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Gumballs

What will people read? What should I write about that an agent will pick up, a publisher will sell and that will make the best seller list or the top Kindle download? Is it the fictional memoir or a YA novel about vampire zombies that use technology, do magic and have talking pets. And how do I turn my blog into a platform? For all who know me and have read Realisa, you should be laughing. Have I ever fit in anywhere?

JMTohline, the author of The Great Lenore, recently blogged about what he has learned about blogging. [He has a self-imposed weekly topic….I think to encourage himself to post on his own blog.] He follows other blogs and seems a bit self critical that he has not acquired the kind of posse other blogger/writers have amassed. And if he were to ask me what I learned about blogging, I would say…..it depends on WHY you are blogging.

I don’t have one of those Blogger “Follow Me” tabs so I have no real clue as to how many people regularly read my blog.  I wonder if I am just wandering and babbling to myself, like that disheveled man who wanders over near the donut shoppe deep in a conversation with his schizophrenic friends. My lamentation arises on those days I think I have written something particularly poignant and I want to know if anyone else felt the same way. My angst rises when I need a pat on the head or a gold star. On those existential days, I doubt I matter at all because what I write (and have written) doesn’t seem to matter.

And THAT is what I have learned about blogging.

I have been blogging for five years. Yikes! Even I rarely go back and read my archives. I have even thought about making them all “disdapear”…revamping and remodeling. But that betrays the whole purpose and intent of Realisa. This space was and is my refuge. It was an intellectual, emotional, spiritual doodle pad. It was (and is) my cognitive modifier. How do I find the silver lining? Where do I stand to see “THIS” in the best possible light. When the lighting is awful, what else ‘good’ can be said. And because that is the purpose of Realisa….the audience I want following it is ME. This is where I found my voice.

I am a peculiar bird, unusual and….well, just slightly bent. My perspective, my sense of humor, my fast-paced processing, my snarkiness and my (at times) scathing sarcasm can breed pessimism and criticism. And if you think you are a writer….but spent the first twenty years of your adult life being a doctor and mother….trying to write can be a bullhorn of self-criticism. “You want to do what?” “You should just focus on your real job and your real responsibilities!”

Lisa is my number one responsibility. I am my REAL responsibility. And this blog is a kiddie pool. I put on my water wings and waded in…and taught myself to speak (type) aloud the stuff that rattles around in my head. My hopes, my dreams, my optimism, my enthusiasm…..all those tender shoots and gossamer wings that my crushing pessimistic guard dog eviscerated.

And if someone is reading my blog and comments…I am thrilled. But…..what I learned about blogging is that I don’t sit down here at the keyboard and write so YOU can hear me. Writing……or any endeavor…..used intentionally as a wedge or lever is an empty endeavor. No one pours their heart and passion into the tool they are using to achieve their dream. And if your dream is to move masses, touch a million hearts, sell a million books….then the book-blog-movie-painting will likely feel hollow. But if your passion is to be happier, brighter more engaged in life, a blog that hones your focused awareness of living will reflect that. A cast of characters whose story captivates and enthralls is a worthy and noble effort. The passion is in the ACT and if there is a message to be revealed, it cannot be prefabricated. Art is not a fortune cookie or a king cake. You don’t bake the cake around the trinket you wish to deliver. You let each person consume what you offer and take away what THEY see, THEY hear, THEY experience. Once you let art free upon the wind….it is for each person a new and different experience. And the author no longer has control.

If asked my advice, I’d tell JMTohline to write on his blog when he feels inspired,or when he has something to say. Don’t write if you are simply trying to figure out what to write based on what people want to read. In my opinion, people don’t know what they want to read. We stumble upon crap in the blogosphere and tag along for a while, amused, provoked, inspired, enraptured and entertained. But, then we click on something else.

My bare knuckle suggestions might be…that if you want followers….post SOMETHING regularly. A photo. A quote. A snippet. An outrage. A title of what you are reading or listening. Something. Because we as a culture are a fickle bunch and we want our gumballs. If I put in my penny and twist the handle and there is no gumball behind the metal flap, then I am annoyed. Click onto a blog for days in a row and find no new posts….I take my pennies somewhere else. If you want traffic, you have to be PRESENT. They are coming to your blog to see YOU. What are YOU up to? What is new in your head, your world? What new ideas have you jazzed? So….just be yourself and share a bit. And if you build it….they will come.

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