What Happens When a LOT of People Read Your Blog

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Photo By vic.bergmann @ Flickr

Okay, so…if you didn’t catch all the hubbub, last week I found myself and this little piece on Freshly Pressed. They say that it’s “the best of 382,958 bloggers [&] 1,052,405 new posts.” And a LOT of people subscribe to, and read Freshly Pressed.

It’s kinda like getting high fived in the face by two thousand strangers, with a hammer.

I mean, it’s good, right? Like, high fiving is a feel-good activity, but this—this is INTENSE. I mean—whoa.

There’s me…lookin’ all normal like it’s NBD.

So, when I came back to my trusty little computer after a morning at the zoo with the kid (who told me that the bonobo had a “crazy butt.” She’s two. She’s not wrong.) and discovered a billion WordPress notifications, I knew something was up. So I checked my Freshly Pressed feed, and there I was. Me. Lookin’ all normal like I belonged there. At which point, I was entering Crazytown. Population: me and, like, 2200 other people.

Of course I didn’t hyperventilate a little. Come now; I’m an adult. And of course I didn’t start criticizing myself, wishing I had updated this, and spruced up that, and thinking about how surely someone would get upset at my fledgling feminism and wag their finger at me, and how I’d have to apologize for…I dunno…something… *pant, pant, pant*

And this got me thinking about Brené Brown again, probably because I love her so much and want to hug her (which is inappropriate from strangers, ya’ll. Somebody help me.). It got me thinking about vulnerability, and how writing is inherently vulnerable and how I feel like I’m exposing myself in the desert, just waiting for the sun and wind and sand to shave my skin off. It’s mildly terrifying.

Being creative in any form is hard. I have seen more than one person a little off his rocker after years of the ups and downs of art. They say that you are your own worst critic and I, frankly, am a damn good critic. “Slice to the bone!” I say as I wield my red pen of judgement. “Let no sentence go unscathed!”

It reminds me of a scene in The Anniversary Party (has anyone seen it? I kinda liked it. Until it turned into a drug-fueled sex party, that is. Some good moments nonetheless). I love this:

Sophia Gold: Sally! His image of you is a possessive, fragile neurotic!
Sally Nash: But I *am* a possessive, fragile neurotic!
Sophia Gold: No you are not! You are Sally Nash!

But this is what Brené keeps telling me: vulnerability is GOOD. It’s what allows us to connect to one another. And connecting to one another is what makes us feel human; it’s what makes us feel alive. And—boy—that’s basically what I want. I want to feel human. I want to feel alive. I want to feel connected and less alone. And the more I reveal of myself and live that out truly, the more connected I become with people. Hot dang.

Writing here is fostering relationships with real life people that I’ve known for a long time—just because they get to hear the intimate details of my mind and heart in a way that might not come up in casual conversation. It’s also connecting me with new people—a new tribe of writers that make me feel like I belong somewhere. Like my friend Jerrod, whom I’ve never met in person, but was the first person who made me feel like I might actually be okay at blogging.

It’s good. It’s terrifying and nerve-wracking and it has the power to make me feel elated one day and dejected the next, but overall—it’s good. Thank you internet.

So on days when I get to see SO MANY people like and respond to my work—to my vulnerability—I have to just take in the good and be thankful for the experience of connection. I have to look myself straight in the eye and say, “You are Sally Nash!” (It’s okay that my name is Melanie. It works just the same).  I need to bottle up this feeling and hold on to it for when the dark cloud of self-doubt comes again (which is due in like, what? 10 minutes? 2 hours? Something like that.)

Life—sometimes that shit’s magical.

So, I want to thank all of you that have been reading, subscribing, like-ing, commenting, and engaging in general badassery. You all are THE. BEST. Go get yourselves some beers, you little rascals.

Love,

-M

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18 Comments

  1. I feel so lucky I found you, through the Hope Blog Relay, from a friend of a friend. Your posts are what I hope to find on the internet. it’s the inner peace and connection I feel when I find someone who mulls the same things over that I do.

    I feel lucky.

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    • Wow. What a lovely compliment. I think that’s the reaction that every writer hopes for when they sit down to mine their thoughts for public display. So, yeah…thank you. A lot.

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  2. I was Freshly Pressed two weeks ago and I’m still reeling!

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  3. Thanks I really enjoyed that as a relatively new blogger its interesting for me to see tha people like yourself have the same mini heartattacks that I do, just on a much greater scale. I really enjoy your blog n keep up the amazing work

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  4. Spark N Launch

     /  July 25, 2012

    Congrats! Jealous!

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  5. Melanie, I must say that you are pretty dang awesome. Enough said.

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  6. First of all, I went back and read the post–congrats! I have no idea how Fresh Pressing happens, but I know I’ve never been “pressed.” (That sounds weird, like I’m a panini or something.)

    Anyway, I’ve never been FP but I did have a guest post on a very big blog a few months ago, meaning TONS of people read it (and several people totally disagreed with my post–hysteria ensued.) While I always want people to read my stuff, I realized I really like the small-ish community I’ve created and that sometimes being a small blogging peon isn’t that bad. I would like to be more “popular,” whatever that means, but it also does come with a price. Also, Jerrod is awesome. The end.

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  7. Awww, look at you.

    It’s these moments when you are grateful for connections and the freedom to write for anyone that wants to read.

    And I think any two year old that says “crazy butt” pretty much wins at life.

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  8. Congrats and enjoy it – it’s well-deserved!

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  9. I also loved your post on feminism I think it beautifully illustrated the dilemma that all women face. Feminism is almost an ugly word these days… but it shouldn’t be.

    Thanks for your comment over at Abandoning Pretense, btw. Totally made me tear up, I mean, made me get a speck of dirt in my eye.

    xo

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    • You’re welcome. Loved that freaking post. I may have teared up, too. Probably because of all my lady parts. (Those dumb women…always crying or nagging.)

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  10. Melissa Tucker

     /  July 25, 2012

    So, I can’t stand beer, but I’ll raise my glass of vanilla soy milk to you, my brave, open-hearted friend! You MUST keep writing. It makes me feel saner and accompanied along the way. It teaches, pushes, and delights me. And, as it turns out, tons of others, too. Xoxo

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  11. Well, it was a great post, so congrats! I think we’re always most critical of ourselves, but good point, vulnerability is a good thing.

    “Life—sometimes that shit’s magical.” <– Funny and true. ;)

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  12. That was my FP experience, too. Holy crap! People are actually READING this? Did I forget to put away my dirty clothes in the corner? By the way, I know I already commented on the famous post, but it was great. Thanks for bringing women’s rights into the spotlight.

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    • Ha. I assume that’s what it’s like for most people. That is, except for the people whose feelings are shaped like nails and broken glass. They kinda don’t care. Thanks so much!

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