Pretty impressive what winning an award can do. This blog got the most hits its ever received in one day yesterday. Now I know what an overnight sensation feels like.
Yesterday was also a day of accolades. Congratulations pouring in from those that already knew the blog, from friends and cousins. And then there were all the thanks for recommending other blogs as I paid the award forward. I heard over and over again how funny a guy I am. My ego got more than stroking, I’d call it a full on body massage with a happy ending, to be honest.
And knowing that I’m going to be away both Saturday and Sunday, I made sure I prepped blogs ahead of time so I only have to go into the BlackBerry (that bane of my existence at times) and move them from “draft” status to “published”. So that’s all set up now and ready to go.
Then I came down to my sprawling office in the palatial Elliott mansion (yeah…right) this morning, sat down at the computer and, in horror, realized I had to write another blog this morning.
Bear in mind, this could not be any blog. This had to be Funny! Thought-provoking! Brilliant! Crowd-pleasing! It was the first post-ISBA (Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award) blog. And it had to be brilliant.
I sat, watching that blinking cursor in a field of white space. I sat and realized something.
I got nuthin’.
Let me explain. Typically, as I go through my day, as the various events and meetings and situations and life-things occur, my radar is up and scanning, searching for things that could use some more careful observation, or things that unveil something interesting, funny or profound.
Instead, yesterday, I was caught up in a tidal wave of adoration and a little bit of blogger fame. It’s not a bad thing. We should all get some recognition at times.
So, the closest I had to an idea was to write something on average blog hits. But after clicking from Google no more than three times, I’d already had my fill of returning visitors, unique visitors and conversion rates. My God, it sounded like work. I do this for fun. So…that was out. What to write, what to write? I mean, I just got an award, fer cryin’ out loud!
But the lesson I learned already is to not believe in my own press. I can’t think of myself as Tobin the Award Winning Blogger! I’m just Tobin, a guy that blogs. Because if I stick with that Tobin the Award Winning Blogger! tag, I’m already questioning how I top the quirkiness of Calvin in his Canadian Cave of Cool. How do I top the funny of Mary’s Suburban Warfare against the Old Poop? How do I provide better writing advice than any of the blogs I highlighted yesterday? How do I top the thought provokyness of Pat’s Nine Day Wonder?
Answer? Don’t try.
I firmly believe when you write, you should have a target audience in mind. Whether it’s a certain age group, or a specific person, doesn’t matter, but you should have an image in your mind of who you’re writing to. The distinction here, at least for me, is to know who you’re writing to, not who you’re writing for. For me, if I’m writing to someone, I can write what I want, the way I want it and I have a good sense of whether they’ll enjoy it or not. If I’m writing for them, then I’m trying to play to them, to be thought provoking or funny or intelligent for them. The difference is the flow. The first is a flow from me. It comes out of me. The second is a flow to them. The focus is on them.
To put it another way, others have said I’m funny. If I am, I think it’s because of the way I deliver a story. But if I sit down and say, “I’m going to write something funny today,” it’ll never happen. It has to flow from me.
Don’t know if I’m explaining this well, but for me it’s a subtle but important distinction. And I understand it. And I’m writing this out for me. So there. Nyah.
So, basically, I’m not going to buy into my own press, I’m not going to be a legend in my own mind. I ain’t nuthin’ special.
So, over the next couple of days, there’s still going to be blogs, one by me, one by a dear friend (and someone much smarter and a much better writer than I am) and then, on Monday, normalcy will reign supreme again and I’ll just be Tobin, a guy that blogs, writing my next blog.
I hope you’ll be here with me. I’m not writing this for you. But I am writing it to you.