment on my site in months. That’s something I SO miss.

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A lesson on Socialism

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism would work and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard and wanted an A were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied less.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could it be any simpler than that?

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I Love You Just the Way You Are

Harry Connick, Jr. has been my absolute favorite crooner since college days and I was thrilled to have a chance to review his newest CD “Your Songs“.

Let me preface this by saying I typically do not listen to what I’d refer to as “secular” music, but as I mentioned, I do have a love for Harry and his style of music, so this was an opportunity I wasn’t ready to pass up.

Harry’s voice is as smooth as ever, and the selection of songs he’s added to this album are simply fantastic — the classics we all know and love, backed by a full jazz band and orchestra.

Check out the track list (Originally performed by):

All The Way (Frank Sinatra)
Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel)
Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)
And I Love Her (The Beatles)
(They Long To Be) Close To You (The Carpenters)
Besame Mucho
The Way You Look Tonight
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack)
Your Song (Elton John)
Some Enchanted Evening
And I Love You So (Don McLean)
Who Can I Turn To? (Tony Bennett)
Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)

Now…would I buy this album? A definitive and resounding “yes”. Should you buy it? Only if you have a deep and abiding love for great jazz music that would be a perfect accompaniment to any holiday party this season (and if you don’t have it – please for the love of all things Christmas – buy his Christmas album!).

Want to know more about Harry? Check out his website and facebook fan pages! Want to see the making of the video and some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage? Check out the video.

[Disclosure: Product provided for review.]

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And they all lived happily ever after…

I don’t think I shared this (since I haven’t been blogging very regularly), but for Father’s Day (waaaay back in June) we got my husband a dog.

Not just any dog.

A beagle.

Have you ever seen the movie “Underdog”? Well, in the movie, underdog is a beagle. Yep. We got Underdog. A bumbling, mess-making catastrophe of a dog who means well, but is just one sandwich shy of a picnic.

We have tried for three months to housebreak this dog (well, technically, since she was born May 10th, she’s still a puppy) with no luck. We’d let her outside to play and she’d have a ball, then run to the door begging to come inside, only to find a good clean spot to squat and pee on my carpet. Every. Time.

So since I was tired of cleaning pee and poop stains, we made ready her new home outside in our fenced in yard. I worried about her because she was only three months old and I wouldn’t put a defenseless child in the yard at three months old, but hubs assured me she could take it. She is, after all, a D-O-G. (Just don’t tell her that).

I was really concerned I’d have to buy a carpet tile to lay outside for her to poop and pee on, since she obviously prefers carpet to grass. However, I am happy to report that she has had absolutely NO trouble adjusting. My training skills are obviously lacking in the potty-training capacity.

Oh, we did have some incessant bawling and squawling cries of “you don’t love me anymore!” and “why’d you put me in this hot, dark place without any human contact?” in the beginning (usually at night when our neighbors were trying to sleep), but I’m happy to report she’s now doing just fine.

And I haven’t stepped on one wet spot since we put her out. There really IS a “happily ever after” after all.

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