The note came from another dad blogger who asked me if I could share some tips and secrets about how to be successful in blogging.
I asked him to figure out what he defines as being successful and if was prepared to put some time into working on his craft.
“I’d like to get into product reviews and be able to use my skills as a blogger to take my family places. If I got a free vacation or two each year that would probably be cool but I am not sure how to do that or if it is possible any more.”
“If you can prove that you are reaching the right demographic and that you have influence you probably can make things happen. But that requires showing engagement and access to eyeballs.”
We went back and forth a few more times and then he asked me if I would share my personal media kit and information about my readers.
“There is not much to share. Don’t get many comments at all any more and the engagement is pretty limited.”
“So how do you keep writing if no one responds?”
“Hell, I generally write for myself but there are times posts are directed towards someone. Some people see silence as being ignored and others call it agreement and consent. I just keep going but there is always that idea of a place where you say maybe it is time for a fresh answer.”
Conversations about writing interest me, especially from writers whose work I appreciate.
Sometimes those conversations aren’t what you would define a conversation as because there is no back and forth, comments followed by a response followed by another comment.
Every time I read Stephen King’s book on writing I get engaged in one of those conversations even though it is more of a one sided dialogue.
He writes something that makes me nod my head and respond. Periodically I think about writing a letter or trying to catch him on Twitter to see if I can turn the one sided engagement into a real conversation.
Hasn’t happened yet but I won’t say it never will because life is filled with magical moments and I have been known to figure out how to call down the lightning.
This writing gig isn’t easy, it is much harder than most realize.
Some days the words flow freely and you know you have captured a moment and are putting out something special.
It is like catching a wave and fighting to ride it for as long and as far as you can. You know it won’t last but for a moment you are a king.
Those days are what help you keep going.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”― Stephen King
Live With The Silence
“What happens if your push for a fresh answer doesn’t work. What happens if you write and no one ever responds?”
I almost told him that ranked among the top 15 questions I have been asked that would have been better answered in person but that would have led us astray and taken far too long to answer.
“Sometimes you have to live with the silence. There are readers who never comment, email or acknowledge your existence but you see them in your stats daily.
Presumably they enjoy your work or they wouldn’t keep coming back. Write to them.”
Got an 11 year-old dog sitting to my right while I tap upon the keys.
You wouldn’t know the vet pulled $400 bucks out of my wallet to say he is getting older and that sometimes his back might hurt him.
“Try to limit how often he jumps and if he hurts himself give him one of these pain pills.”
I have had the conversation with the dog a few times and he listens as well as the rest of the family. We do as we do and that is just how it goes.
“Listen you mutt, I need you to figure out a way to do some chores around here to cover the cash you cost me.”
He wags his tail and licks my hand which isn’t a terrible response. Doesn’t argue with me and listens to my stories so I suppose there is value in that.
“You know you don’t have permission to get old…not yet. I expect you to be around for a bit. There are things that have to get done and you’re presence will be needed.”
More tail wagging followed by a head nod and I laugh. He coaxes me out of my seat so that I can get him a treat.
I let him outside and I watch him go from zero to sixty in pursuit of a rabbit. He doesn’t catch but he comes close.
When he returns to the house he tries to convince me to give him another treat but I shake my head.
More tail wagging and another hand lick are gifted in return in spite of my refusal.
He watches me do some push ups and stares while I get on the treadmill.
“Use it or lose it right?”
That gets another tail wag and I thank him for the attention.
“Might not be who we once were, but we’re still as good once as we once were. Give me a woof if you agree.”
He complies with a half bark and I tell him if can figure out how to speak English I’ll give him another treat but there is only silence in response.
“Ok mutt, maybe it is time for a fresh answer.”