Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
This quote is generally attributed to Einstein, however there seems to be significant debate about the authenticity of this attribution. No one is really sure who said it first, but whoever did was a genius!
I am going to take this advice and apply it to my blog, which I have been diligently working on for almost two years. But The Hipsterette has not got the response (or the results) I had hoped to achieve.
The one thing that I knew for sure, was that I wanted to write, to be read, and for my writing to create discussion (preferably deep and meaningful) – any comments received make me deliriously happy. The ‘big dream’ was that with a lot of hard work, perseverance, and a bit of divine intervention from the mystical forces of the universe, I would somehow find myself catapulted with a ‘big bang’ into the heady world of being a paid writer.
Needless to say, it hasn’t happened yet and, admittedly, I was clueless when I first embarked upon this journey. To add to my confusion, most of the initial courses I undertook focussed on how to develop an ‘author platform’, which important as it is, did nothing to unlock the digital mysteries of Word Press, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and all the other social media tools.
I thought I had the ‘writing’ component down pat. After all, I love writing and can create a story about almost anything at all – but as I wove my tales around the things that had piqued my interest, I was astonished at the lack of response.
I looked to other blogs to learn the secrets of their success. But I came away baffled and confused. Why did a half-eaten jaffle, a casually displayed everyday outfit, or even a well-turned out foot with immaculately pedicured toes generate more interest (as well as ‘hits’ and comments) than posts on quirky, thoughtful or cerebral subject matter?
I did learn from the experience, and can only speak for myself, but I soon discovered that it is no easy ‘feat’ to take a good-looking ‘selfie’ of one’s own foot! And the truth of the matter is that it is often the ‘simplest’ things that capture the audience’s attention.
A Ben Stiller Moment
And it was Ben Stiller (or at least his character, Josh, in the film While We’re Young) that brought about an epiphany, to show me that sometimes you can try too hard. Josh, a documentarian, made a brilliant film in graduate school, but had spent the next ten years working on his follow-up film, and upon showing the first cut to his father-in-law, Leslie, Josh receives the following response: “You just showed me a six-and-a-half-hour film that feels like it’s seven hours too long.”
Photo courtesy screend.com.au
This line made me burst out laughing and I said to myself “I am Ben Stiller,” seeing some of my behaviour mirrored in the Ben/Josh character. The good: Ben/Josh was very passionate about his work and had a good moral and ethical core. And the bad, just like Ben/Josh, I am vain about my work (and crave outward recognition for it), am prone to a bit too much navel-gazing, and share a reluctance to cut out anything that I find special out of my work.
You know – those ‘ah-ha’ moments when you astound yourself by making a connection between two seemingly unrelated pieces of information, and it’s like a fireworks display going off inside your head.
You immediately want to share your newly discovered knowledge with a larger audience who, for some of the very best reasons in the world, may not be ready to receive this information – or heaven forbid – might have different interests or priorities!
So what do you do? Start again, or work to improve what you’ve already got? Me, I am going the ‘blog reno’ route, which is pretty much akin to the home reno: you do the research, set a budget, and put a plan in place.
Renovations can be painful and budgets often blow out; but, like most people, I only want to undertake major structural change once.
What will my future blog look like? Will it have all the ‘bells and whistles’ and be the equivalent of a luxury home – complete with a home theatre, spa bath, and designer kitchen? Sounds good, but who knows? But my deepest wish is to engage more with readers, and move that step closer to being a person who gets paid to write!
And I’m taking advice from the experts. Most professional home renovators recommend that, if at all possible, owners should consider moving out while the refurbishment process is underway. Now I just have to work out how to put a virtual ‘under (re) construction’ sign on my blog.
See you soon!