Remember my three-week blogging hiatus? There was a reason.
The short story is that I was insecure and didn't really think it mattered if I wrote or not.
The longer version involves not only my character flaws, but also my husband. My spouse began blogging about the same time I did. We have very different blogs, and are attracting different followers. He's getting google hits like crazy, for random things like "opossum smile" and "spain chocolate." He already has more followers, more hits, more comments, more likes, more everything. I am truly, truly happy for him.
And it's driving me crazy.
I know that building a blog following takes time. It's hard, and I'm so independent that even reaching out online is a challenge for me. I know that we are blogging for different reasons, and for different audiences. But every night, he comes home, logs on his dashboard, and begins reciting the wild google search terms that have led strangers to his blog. He counts the number of hits on his blog, even sometimes the number of spam comments he has collected. I feel the frustration and jealousy building up so much that it makes me want to hide in a corner.
Yes, I have tried to explain that I would prefer he keep his accolades to himself, until I can get my green-eyed monster under control. His response was something along the lines of, "Well, what I do shouldn't affect you. You should be happy for me."
I agree with him. Intellectually. But emotionally, my competitive nature that I pretend doesn't exist is seething. I don't really belong to the "Aim to Win" school of competition. I tend to pursue the the "Aim to Dominate." And if I know I can't succeed at total domination, my instinct is to not play. But if I quit writing, I am really the only one that loses. (I have a hard time admitting I'm that petty. I hope that acceptance is the first step towards change...)
I think this is the part where I'm supposed to give a pep talk about writing anyway, no matter how frustrated you are and how much it seems like everyone else in the world will get there before you. But I don't really feel it at the moment. Instead, I'd like to offer up a different philosophy: I can always quit tomorrow.
This philosophy saw me through two years at a high-poverty school. There were some days that were so hard that I didn't believe I could make it through another day, let alone another year in that situation. Rather than look ahead, I would make a pact: I wouldn't quit in the next hour. Sometimes I felt confident enough to promise myself not to quit that day. I couldn't promise myself that tomorrow wouldn't be bad enough that I would have to walk away for good. But in that moment, that day, I could stay. So I guess I have to recognize that I might need to walk away from writing someday. Maybe I'll be so frustrated I won't want to keep going. Maybe I'll be too busy or recognize that I just don't have the talent. But today is not that day. Today, I choose to write. I'll save the quitting for tomorrow.