Friday, May 16, 2008

Week Two in the Process: Evaluating the Importance of This Blog

In which Douglas contemplates his binary navel.

Camera Twirl #4One thing I noticed now that I've mentally put my blog on the back burner is that I am awfully dedicated to something that doesn't do anything for me. I refer, of course, to earning money, the universal validator of purpose and relevance. However, if I wanted to blog for money, I certainly wouldn't blog here. I know you folks don't click on the Google ads. If I just wanted money, I'd update my Bear Grylls blog which earns money through Google ads and affiliate purchases each and every month. But I don't update that blog. Instead I blog here.

That doesn't sound smart. Why do I blog here?

Frankly, I feel like I've got a free lemonade stand on the side of the Information Super Highway. People expect the stand to be there when they feel like dropping by. They also expect the lemonade to taste the same as the last time they visited. If my current lemonade has a faint hint of Depression and they were expecting the sparkling flavor of spicy ADHD, then I lose them. Same if it's the other way around. The majority of readers aren't here to learn more about Douglas Cootey. They just want some more lemonade, and only when they're in the mood for it. The end result is that I stay still while my readers move on with their lives.

That can't be any fun. So why do I blog here?

Roughly 3000 people a month drop by for my quirky flavored lemonade. Most don't bother letting me know what they think of it. They just drink and go. I have no idea one way or another what it is they enjoy here or why some never drop by again. This bothers me sometimes, especially when I'm paying attention to stats. For example, I'm down 30 subscribers from last month, but then I don't know why I was up 30 subscribers to begin with.

That doesn't sound like fun, either. So why do I blog here?

The readers who do take time to comment truly make my day. I love feedback. Even the negative kind is better than silence. My need for feedback means I don't just blog for myself. I blog to be heard.

Ah, so I blog for feedback, I blog to express myself, and I blog to be heard. Is that enough, though?

Lately, I feel by writing about my weaknesses all the time I am allowing them to define me.
I don't believe that is a good path towards success. My message, that you can master your disabilities without psych meds by utilizing optimism, humor, determination, and a large dose of self-analysis, is meaningless to many people. They like their psych meds. They feel the meds are worth the risk of side-effects. They need solutions now, not ten years down the road as I have done. And besides, who am I but just another guy with an opinion?

If I really want that opinion to have any weight then I will need to find success - financial success. This will mean taking my disabilities on in a way that is more intense than I have ever attempted. It will mean finding success outside of my blog in a way that is national, not local. I have current freelance work. I've also had art published in England, and my scrapbook papers have been sold around the world, but none of it has built to a critical mass. Each success seems detached from the other. In the end, I'm still just this guy.

Since I want more for myself, and since I am determined not to let my disabilities define me, I must simply roll up my sleeves and work harder. I'm glad I'm taking time to analyze just how terribly ADHD interferes with my productivity. Instead of just rolling with it day by day, I'm stepping back and seeing things in a new light.

Lastly, I want to thank all my readers for their subscriptions and comments and time. I know you are busy and I appreciate every one of you. I'm not going anywhere. The Splintered Mind is one of the most successful things I have ever done in my life. I have touched thousands of people while coming to terms with my own limitations. It has been a good experience for me and I'm glad for the opportunity. I just think it is time I grow here to incorporate my new goals. This blog needs to be part of the creative process for me, not separate from it. I'm just not entirely sure how I'll bridge the gap, though, and not lose readers, but I have some great ideas.