Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fear of Failure

I had a horrible thought tonight as I conversed about this blog with a friend. All of a sudden the blog got bigger in my head and started to suck up all the available space. And, I asked out loud -- "what does it mean if I get to the 100th post and I have no followers?" We kind of chuckled and moved on in our conversation but that little tiny fear stayed with me and it grew.

Googling "blogs + number of blogs" didn't help at all. As an aside, it did remind me that I LOVE LOVE LOVE google with 177 million results and the first 10 relevant to what I wanted to know. Just how many blogs are there out there?

112.8 million blogs as a February 2010. Oh my word -- that is a slew of blogs. A whole lot of people with something to say. Have you ever paid attention to the way the leaves are on a gingko tree -- all tightly packed togther on a branch. In the spring here in the northeast, those leaves emerge in clusters out of a single tiny bud. Is that what blogspot is all about -- something that started as a single tiny bud and then proliferated into a whole bunch of leaves packed closely together? And how many blogspots are there out there in how many languages?

That fear of failure is a powerfully seductive fear when it gets inside your head. All one's past failures -- wearing pants to kindergarten when all the other girls are in skirts, spelling orchard wrong in the 4th grade spelling bee, getting laid off, lost loves and loves unrealized -- all of those fears come together and feed the new fear. And, all of a sudden, something I started for fun becomes something that I could potentially fail at just because I might never, ever have a follower.
I suppose I could go out and recruit followers. Googling "blogs + number of followers" returns 8.1 million results in 23 seconds. There are tools and widgets that could help me to get followers. Tactics and strategies -- ways to shamelessly promote my blog. I could start to tweet about my blog, seek to make it as relevant to others as it is to me. Maybe I could cite my own posts -- raise my impact factor (that's a little trick that academic journals use to show they are relevant).

Wow, in just three short hours that little kernal of fear has turned this whole blogging activity into something that is beginning to feel suspiciously like WORK!

Deep breath, step back, and repeat after me:

I, Nancy, take this blog to: write. write, write, and write some more; record my memories for when I am old and gray and can no longer gallivant off to points far away (most likely because I spent all my money doing that now); and explore that part of me that is creative just for the sake of creating and with no end in sight other than that which results from putting pen to paper and writing.
Most importantly, I take it as a way to lose myself for a couple of hours. Writing like this restores me in ways that are unexpected, unplanned, and endlessly exhilerating.

This blog is for me.


  1. I love this. And your motivation seems so right and so perfect. Congratulations on a wonderful blog.

  2. Thanks Amy -- left you a long note on your blog which I love. And, you've ensured that when I reach my 100th post, I'll have at least one follower! LOL.

  3. Hey Nancy - nice sentiments and I really like the art. How long have you been working on this? Today I asked my wife if she had seen my recent post and she said "I don't read blogs." Some days the bear just gets you.

  4. hey chris, just started "blogging" in june. have been seriously doing the photography for 18 months or so. Both the writing and the "photog'ing" are restorative. as long as the bear doesn't kill you, i consider life to be going well.