This morning (January 7, 2016) I read in The Greenville News that Furman University student, Chris Drose, was named to Forbes’ annual “30 under 30” list. What did he do to earn that accolade? Well, Mr. Drose, who’s studying English and Economics, “uses his free time to research companies to determine how much their stock is actually worth.” He then posts his research results on his blog: BleeckerStreetResearch.com. His whistle-blowing report on patient deaths at the facilities of a company that provides treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health issues resulted in a 54% drop in their stock.
And then there’s my blog…I don’t think I’ll be making any “70 under 70” lists. This is only my first post since December 2nd! I’ve already broken a cardinal rule of blogging by not adding new content on a regular basis. To my horror, I just checked out an article entitled “The 23 Unwritten Rules of Blogging” by Lily Herman . This is what she says:
“5. If you want to keep people engaged and coming back, you should post three or four times per week on your blog (once a day is even better!). Ideally, plan and keep to a regular schedule. This keeps your readers from wondering whether or not you’re coming back.”
Seriously? Who can do that? And who has time or would even want to read something I wrote daily? Surely, people have more important things to do than read blogs every day.
Honestly, I sometimes feel that I’m a tortoise in a world, not of hares, but of gnats and hummingbirds. I confess…it makes me feel…well, old. But that isn’t quite it because most of the time I feel the same way I did when I was in my twenties, and I can’t believe I’m 64. It’s something about the digital world and cyberspace.
I’ve been on Facebook for several years, but it wasn’t until I started blogging and wanted to let people know I posted something that I started checking my Facebook newsfeed regularly. At first I found it exhilarating to be in contact with people I hadn’t been in touch with recently…school friends, former business associates, friends and family who have relocated all over the country. That, of course, has not changed, but recently, I have caught myself losing the odd hour here and there scrolling mindlessly through tons of posts that really don’t have a lot of meaning for me. After encountering the same political statement or inspirational quote posted multiple times, I had to ask myself if this activity was really serving any useful purpose in my life.
And now for Confession Number 2…since my December 2nd post, I hadn’t written a word until last Saturday, January 2nd. Shocking admission from a writer wannabe, right? Okay, in my defense, besides scrolling through Facebook, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner; threw a surprise birthday party one week later for my mother who turned 90 on December 3rd; spent the next week tooling around with my sisters (my sister, Jane, came up from Florida for my mom’s birthday and stayed for a week); did all the Christmas stuff…decorating, shopping, gift-wrapping, etc.; had a dinner for cousins from Connecticut who stopped for a visit on their way to Florida; met with my Cozy Mystery Writers critique group (which is kind of ironic, since I wasn’t writing much); and did all the other things it takes to make a life…cooked, cleaned, did laundry, walked the dog, yadayadayada. Confession Number 3: I’m not going to resolve to stop letting life get in the way of my writing because I’m enjoying my life, and I’m not exactly sure how much more of it I’ve got.
Confession Number 4: I have been a bit discouraged about my writing lately, but here I am today…blogging again. I’m also happy to say that since January 2nd, I actually re-wrote the first chapter of my cozy mystery. I’d gotten de-railed after learning that I violated police procedure in a crime scene I’d written in my first draft. It took me some time to work out a solution in my mind, but finally I did and I’m pleased with the result.
Slowly, I’m getting back on track…but, alas, that brings me to Confession 4. I believe I’m destined to remain a turtle in this fast-paced world of the 21st Century. But maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing. I just read that tortoises have one of the longest lifespans in the animal world and are a symbol of longevity in some cultures. There’s a good chance I may outlive the editing process.
Once again, I am encouraged. Take heart, dear readers and friends, if , like me, you cannot multi-task, and the lighting speed of this brave, new digital world leaves you breathless. Let’s not forget the lessons of our youth. Remember what Aesop said. “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Whether you are a tortoise, a hare, a gnat or a hummingbird, I wish all of you a most wonderful 2016 with abundant time to contemplate, savor and enjoy all that is dear to you. Happy New Year!
LOVE this post. I too am a turtle. In my field there is a growing emphasis on completing tasks faster and faster, as though speed is all that matters. The youngsters run around like madmen! As a proud member of an older generation, I believe that quality is much more important than speed and I tell folks who care, “I can do it right, or I can do it fast, but I can’t do both.”
Turtles have been my personal representatives for years, because they stick their necks out, and come out of their shells to get a head. All good reminders to me to keep going.
Really enjoyed reading your blog. I have much to learn. Thanks Sally. You encourage me. My 2nd blog will include links.
I love anything Sally Handley has to say!
Thank you, Murphy. High praise, indeed!
Sally, I totally agree with you… I don’t have the time to read a blog three times a week, let alone write one! There’s definitely more to life 🙂
I miss seeing you around the halls of SMPS in New York! Hope all is going well down South.
So good to hear from you, Abby. Knowing that even you, the person from whom I learned the ABC’s of social media, find this advice to bloggers excessive is quite a relief. I do miss New York and SMPS, but I am totally enjoying my new life here in the South. Best Regards, Sally