If It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It

Y’all see this little girl on the slide? That six year old still lives inside my heart some forty-nine years later.

33-Michele Cumbie

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?”

What?

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!

  12 comments for “If It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It

  1. July 29, 2009 at 8:31 am

    You GO, girl! (Which, I guess is the 00’s version of “To thine own self be true…”
    .-= LuAnn´s last blog ..Mr. Snugglebutt – The Mighty Hunter =-.

    • July 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

      Thanks, LuAnn. I’m going to try to be “true.” This blogging is a hard habit to break!

  2. July 29, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I go through spells here when I am totally braindead -about everything and especially about blogging. I do write some “paid posts” from time to time which force me out of some of those writing doldrums I run up against -and give me a dollop of extra, much needed/appreciated cash -so they do serve two purposes for me. (I don’t do paid posts in which I am totally endorsing a product I know virtually nothing about -mine are just finding a way to write something and use their tag line in my post, which sometimes creates quite a challenge and thus, serves me fairly well in the “wake-up and write something” department. I’ve been trying to cut back on the time I spend on the computer though -trimmed my reader a little bit for openers there -and staying clear -for the most part -from the computer games too. Right now, I’m in one of those doldrum phases -a wee bit depressed and I don’t know why, which is frustrating when that happens but at least now I’ve been through this kind of phase enough in my life that I recognize it early when it strikes and nip it in the bud then before it digs in and grabs a huge hold on me, starts small wars between me and my kids and such.
    I do agree with your uncle’s theory about not doing things when they cease to be fun. I love to monkey with the various craft things -sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery -but sometimes, I start something there too and it’s fun and then, all of a sudden, it is a chore or very frustrating, and I back away from that project and go do something else until the urge to return to the other projects returns. Right now, I’m on a temporary hiatus from the embroidery because the project I have almost finished was totally pissing me off, not going right, and causing me to make oodles of mistakes so I put it up and for the past couple of days, my fingers have been busy crocheting dishcloths in Christmassy colors. Now, to get a way to get out of the braindead syndrome with respect to cooking supper! There’s a challenge I can’t just walk away from the task and forget it for a couple of days but I really wish I could! By the way, what are you cooking for supper tonight? Maybe hearing what someone else is fixing will serve to be a tad inspiring.
    .-= Jeni Hill Ertmer´s last blog ..No Worries for Some! =-.

    • July 30, 2009 at 7:44 am

      Sorry. I didn’t come back to the computer last night. We had a variant of paella … it wasn’t really traditional, but I used saffron, so I pretended.
      Sounds like you are keeping busy.

  3. July 29, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Amen… Lady Storyteller!! Your thoughts are very well put. This is why I am a sporadic blogger.
    .-= Carol G.´s last blog ..Camp Tosebo ( II ) =-.

  4. Diane
    July 29, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I enjoyed the photo’; the story, and the candid and open way you discussed blogging.

    I’ve received e-mails from people who have said why they’re slowing down on their blogging efforts too – I do think it’s a good idea; you want to LIVE your life, not be stuck behind a computer all day (which can be just about as wasteful as watching television).

    I have an rss feed to your blog; read it every time you post, but today I really felt a need to comment because you were so honest and probably spoke for a lot of bloggers who feel the same way, but they somehow feel they need to ‘keep it going’.

    For me, I’d find it hard to blog for money – if I write, I have to be ‘inspired’, and prespiration rather than inspiration, doesn’t work for me. I’d prefer to ‘prespire’ outside working in the garden; hiking – doing something physical. As a retired lady, I have the time for both, so I feel fortunate.

    You’ve said something that needed to be said for probably a lot of people other than yourself. Good job!!! Diane

    • July 30, 2009 at 7:55 am

      Thanks, Diane, and I appreciate you being a reader. I have no problem reviewing products that I’ve used, but I don’t want to do many “pay per post” entries on my blog. It just feels to me like I would be ruining my credibility (such as it is.

      I agree that its much better to go out and live a little. That way, there is fodder for the writing!

  5. Diane
    July 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    …should that have been perspire???? Maybe so, but I’m too lazy to look it up today (smile).

    Oh yes, since I was never afraid of the slide I should tell you that when I was 6 years old I decided to go down the slide head-first; it was early in the spring and there was a big frozen puddle at the bottom of the slide, and I went so fast I failed to stop – broke through the ice, and got covered with mud. I remember how funny I looked with my face covered with mud, but my mom wasn’t happy with the dirty clothes………

    • July 30, 2009 at 7:56 am

      The sliding down didn’t scare me, it was the climbing up. But, that day the sun was beating down so hot that the slide was like a skillet.

      Good thing you only broke the ice and not your nose!

  6. July 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Wow. This could be one of the best blog posts that I’ve read in a very long time on why we blog. I made a decision a couple years ago that I would not let a day go by where I did not have a new post on my blog and I’ve only missed one day. I guess I was in a similar “milk the cow” situation as you.

    Also like you, I find that there are many days where I don’t feel like writing. Part of it really has become a chore, especially on days when my muse isn’t exactly cooperating. When I get excited or passionate about something, it’s easy to write. Of course, this isn’t always the case.

    Your decision to let the muse slide when you don’t want to write is a strong one and one that should be commended. I’m not sure if I can convince myself to do the same, even though, like you, I make very little from my own blog.
    .-= Michael Kwan´s last blog ..More Noble to Tell a Small Lie? =-.

    • August 1, 2009 at 4:51 am

      Thank you, Micahel, and I appreciate you stopping by to visit. I discovered that the moment that I set myself “free,” or told myself I didn’t have to write — I suddenly wanted to write again. Go figure.

      I just visited your blog, and find it fascinating! What a pleasure to “meet” you. You should be making money blogging!

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