Sunday, January 24, 2016

The 12 Best Ways to Get People to Read Your Blog

Here it is! You're welcome! The best ways to get people to read your blog! Ready? Cause this may be your ticket to success & glory.

  1. Title your Post "The 12 Best ways to get People to Read your Blog.
  2. Put your Post in the form of a list, but keep it to a palatable number of options. Most people will only read up until 15, though they prefer 10 and under.
  3. Put a swear word in the title. "Fuck" is your best bet, especially if you're a woman since it still seems charmingly shocking for a woman to use the word.
  4. Claim to have "The Best Ways to...." something, because we all want shortcuts and guarantees.
  5. Mention wine, cheese and chocolate as viable coping techniques.
  6. If you're a man talk about your adorable incompetence with your children, which isn't really incompetence since it still seems charmingly shocking for a man to take care of his children.
  7. Get on the Huffington Post. And if you figure out how, let me know.
  8. Use a charming stick figure pictorial, because it takes less time to read, and who really has time to read. (Plus there is the potential for t-shirts)
  9. Be genuinely talented and original. And if you figure out how, let me know.
  10. Spend 95% of your time promoting your blog, by reading and commenting on other people's sites, posting and reposting on any and all social media, trying to get published on other sites, promoting your submissions on other people's sites, finding free and cheap ways to advertise your blog; and spend the other 5% of your time writing.
  11. Be lucky.
I've never been good at the business side of being creative. I've always accredited it to the firm belief that I am lazy. And while that is still a viable contender, after many years I realize it stems more from the firm belief that I do not believe in myself. I lack the conviction of my confidence. Ironically, though I still hang on to enough confidence to continue pursuing creativity as a profession. There is a part of me that knows I am good but does not believe I am good.

I blame my family. That's convenient and also ragingly adolescent. Let me explain. I come from a large family with a huge range in ages. We rarely occupy the same space for much longer than it takes to talk about the traffic or which route we took from the airport; holidays or weddings for a couple of days at a time. Our parents, to their credit, raised us to be independent; mostly by example as they were both competent and independent to a fault. So, these intermittent gatherings never lasted long because people had to get back to their jobs and lives in San Francisco and Michigan and Chicago and Iowa and Boston and everywhere else. But whenever we parted whether in person or at the end of a phone call, we would always exchange I love you's. And we meant it. But, my theory is that it all happened so fast and so routinely that I found myself somewhere in my thirties realizing that I knew I was loved, but I never felt loved. That, of course is not their fault, so let me amend my thesis statement, I blame myself.

So, my armchair therapeutic conclusion is that if I never felt fully loved, how on earth would I believe that anything I created was fully worthy? And there lies the self-sabatoge. To feel fully loved, I would have to make myself fully vulnerable, I would have to take a closer look at all the not-so-glib and not-so-pretty nooks and crannies of me and wonder if after the fantastic voyage I would emerge and still like myself. Or, more dangerously, let other people like me and be ok with it.

 I guess it is now time to loop this back around to my professional stasis. I know I am good, or that  I can be good enough. I fear I am no more than that, and so I rely on good enough. I need to climb into my submarine and take a fantastic voyage and search all the nooks and crannies and not so pretty parts that lie in the pool of potential, and not fear what I emerge with. It might be new and undiscovered and great, or it might be that the waters did not run deep, and good is good.

After I convince myself, perhaps it will be easier for me to convince others with the conviction of the new found confidence that "warts and all" is not just a punch line, it is a gateway to rediscovering the root of why creativity is vital. It is a true examination of how we are human, how we connect and stand apart and how our warts are worthy. And now we have reached reason #12

       12. Go all in. And know that fucking chocolate, cheese and wine is the best list to get you through anything.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What If I Fucked It All Up?

It is quite possible that I have fucked it all up.

Parenting, marriage, career; there’s pretty strong odds that all I’ve touched has gone horribly awry. I know you think I’m overreacting, or this theory is a ploy to get you to continue to read because I have a poignant and resonant message as a return on your investment. 

Nope. No Ploy. Not yet. As a matter of fact, here is some data:

·       I am unhappy in my job
·       My marriage is surviving but not thriving
·       My sons are not taking Honors classes
·       One of them has smoked pot
·       We just found two ticks on my dog
·       My house is a mess
·       We are in uncomfortable debt
·       I have achieved very few of my childhood dreams
·       My second manicure that I have ever received started chipping on the second day

These facts are hard to argue with. I’m pretty sure a jury of my peers would judge me for fucking it all up and then gossip about my failures to make themselves feel better on the way to their clean cars that have no stray french fries under the mats.

It feels like an indelible-Sharpie-esque mark of conclusion from which there is no reform. And the sheer volume of my failures (the above list is but a short list summary) is as paralyzing, pervasive and persistent as poison ivy. I just keep scratching in search of immediate relief, which is quickly replaced by a deeper more complex understanding of the web of my fuck ups. So, I stop all together and wallow in an oozy puss-filled mass of resignation and pity.

I do not deserve pity or reassurance at this time. I would, however, welcome any and all disgust and disdain. Admitting I fucked it all up is not brave or edgy or revolutionary. It does, however, imply two truths.

1. Accepting failure can be a convenient cop-out
2. I think I have actual control over the universe

The indelible seeming permanence of failure and its siren song of “Just Give Up,” is such a tempting dish of denial. It is so easy to give up; to leave that job instead of doing it better, to shove the mess in the closet rather than actually sort it into those helpful “to keep” “to store” and “to give away” piles, to buy that $10 cardigan because you only have brick red and not tomato red yet. Plus, giving up implies starting over again; the opportunity to erase all that went before and start from scratch, and get it right this time.

What’s harder is collaborating with failure. To really listen to your failures and let them tell you a little something about yourself; the general gist of which is “You’re not perfect, but your life is not impossible.” And then, hopefully, you breathe and find the bravery in doing the small tasks that chip away at the bigger ones that are far too hard to swallow in one bite.

And now onto the arrogance of control. Donning the mantle of “I fucked it all up” assumes control; because if I fucked it up, well than I can obviously fix it, and if I fix it, everything will be okay and perfect and happily ever after is a lock. Right?


The thing about “fixing it” is that every time something is fixed, it is not “like new.” (We all know that from purchasing anything on Ebay.) It is, however, more interesting and unique than when it was new. Flaws are never erased, they are incorporated. They can be apologized for or embraced. They are gifts of discovery and growth. They are the freckles, scars and stains that make a memorable story and, if we let them, reveal a deeper truth of who we are.

Failure and Flaws; words to live by, or Taylor Swift’s next hit?

It is still quite possible that I have fucked much up, and that there is more hard than easy in my horoscope. But hard is not impossible. So, I’m going to breathe, get my ass off the couch, change out of my pajamas and try something different at work, sort through at least one closet and buy that tomato red cardigan; because if I am going to fuck up, I’m at least going to wear the right shade of red.