Blogging And The Three Year Rule

Dear Blogger,

How are you?  It’s been a while since you and I had a proper talk, and this seems like the perfect time.

I saw you walk around the park a few times last week; that’s good news,  you must be feeling a bit better.  I know how walking, especially on a crisp, sunny winter’s morning, lifts your spirits, those endorphins weaving their feel-good magic through the ‘brain fog’ .

You mentioned recently that you’ve seen your robin a lot lately.  Strange isn’t it how we end up talking about robins so much?  I smile even now when I remember how much you agonised about what to write for your first ever blog post three years ago almost to the day, and how it was the sight of your Sweet Robin (as you came to name him) that inspired you.  And that brazen, puffed-up little bird still does.

Interestingly, I found out a thing or two about robins: they are cute but they are territorial and don’t let their feathered-friends push them around.  I had to laugh when you told me about the squabbles at your bird feeder and how there, among the sparrows, blue tits and even a blackbird, stands guard your Sweet Robin, seeing them off, a steely eyed determination in his coal-black eyes.

Hmmmmm….

I read your status update on Facebook this week – one of those ‘Facebook Memories’ thing they like to do – about your trip to London to have photos taken for your first ever article published in Prima magazine.  I remember you telling me about that day when,  as you looked out of your train window,  a beautiful fox, his red fur shimmering in the pale, winter sun, appeared in the middle of a field, stopping in his tracks to watch the train go by.

“It was a sign,” you said, because you have a ‘thing’ about foxes.

But I know that this memory also reminded you of all you HAVEN’T done since then, mainly that you STILL haven’t written your book and it made you feel like crap. Well,  I need to tell you now, that is utter bull.

You hear me on this?  Now, we are good friends, we go back a long way, but it’s time you sat up and listened to me for once, because, frankly, I’m worried about you. This time last year, you wrote ‘Two Years Blogging and Still Standing’.  Well, another year gone and yes, you’re still standing. But now I’m hearing things I don’t like.

I’m hearing that you are struggling so much that you are wondering if you will keep going with your blogging because you are finding it too difficult as well as writing your memoir.  You’re finding it too much with everything life is chucking your way, one bloody thing after the other, you say.

But I don’t get it – look at everything you’ve put into your blog.  Are you seriously thinking of leaving all that behind, now?  Since when were you ever a quitter?  Come on, get a grip! For one thing, you’ve told me over and over how much you would miss your wonderful friends if you ever stopped blogging.

They’re amazing you know, your readers and friends online, and your off-blog friends and  family who never fail to encourage you and stand by you, send you an email or a text or a Facebook message (and share!) a blog post they enjoyed.  You’ve told me many times how much the incredible kindness and generosity of others has restored your faith in humanity.

Remember how you felt when you had 50 followers and you got your first ever blog award?  You couldn’t believe it, that someone from ‘out there’ would find your blog, never mind ‘like’ it and maybe even leave a comment.  And what about your ‘silent’ readers, those you know visit through Google, especially when searching for information about Asperger’s Syndrome?  What about them?

I know how great you felt when you posted your first ever blog post.  You didn’t know about tagging or any of that ‘SEO’ stuff, but who cared?  Yes, you were nervous, but your first ever comment was from that lovely hubby of yours, and your mum and best friend, who were there for you then and are with you still today.

And what about your fantastic kids?  Remember how you felt when they first told you how proud they were of you? Do me a favour will you, when you feel like you’re nothing, that you’ve achieved nothing, always remember this.

Please?

Hubby gave you flowers and a card last Saturday and you had no idea why. “To celebrate your three-year blogging anniversary,” he said.

Beautiful flowers & card from Hubby (c) Sherri Matthews 2016

Beautiful flowers & card from Hubby
(c) Sherri Matthews 2016

And you hung your head in shame because of all the negativity and stress and pressure you had allowed to steal your joy and sense of accomplishment and you didn’t feel you had much to celebrate, because you’re so overwhelmed and plagued with worries of ‘keeping up’ and of sitting on the sidelines and achieving jack.

Why do you do that? Why can’t you believe in yourself and stop feeling like you’re such a failure all the time?  What’s wrong with you?   You need to change that, and you need to do it now.  Yes, I’m talking to you…

And what about your reasons for blogging in the first place?  Yes, yes, we both know about author platform and all that, and yes, it’s important, but you’ve told me many times that you don’t want to blog for that reason alone. What you’ve always wanted is connection, to know that by sharing stories from your life, past and present, you can reach out to others and let them (and yourself) know, above all else: “We are not alone.”

Your post Asperger’s Syndrome And The Love Of Animals is viewed every single day and has been since you published it in June 2013. It’s your most consistently viewed post, at the top of all your other posts week after week.   You have no idea who most of your visitors are, but now and then somebody leaves a comment and shares with you their struggles, their victories, their story.  I know you are so glad you wrote that post.

Remember your post Jersey: Occupation Liberation Celebration? Someone called Ed Le Gallais found your link on your public Facebook Page, left a wonderful message and shared it with three tourist websites in Jersey, giving you over 6,3oo views and 36 shares.   I know you don’t pay much attention to stats, but this blew you away. You worried that your post wouldn’t do justice to such an emotional and moving celebration. After all, you were just a visitor, you hadn’t lived it.

But a dear man, Robert, shared with you that he had lived in occupied Jersey under five years of Nazi rule, and that he was there, by the Pomme d’Or on May 9th, 1945 when his beautiful, tiny island was liberated by the British. He wrote to thank you for your post.  You couldn’t believe it.  He thanked you?

“No,” you said, “it is I who thanks you, dear Robert.”

And you cry even now thinking of it.

Remember too how Harper Collins found your blog (and you still have no idea how) and sent you Mary Karr’s book ‘The Art of Memoir’ and asked you to review it? That came out of nowhere, but at just the right time for you, and you still can’t get over it.

None of these things would have happened if you hadn’t started blogging.  Don’t ever forget that.

Think too of all you’ve learnt from other bloggers, not just about writing and publishing, but about other countries and cultures, every day life, and all the ups and downs you’ve shared together, the laughter and fun, and yes, even tears, in so many shared experiences,  All the writing and photography opportunities you’ve both received and given through guest posts, awards, blog hops, challenges, reblogs and competitions.

And who would have thought that one day you would write flash fiction?  Blogging made all this, and so much more, possible.

So don’t you tell me that you can’t keep blogging. Just don’t.

It’s tough when bloggers you’ve known have disappeared, for one reason or another.  Some were friends and now they’ve gone, just like that, and you miss them and all you can do is hope they’re okay.    But blogging takes a lot of commitment and sometimes things change.  Yes, you’re going to have to find a way to keep blogging and get your memoir written, take stock and recalibrate, but try not to panic in the process.

I know it’s bad sometimes, I know that things come along that derail you. I see you on those days when you sit down at your laptop and an hour later you’re still sitting there, unable to type a single word.  I know that panic when it rises like bile in your throat and with every second ticking by, you feel your memoir leaching away from you like ice cream left out too long in the warm.

You freeze; you can’t move; you can’t type.  Another writing day lost.

So. You do. Nothing.

I understand, I really do.  But you will get through this, trust me.

I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough.  I hope I haven’t upset you or said anything out of line.  I get fired up sometimes, when I have someone’s best interests at heart.  I only want to encourage you and say I’m here for you.  And don’t ever forget how far you’ve come.  You might not have achieved some of your goals so far, but you’re on your way, that’s what counts.  But you need to enjoy the journey, otherwise by the time you reach your destination (and you will, you hear me????), you’ll be so knackered, you won’t be able to enjoy anything.

And what’s the point of that?

But wait, one more thing: I realise I haven’t even mentioned the three-year blogging rule.  Funny actually, I don’t know why I even brought this up in the first place; after all, you’re not exactly one for sticking to the rules are you? But there is one rule I sincerely hope you’ll keep.

Here it is, and it’s simple:

Don’t Quit.

Got it?

Hang in there, and I’ll see you soon.

With love from Yourself xxx

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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194 Responses to Blogging And The Three Year Rule

  1. restlessjo says:

    I’m just starting to realise the enormity of your task, Sherri! All these wonderful responses and hugs, and you have to keep up with visits to all of them. And I thought you only had to come and see me! SO wrong 😦 But you must be able to take heart from the support you have here. So much has been said. So many wonderful points made. What can I add? We love you, darlin’. No two ways about it! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Well I don’t know how you do it, you have a huge following Jo, and rightly so! I do take great comfort from all the amazing comments and the support and the love here, I am overwhelmed with it, in a good way 🙂 I didn’t expect this kind of response to this post as I thought it was too long but I had to tell myself to get a grip and now I have! Thank you so much as always for being such a huge part of my blogging/writing journey. Not to mention, photography too! I am so looking forward to the nature challenge (although I’m sure I’ll cheat, ha 😉 ) as I do so much enjoy it. Thanks for the love Jo…love you back 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible post, Sherri, and I understand where you’re coming from, as I often wrestle with similar feelings as I try to finish up the sequel to The Eye-Dancers. But it’s because of wonderful people like you that I keep blogging. And it’s people like you who make it all worthwhile. Thanks for this fantastic and forthright post, and for everything you do!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful message Mike, and I would say just the same about you. I remember reading your blog from my earliest beginnings here and I couldn’t imagine sharing my blogging/writing journey without you 🙂 I’m really touched by your words…means a great deal to me and spurs me on to keep pressing on. If I can do the same for you, then I am happy as I think of you working hard to finish your sequel to The Eye-Dancers. And when you are finished, I will do all I can to help promote both your amazing books 🙂

      Like

  3. I get you, Sherri! Thank you for the lovely post. To another year filled with more lovely blog posts. From you and everyone of your readers and followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ste J says:

    when you say you saw me walking around the park, in my defence I was opening and closing my coat to keep my arms warm….and also it was cold.

    Seriously though, it is easy to think of chucking it all in but achieving what you have done and experiencing things may others don’t because the TV is just too compelling is a great thing. It does get tough but luckily your loyal followers understand when you disappear for a while besides who knows what will happen next and that sort of curiosity can never be shunned by such a gifted writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Phew! I’m so relieved, thanks for the explanation, lol!! You always bring a smile to my day my friend, and I can only apologise for taking so long to reply. The blogging black hole got the better of me last week, hence my scarcity around here, but hoping to remedy that this week. Thank you so much for your loyal readership Ste (not to mention your friendship…) it really means so much to me, especially when I haven’t been able to visit you as much as I would like lately, as with everyone. I will be over though shortly to catch up with you…and hopefully get back into the swing of things. Which reminds me…time for another walk around the park…

      Like

      • Ste J says:

        I am right loyal me ans also picking up the habits f being an absent blogger which I do unselfishly so you don’t feel too bad about your absences, that and I have been well lazy of late, too many things swirling in the mind. Still it does good to have a nap some days, even if I did wake up to a cat staring at me from 3 inches away. I was in my hoise by the way in case you thought I’d turned into Hobo Ste.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sherri I see you, I do because I have felt the same way with my projects. Hang in there, feel the creative vibe fire you up. Sometimes that is all we have that passion to create. I believe in you as many here by the looks of these comments. One day at a time this January that is what I have done. We also deal with many challenges due to Asperger’s and so life can get real busy. Keep writing no matter what. I only blog now when something sparks me up, I don’t believe you should blog every day or week, I just blog when the passion takes me there and lately its been good. Heres to another year of stretching your creative boundaries, set small achievable goals and celebrate when you reach them. Im cheering you on, you got this, don’t let all the talent go to waste. BIG HUGS Kath

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, there are certainly many challenges, and January, I can honestly say, had more than its fair share. But not giving up is paramount, and I thank you so much dear Kath, as always, for your amazing support and encouragement. You inspire me greatly and warm my heart always. I take to heart all you so kindly say here, ringing loud and clear, your cheers spurring me on. And you know I cheer you on just the very same… we’ve got this, you’re right! Here’s to a great year ahead, despite the challenges along the way. Big hugs right back to you…thank you again Kath ❤

      Like

  6. Oh boy, you are really in my head here, Sherri. The pressure to do it all while working full time and maintaining family obligations and a home, and writing and editing novels…whew! But yes, let’s ease up on ourselves. I post less frequently than I’d like to at times, get around to visit others less than I should, but we all understand. You have such a wonderful and unique perspective and I love that your hubby made a little celebration for you on your blog anniversary. He sounds like a keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Renee, you know of what I write, and that all-encompassing pressure that pushes and pushes…but yes, you are so right about easing up. Since I wrote this post, I’ve only managed to do one other post and only now attempting somewhat of a catch up on other blogs, but I am doing my best not to stress over it. It’s just not helpful is it? We can only do what we can and it is heartwarming to remember just how wonderfully understanding everyone here is about that. Family obligations are pressing and when a bad day hits (Asperger’s brings ups and down that cannot be predicted) it can take a while to recover those ‘lost days’. But I am working on my memoir and that is paramount, otherwise I’ll never finish it! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your lovely comment and yes, I would agree, hubby is defnitely a keeper 🙂 See you soon Renee, and I hope things are well with you…big hug ❤

      Like

  7. Mahevash says:

    Blown away. Great post and keep blogging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. marianbeaman says:

    It looks as though we are neck & neck when it comes to blog posting mileage, Sherri. I just celebrated my 300th blog-o-versary a few weeks later: https://plainandfancygirl.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/hoorah-blog-post-300/

    Congratulations on this milestone. You have a devoted following too I see.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sherri says:

    Hello Marian, how lovely of you to visit the Summerhouse and leave your wonderful comment and congrats. Thank you so much! I just read and commented on your delightful post 🙂

    Like

  10. mel says:

    Sherri, I love this. I came to your site today through googling ‘asperger’s and animals’ so your post is still reaching out to people. Keep going, and absolutely don’t quit!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Mel, I’m thrilled to know this, so moved by your comment on my ‘About Page’ and now reading your words here. This is precisely what makes blogging worth it, when wonderful people like you come here to tell me this. I can’t tell you enough what this means to me. And don’t worry, I won’t quit! And you must promise me to keep your writing dream alive. It is possible, and you will do it! Simply…thank you…so much…

      Like

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