these things take time

I have a problem.

Whenever I take on something new, I want to be good at it right from the start.

Can you relate?

When I started writing, I wanted to be published right away. (Instead it took 17 years.)


When I started knitting, I wanted to knit long, lacy sweater coats like this, from the get-go . (Two and a half years later, I finally have the skill and the gall to take on that project.)


And now blogging. One blog whose name seems to get dropped into my posts on a regular basis is SouleMama. For months I’ve admired her gorgeous photographs, her poignant posts. Then there are all those subscribers, hundreds of them, and what seems like an average of 100 comments per day–over 2,000 for a recent giveaway.

I’d like me a little blog like that.

Instead, I have my blog–a toddler blog on unsteady legs. Long-winded posts, photos that don’t have the depth I desire. And I’d rather not admit how often I check my Blog Stats, hoping to see my readership grow.

But wait, patient Reader! Lest you think I’m throwing a pity party for myself, let me share why I’m writing this. You see, was taught a lovely little lesson the other day, one which gave my perspective a nudge.

In trying to choose a new camera, I started looking at blogs with photographs I admire to see which cameras those bloggers use. Many mention their camera model in About Me sections or in FAQs. Some I could ascertain from Flickr posts. Then I started wondering: were these bloggers always such good photographers?

Which is what took me to SouleMama’s archives, and her very first post on TypePad, back in February 2005. And what did I find there? Sweet photos, but a few that were, dare I say, blurred. Others that were surely taken with a flash. Writing that was charming and chatty, but not evolved to the edited eloquence of Amanda’s current posts. And comments? Well, on one lucky day in February she got four, but on most others she got one or two, or even more often, zero.

Wow. I just sat there looking at my screen and took a deep breath. I’m grateful that Amanda has the grace to keep up those old posts because for a new blogger like me, they offer a whole wicker basketful of hope. They call to mind some old adages, ones that I expect my kids to understand, but forget to apply to myself:

Being good at something takes time. And effort.

It’s important to focus on the process, rather than the product.

I think I need to spend less time clicking on my Blog Stats and spend more time remembering instead the buzz of excitement I get on a run, as I trudge up hills while tinkering with lines for a new post. The fun of playing with my new camera. The thrill I get whenever I hit that Publish button. The joy of reading a comment from a reader who’s taken something I’ve written and added new thoughts to it–making my blog a living thing, a bowl of yeasted dough waiting to be transformed.

That’s a lot.  And for now, it should be enough. Blog Stats be damned.

11 comments… add one
  • Kathy Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:02

    I can totally relate. I’ve been doing this monthly posting thing and my stats haven’t moved — oh well! Keep doing what you are doing — I very much enjoy reading your posts. As for proficiency, I always tell my kids (and try to tell myself) — mastery takes practice. A hard pill to swallow in our instant gratification world. Maybe an unintended upside to this downturn is that we’ll all slow down a bit and breath.

  • stefaneener Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:24

    Yes, sometimes I wonder why it is that while I have an uncanny ability to catch the zeitgeist and embody it, I am seldom in the forefront of any movement, seldom a leader, usually not a follower, but vaguely doing my own thing in the same direction that everyone else seems to be going.

    Blogging is seductive that way. I try to remember what a rush it is to post a well-crafted post, just for myself. It’s a gift to get to wrestle with words and phrases just to make something beautiful. Of course, it’s nice when it’s appreciated and shared, too.

    Sometimes I realize that wanting instant mastery is a trap, but it doesn’t make it easier to escape it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • susan Nov 22, 2008 @ 8:40

    This is too close to home for me. I started work on my first novel when I gave up career thoughts and decided to stay home with my kids. Evelyn is a decade old now and I am still working on finishing one. I have one 300 page manuscript that I dropped. Another 150 page manuscript I dropped and one 200 page one I am working on now…glacially. I read that Michael Crichton wrote his first novels on the weekend while at med school. He once wrote a novel in 9 days. So what do I do instead of putting all my work into finishing…why, I take up blogging. For the instant gratification of seeing the words and pictures. Ok, yes, and comments! Thank you… And the (vain) hope that success will come quicker.

  • suzee Nov 22, 2008 @ 11:39

    Hee! Maybe you should be Annie’s mom, as that personality trait is her to a T!

    Congratulations on the pub and the lovely, lovely turn at knitting.

    I remind myself regularly that the blogs that get the very most hits are the ones written by people with personality disorders. 🙂

  • melissa s. Nov 22, 2008 @ 14:31

    omg, too funny. i’ve done the same exact thing with soulemama’s archives! so inspiring to see where she is now! for as much as i tell my kids “baby steps, you just gotta be patient,” i very rarely take my own advice. should maybe start listening to myself.
    can’t wait to see that sweater done. it’s beautiful already!

  • Barbara Nov 23, 2008 @ 19:14

    Thanks for this post. I also have a blog in its toddlerhood, and I work hard on patience, process, and remembering why I started blogging in the first place.

    I do feel like doing new things, having the experience of being a novice, really helps me as a homeschooling mom, reminding me of the joys and frustrations of learning something new.

    And by the way, I love love love your homeschooling article. Perhaps my favorite I’ve ever read.

  • BobPixel Nov 24, 2008 @ 2:53

    I’ve written the occasional brilliant post, but after years of blogging I’ve gotta share that it all comes down to I do it because I want to. I’m happy with any entry that gets a comment. I’m blogging “safe” stuff. So I know it’s not as compelling as the raw gritty growth me and mine are going through.

    I feel like this steals something from the future, but I also feel like it gives some space to the present.

  • BobPixel Nov 24, 2008 @ 11:55

    Wow. I just read Susan’s post about weaving tales and I am really inspired. Too bad I can’t comment on her blog, though. I would love to send her some cyber-applause.

  • Barbara Nov 24, 2008 @ 15:33

    p.s. Patricia, do you have an email contact you share? I looked around your site for one but didn’t find it.

  • patricia Nov 24, 2008 @ 16:34

    Well, I gotta say that I love this. I may not get 100 comments per post, but look at the substance of the comments I do get! There’s so much deep thinking and sharing here–not just a bunch of “you’re so great” responses. That’s what I mean by my blog being a living thing–it keeps expanding with comments like these.

    You all really do make my day.

    And regarding my email address, I haven’t put it on the blog for fear of it generating lots of spam. But if you leave me a comment saying you’d like to contact me, I’m always happy to email back.

  • Maureen Jan 4, 2009 @ 18:37

    Hey Tricia, I didn’t know you were a knitter! Your blog is a thing of beauty as are your knitting projects. Very inspiring. Blog on, sister!

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