I’ve always wondered how people who travel around the world speaking at conferences get any work done. One week trip to a conference, for me, means major shuffling of project timelines, as well as huge disruptions to the family routine. This is more likely due to my being a sole proprietor with a home office, and living in a blended family environment where my kids have two houses, 4 parents, and I have a step-son part-time.
I also have this blog, write for two other blogs, and own a large online forum. It’s these later activities that fill a portion of most of my days, including all weekends and holidays. I did not take a honeymoon when I married Eric and in fact, spent our 2nd anniversary in the pub with SEO’s at SES Chicago.
I’ve never felt as though being out front, in the open with a blog and forums, indicated I wasn’t being productive. I may be kidding myself that you think I’m getting anything done, however.
This caught my attention. Disconnect, by Matthew Mullenweg, is a simple blog post that says,
One thing Iâ€™ve found in the past year is there is sometimes a huge disconnect between people who make noise on blogs, or might have impressive blogs themselves, and productivity in the real world.
Huh? The comments that followed are along the lines of “He who blabs too much is likely lazy as crap” and “Talk big, do little.” Generally, everyone agreed with Matt. If you have time to be blogging, who is doing the real work?
My mind rushed directly to my friend Barry Schwartz (aka Rustybrick), who wakes up a dawn to get into the office to report the news before his “real” workday begins. He does that for his blogs and others he writes for. His devotion to all of those blogs have made one of them award winning several years in a row. He also manages to run his own company.
I have only to look at my own life, where I blog while the kids get ready for school, before I ever go downstairs to my office, and at night I multi-task with family life on top of my head, dealing with countless interruptions and noise and all the while I’m either writing in my blog, or reading other blogs, working at Cre8asiteforums, or VPN’ing into my office computer to do “real work”. I have insomnia often, so it’s not unusual for me to be posting in the forums at 3am, and certainly I’m up to 11 – 12 midnight most days either working at the forums, doing research for my work, or getting ready for work projects the next day.
In other words, just because a blog post appears here in no way indicates I’m lying around eating bon bons.
By sheer accident, after learning how lazy and unproductive I am, moments later I found Blogging Yourself Real by Jeneane Sessum. She talks about writing ourselves into existence and the days of early blog pioneers, back in say 2000 – 2002. Just as important, she says, we are reading ourselves into existence.
She beautifully states:
I have always believed that what we do here changes who we are out there. I don’t know anyone who blogged back in 2001/2002 who has not been changed by the act of writing, and having been read, in public.
Ask yourself: Have you been shaped and changed by the conversations you have had in pixels? I have met my best friends here; I have been adopted family I never knew I had. I have never been more loved.
I began this blog in 2002 because I like to write and I wanted a way to keep myself “out there” in the public eye because I was a single, newly self-employed mom. This blog began as a news reporting blog, when there were 5 of us doing that for the SEO industry. Now there are hundreds of them. Some are CEO’s and Presidents of their own companies, and they still blog the news.
I could have accomplished the same goal without needing this blog, because of my exposure at Cre8asiteforums. But, I’m comfortable with a blog because I work in a virtual work environment. It’s nothing to go from working on a website, to flipping over to the forums, to my feeds, to my email, back to the work project, and never leave my chair. Blogging is like actually get out of the chair to have a conversation with a co-worker.
As a blogger, it’s not necessarily what you write ABOUT that matters, but it is about where you write FROM. You can be a CEO in pain from the loss of a loved one and write from that pain and turn out the best writing you have ever done on growing your customer base. You can be a teacher overjoyed and in love and write the best post you have ever written about distance learning. Just go in, step down, and w-r-i-t-e.
That is how you begin to exist.
I know it makes no sense for anyone who lives with me to understand how unproductive I am because I blog. For years I never stopped for lunch. Now, I may remember 3 days a week if I’m lucky. I stop when its time to feed my family. When that’s done, I blog, check the forums, do bookkeeping, answer email, read other blogs…
It’s far easier than flying to conferences to prove I work for a living.