I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not I’m running a successful blog, especially in the last few months. I kind of abandoned it, and felt guilty for letting my readers down. I wasn’t gaining any new followers, my page views were abysmal, and my social networks had become stagnant. Fail whale.
When I first started this, I was purely driven by fame and wealth. I wanted to earn Scrooge McDuck status, making so much money I could swim in it. Eminem would write derogatory things about me in his songs, and I’d become the target of a Republican Tea Party attack. My aptly titled “Tonic” perfume would sell in Sephora stores around the world.
Okay, so that’s a bit of a stretch. Well, except the perfume part because I really do think it’d be cool if people smelled like I do. That mix of desperation, underboob sweat, and awkward sexual tension took me years to perfect, and I just want to share it with the world.
To be honest, I didn’t have a plan for this blog when I first created it. I knew I wanted my own writing space, and to make the few people who stumbled upon my posts laugh. Other than that, I was content to have it become nothing more than an online showcase for my writing.
When I launched Sips of Jen and Tonic, I met another blogger, J, who was also just starting out. There’s a bond that occurs between new bloggers because you’re all still writing for limited (or nonexistent) audiences. Seeing familiar faces in your comment threads is akin to the feeling a captain gets spotting a lighthouse after months at sea.
Although J no longer blogs regularly, she and I have kept in touch. I feel like we may have been sisters in another life, I adore her that much. Last week she sent me something that made me realize this blog has become so much more than some wannabe Theater in the Round. It was an ultrasound picture of her future son.
To say I felt honored was an understatement. It was an extremely intimate moment in her life, and one she wanted to share with me. I may have cried, but if anyone asks, I got something in my eye.
I’ve met so many extraordinary people in the year and a half I’ve been blogging, people who have invited me into their lives. I’ve read about breakups, new loves, weddings, deaths, births, and miscarriages. Some have confessed of their struggles with depression, anxiety, fertility, sexuality, substance abuse, and other personal demons. I’ve also laughed at tales of awkward sexual encounters, dating mishaps, and drunken debauchery.
That intangible stuff was slipping by me the whole time, those moments when people went from being a random blogger to someone I respected to someone I consider my friend. I’ve e-mailed with some, Skyped with others, and a smaller number of friends have my home address. Sure, I could keep a close eye on my page views, follower count, comments, post likes, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Klout score, but I’d be missing the point.
This blog is already successful. I’ve managed to turn a one woman dog and pony show into a powerful network of meaningful connections. I’ve been given glimpses into so many people’s lives, and have grown enough as a writer and person to give them a glimpse back into mine. What I now know is that there’s real value to all of the words I write and read these days, and there isn’t a metric around which could measure that.