Y’all see this little girl on the slide? That six year old still lives inside my heart some forty-nine years later.
I look like I’m on top of the world, don’t I? Well, let me tell you about that day. I remember it well after all these years.
Daddy and his brother, Uncle Denny, took their families up to Roaring River State Park in Missouri for a week long vacation. Smack dab in the middle of the park was a playground with the biggest slide I had ever seen in my life. That thing must have been as tall as the Empire State Building (have you ever noticed that I exaggerate?).
Well, anyway it seemed that big to me, but then I was pretty short in those days. My cousins and my siblings made a bee-line for that slide. Soon they were scrambling to the top and sliding down, burning their tail bones on the sizzling hot metal.
I just stood back and watched.
They all hollered, “Come on, it’s fun! You can do it!”
But, I just shook my head and said, “Hunh unh.” That translates to “No way.”
Then they started teasing me. They shouted, “Are you scared of heights? You a fraidy-cat? Hey, is that feathers on your legs?”
They were calling me a chicken! It’s true, and a well known fact in my family, that I’ve never been fond of heights. But, this didn’t look like fun to me. I couldn’t see the point in dragging myself to the top of that slide and burning my butt on the way down for a few seconds of thrill.
But, to have them make fun of me pretty well “burned my butt,” too! Well, I’d show them a thing or two.
I marched right over to that slide and slowly began to climb. Rung after rung I struggled until I had reached the top of it. I turned around to let Momma take my picture, and then I looked at that slide.
It still didn’t look like fun! So, I turned around and climbed back down. I had done what I needed to do: I showed them that I wasn’t afraid to climb to the top … and I wasn’t stupid enough to get a third degree burn on my behind!
When I got back down, my Uncle Denny put his hands on my shoulder and said, “Gal, you’ll remember this when you get older. If it’s not fun, don’t do it!”
I remember it, Uncle Denny.
I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot lately, as I have pondered my blog. I started it so that I could write about all the many things that interest me. It was fun in the beginning.
But, then I started believing the hype that folks put out on the internet — that you can make money by blogging. Whoot! Sit here in my pajamas and do something I like and make money? I’m in.
I threw myself into writing every day. I learned about SEO optimization. I sat for hours in front of this computer screen as I tried to write posts that might draw readers. I made pithy comments on other blogs, but the traffic stayed about the same. What I really did, is I … made it not fun anymore! I did this for two and a half years — and that’s two and a half years I’m not going to get back!
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine said, “Shelly, you write on that blog every day! That’s a little like milking cows, idn’t it?”
“Idn’t it” is Texan-speak, and I understood it — and I started thinking.
Have y’all ever lived on a farm that had milk cows? You have to milk those cows at the same time every stinkin’ day, or they will kick up a fuss. Now, my Muse is the “cow” that has to be “milked.” I have to write, for some unknown reason. But, I don’t have to write every stinkin’ day!
The difference in writing on this blog and in milking a cow is that if you milk a cow you get a reward. I can write on this blog until the cows come home, and it’s never going to have a monetary payoff.
I believe it’s true that some people can make money blogging. They are either very lucky, or they have a “niche.” That “niche” is usually about “how to make money blogging!”
I don’t have a “niche,” and I certainly can’t tell you how to make money with one of these blogs. Blogging about Texas is the closest I get to “niche” material, and I don’t want to blog about Texas every day. If I want to write a ditty for idiot drivers, or a post about the judicious use of the epilator as a form of torture, then I want to feel free to do it.
I decided it was time to make a change. I briefly considered taking down the blog and stopping cold turkey, but I know I’d be unhappy if I did. So, I have to learn to control myself, instead of letting the blog control me!
I’m not going to stop blogging! Don’t think that for a minute. Do you know how much grief the Muse would give me if I did? No, I’ll still be here, and I might be writing every day. But, when I don’t feel like writing, or don’t have time, I’m not going to worry about it anymore. I’ll be writing what I enjoy and hoping that you enjoy it, too. It’s not going to be an obsession — unless, of course, a miracle happens and somebody wants to pay me big money for an ad on my sidebar.
Since I’m not banking on that anytime soon, I’m only giving myself a maximum of two hours on the computer each day. Maybe not even every day. When I do decide to sit down at the computer, I have an hour to write a post (and if it’s not finished it just has to wait for another day). I’ll give myself an hour to answer comments (yes, I’m going to try to start answering them again!) and to visit anybody who was kind enough to comment. Then, I’m going back to the real world!
In order to force this change upon myself, I’ve moved my computer to an office upstairs. That way, I won’t sit and obsess in front of the screen, because I have to really want to see the computer to drag my butt up those stairs.
And, if my husband will put in a slide, I might even use it this time!