Ups, Downs and Pushing Buttons
Ups and downs. We all have ‘em.
And for creative types, it’s not at all uncommon to be emotionally affected by the public’s response to our work. You’re flying high off the mad success of your previous CD sales and the reviews that came with it. Suddenly, the follow-up album tanks, you’re sitting on a couple thousand unsold copies, and you feel as though you completely suck as an artist- like the entire world dislikes your music. Right about then you get asked to fill a headliner spot at the huge state music festival, and that’s going to bring with it a local radio interview and an enormous photo of you and the band plastered all over on posters and newspapers. Ego and self-image skyrocket– you can do no wrong. Oh, no- you just got axed and replaced with a bigger name act touring through? Here we go again . . .
I’ve dealt with that in nearly every facet of what I do. As a performer, educator, public speaker and writer, it can often be difficult to remain secure and confident enough in myself and my work to not let external factors take me on an internal rollercoaster. The same even holds true for blogging. As a blogger, publicly posting ideas and stories- and making yourself transparent to anyone who cares to read- can be scary at times. You’re putting yourself in a very vulnerable position. There are times when I struggle over which button to press: Publish or Delete.
Once the decision has been made to hit Publish and your words flood out into the blogosphere, it’s then tempting to keep tabs on your stats page to see how many people are checking you out!
[Day 3]: Yeah, baby- almost 300 views in one day? And already five people have posted comments? I think I’ve finally gotten this blogging thing figured out!
[Day 7]: Wha?! NOBODY visited yesterday? Nobody? And only three clicks so far today? What the heck happened? You know, this is a heck of a lot of work for nothin’. Maybe I should just scrap this whole idea.
Now, I understand that my small view counts are chump-change to many bloggers. I certainly don’t get 16,937-visitor traffic spikes in a day like some people I know.
But one thing that helps me feel a bit better is my discovery that even the big dogs are affected by ups and downs, and tuck their tails between their legs from time to time. I continually glean advice, ideas and inspiration from one of my favorite bloggers, the ridiculously world-traveled Chris Guillebeau. But even at his level of success, he admits to still being susceptible. Here is an excerpt from Chris’ manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success (click that link and get his free eBook now!):
“I derive too much emotion validation from the daily state of my network. When lots of people are subscribing, the comments are up, and the links are rolling in, I feel great. When the numbers are down, I feel bad. I haven’t found a way to solve this yet- if you’ve been there and moved past it, feel free to send me your magic solution.”
I’m sure that aspects of my very public performing and teaching life will still bring its bumps and bruises once in a while. But, concerning the blogger side of my persona, what I’ve decide that I can, should, and will try to do is to stay confident that I’m passing along information and ideas that will prove useful to somebody out there. Even if that means only one ‘somebody,’ it’s still entirely worth it!
Now, please post a really nice comment below and make me feel better again! 🙂