Saturday, June 25, 2011

Has Anyone Seen Wonder Woman?

Forgive me, Blogger, for I have sinned. It has been one month, one week, and six days since my last entry.
For a while there, I was on a roll. That is to say, I was confident. Not confident about the words on the page, per se; those still needed a lot of tweaking, rethinking, or even complete overhauling. Rather, my confidence came from the simple belief that, yes, I can do this. Look at me! I’m writing! I have something to say, and I’m saying it! My dozens of followers seemed to like what I have to say and maybe one of them has been affected in some way. I’m living the dream. Creating my very own 20s Left Bank Paris right in the middle of my suburban Panera. 
Words were flowing. Ideas were germinating. Deep down, a strange, exhilarating sense of balance was stewing and powering me through each day. All the random, every-day stuff? On it. Reaching down to the inner-passion stuff too? I got this. I turned into Wonder Woman: driving carpool, making dinner, shopping at Whole Foods (because Wonder Woman’s organic, too!), AND writing words that felt right to boot.  All the passive voice and excessive use of gerunds in this paragraph wouldn’t have bothered Wonder Woman, because she was creative and artsy and could throw grammatical caution to the wind.
Balance. Wonder Woman felt it. I felt it. And it felt great.
But then, a crucial error. I tried to make myself smarter. On my brief roll, I tried to make things move along faster, jump ahead of myself. In short, I began to do everything that I thought I should do. What must, logically, come next if I wanted to be a success at this writing/blogging thing. 
Creating a Facebook page for this blog was a start. I thought of the idea one day in the shower, where man- and womankind does its best thinking. It felt right, so I started it.
Next I dove headfirst into the overwhelming and creepily complex world of Twitter. What? What? What? did all of it mean? I still don’t know. But I did enjoy feeling like I was Neil Patrick Harris’s best friend for a few milliseconds. Almost immediately, it didn’t feel so right. I was in over my head, which was now swimming with technology speak and hash tags and updates and little red numbers on my iPhone cruelly reminding me that I was behind in yet another thing in my life.
Internet research told me I was behind, too. Market yourself, I would whisper angrily to my furrowed eyebrows. Get the name “Big Hips. Open Eyes.” to mean something to the world.  Educate yourself about how to successfully blog, how to grow an audience, how to reach more people every day. Read the stockpiles of brilliant insight; attend blogging conferences; define your audience; choose your wording carefully; make your site more colorful; make your site less colorful; appeal to more than moms; appeal to only moms; don’t ever appeal to moms; write more than you think you should; write less than you think you should; hug your children more; be a better friend; be a better wife; return all your damn phone calls; clean your room; eat green leafy vegetables . . . . Aaaaahhhhh. It was all too much.
You’re a failure at this already, I found myself lecturing one night while lying in bed. Everyone wants to be a writer. Everyone has a blog. Everyone wants to make a difference. Who are you to think you’re any different?
You’re nobody special. There’s no wonder to your woman.
So the writing stopped. I stopped the writing. It felt lonely. It felt wrong. I found myself frozen where I was, in some weird in-between space of not wanting to do anything half-assed and not wanting to fail at what I love so much.
That is, until people started asking me, simply and honestly, “When are you posting another entry?” A friend I hadn’t seen in months walked up and said, “I love your blog. I love what you have to say and the way you say it.” Another friend told me how much she enjoyed my style, the way I bring the end of an essay back to the beginning and find connections between ideas that aren’t immediately apparent. “Yes!” I jumped out of my seat, “That’s what I love to do!” Still another friend took me earnestly aside and said, “Don’t stop. You can’t stop.”
She was right. I can’t stop. I have missed it tremendously. This blog helped me discover a piece of myself that was always there but I hadn’t recognized. This piece, let’s call her Lynda Carter, has disguised herself as a college major, an interest, a proofreader, an editor, a journal scribbler, or a dabbler in really piss-poor poetry throughout the years. Lynda has always been along for the ride. Keenly aware, taking mental notes, keeping her eyes open.
Being a successful blogger does not mean being a successful writer. I can do the latter without doing the former. Maybe, occasionally, I'll get lucky and do a little bit of both . . . sometimes at the exact same time, rockin' my world in the process. No matter what, I'll learn a bit along the way (and potentially figure out how to retweet something).The lasso of truth be told, I can’t be Wonder Woman. It’s not in me. But Lynda is. I’ll write for her, and for me.