I had somewhat of an “a-ha” moment recently, where I realized that I am never going to make it big as a blogger. That may seem pretty obvious to those of you who read my blog more than once, considering weeks will pass between posts and my recipes have gotten more and more sporadic, but I never really sat down to think this whole “being a blogger” thing through until just recently.
I didn’t start this blog with the intention of becoming instantly famous so that I could quit my 9-5 office job and start working at home…although I’m pretty sure everyone who starts a blog secretly hopes, at least at one point, that will happen to them. Staying in my sweatpants all day and calling it work? Yes, please! No, I started this blog because I love to write, and blogging is an easy – and immediate – way to broadcast your writing to the world. I’ve dabbled in short stories, I’ve taken a couple online classes, I’ve even started (but never finished) several novels; but anyone who has ever aspired to be a writer or an author has I’m sure heard the same line – that unless you have a platform nowadays, publishers won’t even look at you. My first thought was, “what the heck is a platform?” So I did a little research and figured it out, and then I started a blog.
I’ll be honest. I get frustrated (and I’ll be the first to admit it – I get jealous) when I see yet another blogger announce that they are writing – or publishing – a book. What makes it especially frustrating is when the writing – and I somewhat apologize for this next statement – isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, there are great blogs out there; blogs that are funny and witty and even somewhat addicting to read – but I’m somewhat of a grammar nazi, so when I see yet another blogger publishing a book it makes me wonder, “would this person get published if they didn’t have a blog? if they weren’t a well known internet persona?” Most likely that answer would be no.
But the thing about blogging – and writing – is that it takes discipline. A lot of discipline. And I’ve written before about how I have a serious lack of discipline in my life. But those bloggers I mentioned who get their books published? They do have discipline. They put in the work and the hours required to become the popular figure they are, and it pays off for them. I simply don’t put in the time. I think about writing all the time, but very rarely do I ever act on any of my thoughts. I used to write on a daily basis – I would wake up around 0500 and write for a good 30-45 minutes before I had to get ready for work; in the evenings I would work on recipes and write blog posts; but then my work scheduled changed; I moved to a different building with a longer commute; I got married; we’ve been dealing with some stressful circumstances; and slowly my writing and blogging started to peter out. I’m just making excuses, I know. If I wanted it that badly, I’d find the discipline and sit down and do it. The heart of the issue really comes down to one question:
How bad do I want it?
I watched an interview with Olympic speed skater J.R. Celski where he discusses a time in his life where he was ready to quit skating for good. During a short hiatus he decided to make a documentary about the rapper Macklemore, who made a statement that hit me pretty hard and stuck with me, enough that here I am writing about it four months later. He said, “to be great at something you have to have done it for more than 10,000 hours.” (Which inspired Macklemore’s song, appropriately named 10,000 hours). He went on to say how you need to sacrifice everything, train every single day, you need to give up everything in order to be the best at your craft. So let’s say you train for 8 hours every single day, seven days a week – that’s 1,250 days. Break that down even further, that’s 3.4 years. If you tweak that a bit and take weekends off, working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – that’s 4.8 years. That’s a lot. That’s more than I can fathom, really. And Celski? Celski turned around and jumped right back into speed skating. He wanted it. But as motivating as I found that interview, I haven’t found the discipline to sacrifice anything, let along everything, to get back into writing. And why not? Why is it so hard for me to set aside one hour a day to write? I have the time, but most days I end up wasting it on the internet (reading the blogs of people who do make time to do what they love) or loafing around on the couch or reading a book (although I love to read even more than I love to write, so I don’t count that as a waste). There is no excuse for why I don’t use some of that time to do more of what I love – writing.
I need to focus less on being a “food blogger” and focus more on just being an “online writer”. I’ve written about direction before; it’s something I struggle with a lot. I love cooking and creating recipes, but it’s not my main focus. (Plus, it’s expensive! We’re on quite the budget right now, so we’ve been eating a lot of the same, inexpensive meals over and over again.) I love writing, but even that isn’t my focus most of the time. What I want is to be intentional. To write about things that mean something to me; things that I believe in, things that I care about. To write for God, and not for an imaginary online audience. I don’t want to blog, I want to write. So that’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m going to write when God puts something on my heart, and see where it goes. And if it goes nowhere? That’s OK, I’m still going to write.
Writing is what I love.