I confess, I’m too easily caught up with statistics. What’s more I’ve only recently come to fully appreciate their subjectivity to sometimes obscure factors, and that they are not always entirely accurate. Today, for example I discovered some fine print stating that my statistics source has an average eight percent variable. Does anyone else get the humor?
On to my point. I began my blog mainly to wade farther out into the publishing waters, hoping to develop a reader base, exposure, maybe attract an agent, etc. You get it. I quickly came to appreciate the additional benefits that come with blogging; accountability, increased sensitivity and attention to details. But who am I kidding? The bottom line is exposure.
I officially launched What’s Next (Doing the Next Best Thing) on 11 September 2014. Almost immediately my life’s course took some more overwhelming, unexpected turns. After some months I posted an official “pause” to the blog. I continued extensive, organized journaling but stepped away from writing for publication for that season.
After considerable research I restarted my blog, changing the name to What’s Next in September 2015. Soon I stumbled upon WordPress Blogging U and the WordPress Reader.
From there, wooed by my gradually increasing (and decreasing) number of followers and blogger awards, I posted everything I imagined, again I admit, mostly to inflate my numbers. The adventure continued into more directions than I want to admit to this forum. I was dramatically caught up with my blog statistics.
I had generated new outlines, chapters and a couple of manuscripts for what certainly could have landed on the desk of Spielberg, Coppola, Cassavetes or Jeremy Leven. And then I woke up. In truth, even I lost interest reading them. In in the new-found fun and fellowship of blogging I’d lost sight of my objective and my focus.
Years ago, after filing several rejected manuscripts I learned the painful lesson about ignoring the distractions and simply write my stories. I can only imagine how the world turns for other writers, but in my world those distractions often came disguised as the care and feeding of my family. Juggling work with providing food, clothing, health care and the most accommodating shelter possible for us all became simpler as the boys moved on and out. Through the changes and heartaches I did my best to keep my eye on my goal.
So I’ve proven that statistics are good as a road map as long as they don’t become the focal point. There remains a distinctive balance between making a living and living one’s life. Some days my platform feels a little more slippery than others, but I haven’t fallen off the scale entirely – this week. From my perspective and experience I can only imagine a writer’s life depicted by Richard Castle, Jessica Fletcher and Jamal Wallace. I’m more like William Forrester. All. Fictional. Characters.
While I’ve never gone to war or lived outside the continental U.S. I relate to Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Jane Austen; living and writing about life as they knew it.
But imagine if they had blogged…
“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” John 7:37,38 (NLT)
Castle, 2009 – present; Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle
Murder, She Wrote, 1984 – 1996; Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher
Finding Forrester, 2000; Rob Brown as Jamal Wallace and Sean Connery as William Forrester