My very first Mr. Wrong told me, “Susie, what you need is a purpose.” That was in ninth grade. George, now a retired psychiatrist, was right. The benefits of having a purpose were never more obvious than after I launched my blog.
The irony of blogging about being a worrywart, is that it keeps my mind so occupied with what I plan to write that little room remains for maladaptive thoughts.
And blogging has made me aware of so many things I hadn’t previously thought about . . .
* When I saw my niece the morning of my mom’s funeral, we hugged and I said, “I miss you so much!” She replied, “I don’t miss you; I read your blog.”
* My friend Sue, author of the thoughtful interfaith blog On Being Both, told me correctly you’ll spend 1/3 of your time writing, 1/3 of your time posting and 1/3 of your time getting the word out via social networks.
I spend another 1/3 of my time checking my stats: How many visitors to my blog? Did they like me enough to stay for a couple of minutes? Did they come from Twitter or Facebook or Sarahneedsajob.com?
I’ve learned that obsessively checking my stats soothes the same pleasure center of the brain as, say, an addictive numbers game . . . and worry.
* I have learned to let go of the last 15% of time it would to make things “perfect,” otherwise I would never have time to post anything. I learned this 15% rule when my then-husband ran for U.S. Congress.
* One thing leads to another. I launched my blog in June 2010. In July 2010, a friend who liked my blog introduced me to Huffington Post where I published my first Huff Po piece, Travel Tips From a Worrywart.
* If you can write, you can write about almost anything, as in Composting It’s Easier Than You Think, The Avocado!, as well as people’s personal stories, like Death of a Husband, One Woman’s Story series.
* Some of the thousands of thoughts that go through a person’s mind each day make great opening lines. You just try to be good at catching them.
* Blogging is less lonely than writing for print. Readers comment and I comment back. On twitter, my tweeps retweet or send me messages. For non-virtual human contact, I figure I can always go to the dry cleaner.
* I posted a piece that that offended a friend whose cousin had commited suicide; in the post, Worry Orgasm, I failed to show empathy when someone delayed my train by throwing himself in front of it. An editor might have pointed that out and urged greater sensitivity.
Instead, I made amends in my next post, “Worry Orgasm” Regrets. It was so raw, so non-virtual, this personal experience with my best friend playing out on my blog.
* I don’t know what I would do without my brilliant writing group. In addition to their encouragement (Diane regularly envisions a movie coming out of my blog stories, with Susan Sarandon in the role of me!), they help me write by consensus. If 4 out of 7 don’t like something, I cut it.
* Oy, the things people search for! I am able to see what searches have lead visitors to my blog. Yesterday one search term was “porn yoga” and, today, “I’m worried I have warts.” The interest I have in reading these search terms make me wonder, Am I a Voyeur?
* Because I tweet links to my blog posts, old friends have turned up, like an author whom I French kissed, when I was in 9th grade and he was in 7th.
I look forward to another year of blogging and send gratitude to my readers who make it so damn much fun! XO
I’m told I need to post at least 3 times a week or readers won’t return. I simply don’t have the time to do that. I’d love your comments on this and anything else.
LOTS ABOUT THERAPY, MARRIAGE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MORE IN MY NEW MEMOIR . . .
Perfect for worrywarts or anyone who enjoys a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant,” deeply personal story.
Check out my recent Home Goes Strong posts: