Very Good

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Sunday was a good day.

A recent piece that I wrote for Provoketive got linked by Fred Clark (slacktivist) and Matthew Paul Turner included me as one of his 25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading.

The previous Sunday was less good, since I was left off of Sarah Bessey’s list of 50 Lady Bloggers.

On one blogroll, but not another. Retweeted by this blogger, but not that one. Included, excluded. Praised, ignored.

I measure my days, my worth, on whether or not I fit in to this writing world of which I’ve called myself a member.

Do I belong? Do I stack up?

As one who has run along the fringes of the crowd for most of my life, I often walk a line between not caring and caring too much.

I know that these lists and ranks and retweets and likes are not what matter. I know that I’m supposed to write for myself and not worry about the reactions of others. I know that I’m not supposed to allow what other folks think of me influence what I think of myself.

But I find that no matter what I know, these things still matter.

Belonging is something that is deeply ingrained in each of us. The first negative thing that God noticed was “alone.” God was there, but man was still alone until there were other people with him. We need one another.

My mistake lies in giving more weight to some relationships than others. It’s okay to feel a little sting about being left out, and it’s okay to feel pride at being included. But I need to keep them in perspective.

Sunday was good because of a couple of generous writing mentions. But it was very good because I got to make music with my best friend. It was very good because I got to get ice cream with my family (and then my sons and I won the race home!). It was very good because I got to sleep in the same bed as my husband after a lot of travel.

It was very good because I wasn’t alone.

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What has made a recent day very good for you?

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Today I’m linking up with Joy in this Journey for Life: Unmasked, where we share life openly. Click here to see the other posts and leave your own.

  • http://lifebeforethebucket.blogspot.com/ Adrian Waller

    Today, I wrote about yesterday, when I got stuck on an elevator. Surprisingly, it made last night “very good.”

    I also recently wrote something similar to this, Alise. I get frustrated that I can’t seem to break the wall that most other bloggers seem to have formed around themselves and their blogging friends. I know that all I can do is be myself, but it seems that, much like in real life, my real self isn’t very appreciated (even though I’m assured that I’m a very kind and very caring person). It’s disappointing to me, because most of these people are Christians, but the virtual church that has formed as a result looks so much like the institutional, exclusive Church that I’ve grown to have so much disdain for.

    Here’s the post I wrote: “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em. If You Can’t Join ‘Em…” http://www.lifebeforethebucket.com/2012/04/if-you-cant-beat-em-join-em-if-you-cant.html

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Love the elevator post – good stuff! And you’re right – there are some very good times in the journey.

      That wall can be a tough one to navigate. Some days I think, “Yeah, I’m totally IN.” And then, not. I want to acknowledge that it sucks when on the outside, but also not DWELL there. That can be hard to do.

  • Michelle Woodman

    *Love* this! Because you are right — in and of themselves, wanting things like shout-outs and retweets and community isn’t bad. But when all that alone determines the ‘goodness’ of a day, of a life, is when we get ourselves into a hot mess.

    A recent Very Good Day for me involved running my first 5K with my husband, coffee with his mom, getting some stuff done around the house, and an evening hanging out at home. Nothing fancy, but it was lovely all the same. :)

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      EXACTLY. I think it’s okay to pat ourselves on the back when good things happen with regard to something that we care about, even if it’s “just” blogging. But perspective is important. 

      And your very good day sounds a lot like some of my favorite very good days. 

  • http://sarahaskins.com Sarah Askins

    Oh how I have been here! Well, to be honest, I’m there right now. While I love the new direction of my blog and poetry, I still hurt when stats are worse than ever, not being noticed or being noticed by people who simply want to hurt me emotionally any way they can. But there is still joy when I get another subscriber, when I get a comment from someone outside my faith saying how my poetry spoke to them.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I hate that people don’t stop by and read your poetry, because it is SO GOOD. 

      Hey everyone. Seriously, you should click on Sarah’s avi NOW and read her blog. It’s just beautiful.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    It’s so hard to keep perspective with blogging stuff! I try to remember that I am not beholden to stats and ranks and lists. My readers choose to read me and I try to live up to that honor, regardless of retweets and comments and the feedback that helps us feel better about our vulnerability. At the end of the day, blogs enhance our lives but they don’t define our lives. Thank God for that.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Enhance without defining. That’s a great way to put it. Those enhancements are good things. But we can’t let them be the WHOLE thing. 

  • http://teamaidan.wordpress.com/ Heather

    I’ve become a regular stats checker on my blog. I tell myself that it’s because I really want to reach other parents and let them know they’re not journeying along. It’s totally not. I want to matter; I want to be liked. In the end, my days are very good because I’ve lived the things I write about.  Thanks for sharing. Heather
    P.S. Please don’t tell anyone my ugly stat checking secret! :)

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      As another confesses stats checker, your secret is safe with me. ;-D

      I think being liked is an okay thing to want. I know I want it. I just need to make sure that I want it in a healthy way, if that makes sense.

  • http://twitter.com/ModernReject Nicole Cottrell

    I so get this Alise. Man, do I get it. I’m way too quick to measure the goodness of a day by what I achieved, instead of who I had to share it with. Thank you for a sweet reminder to focus on what (and who) matters.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      When I step back and remember those people, it makes it much easier to let go of some of the less important stuff. Not UNimportant, just LESS important. Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.christianbyassociation.com/ Nikki Weatherford

    I think this is something that everyone can relate to on some level. I definitely feel like an odd ball in the Christian blog world. It seems I’m a few decades late and now I’m just too old school to ever fit in with the cool kids. Which would suck, and be very defeating, if my ultimate goal was to be popular here. We have to keep perspective, and we have to determine what our motive is in doing what we do. Is it about pleasing people and fitting in, or is it about being obedient to the call that God has placed on our life. I’m fighting my fleshly inclination toward the former, and trying very hard to cling to the latter. Great post, Alise. It was very encouraging for me this morning. :-)

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I think we all struggle with the fitting in problem. There’s always going to be SOMEWHERE that we don’t fit, and where we feel left out. So we need to keep doing what we’re doing and that’s how we fit in. Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com/honestly-adoption-the-blog/ Kim Van Brunt

    Just wrote about this today, too — how when my focus is off, it really messes with my writing. Have you found that to be true? When something good happens, or when I feel excluded, or when I’m measuring my worth by analytics, it all gets swirly and confusing and I’m not sure if I’m writing for my readers or writing to collect them. “What can I write so that people will like me?” is never a good place to start. 

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Writing for or to collect – that’s a tough thing to figure out. I’m kind of in a struggle with that myself right now. I’ll be commenting over at your place in just a minute. ;-D

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    Thank you for being open, Alise. I feel like I did a very similar roller coaster. up-down-up–barf. repeat.

    But listen….You had a win monday at my blog. hundreds of people read your post in just a few hours….
    Or was I just feeding the monster just now. whoops.

    I was just thinking of what a failure I am. I literally put out $75 to *give away* a book. So far the momentum has been very underwhelming.

    Being that this creating stuff doesn’t pay any bills, I thought I’d cheer myself up by making a video. Or maybe I was just distracting myself. It’s about creating a homemade moleskin journal out of used cocktail napkins…because that’s what poor people (me) have to do.

    To find it google “hobo moleskin” and enjoy.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

       oh I loved that video, haha.  I was viewer #1.  Very fun and random :D

      • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

        SO glad you liked it. YES. random and nutty.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      What’s crazy is that I’ll be happy about the guest post, but then my brain will say, “Yeah, but there’s no way it was as many people as Sarah got!” (I feel like I’m picking on her today – please know – I ADORE SARAH BESSEY!) The comparison thing plays heavily into all of this for me. 

      And the video is brilliant. Love it.

  • http://sarahkocischeilz.wordpress.com/ Sarah Koci Scheilz

    SO hard, friend, to keep our jealous hearts in check in this very-big-but-very-little writing community, isn’t it? And sometimes I fall flat on my face trying. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one who whimpers with jealousy sometimes.

    And what made a recent day very good for me? Simple but awesome things, like coffee, dinner with friends, finding peace in an unexpected place . . . wonderful stuff.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Those simple things are where very good is found so often, in my experience. 

      And I hate jealousy. Most days I can deal with it, but every now and again it gets the best of me. There have been a lot of lists lately. Those tend to be the ones that get me, because every time I think I’m making some progress, those remind me, nope. And then I get all sullen.

  • http://www.brownpaperandstrings.com/ Jamie H

    I feel you so much in this post. I have to give myself pep talks about what is really important.  Retrain my thoughts and focus on Him and His message to me.  Like reminding myself not to stay on the computer checking messages, etc. when my kids are in the room with me and need me.  Or a myriad of other ways this applies to me.  My blog is small, so my stats are low.  I want readers, but I don’t look forward to the struggle with them.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      There are definitely advantages to the smaller blog – Jon Acuff talks about that in Quitter and I think he’s right. When we’re smaller, we can write a lot more honestly and without people getting in our faces. That’s not a bad thing. 

      Of course, it’s not bad to be able to reach more people with the message either, so there are advantages to both. But in the midst of things, it can be hard to think of what they are.

  • http://jenniferluitwieler.com/ Jennifer Luitwieler

    So much truth in here, as one who is not on any of those lists. I walk this line, too. Realizing that I cannot measure my worth by these metrics even while craving them. knowing that I will not bend who I am to seek the accolades of humans, though I maybe sorely tempted. If one writes, or does something to which they feel called, then doing it is more important than being on a list. I cherish the idea you present here, too, of not being alone. No small thing, love.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Yeah, the wanting it and the contentment without it is a hard balance to strike. I hit it very rarely. 

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    Thanks for giving voice to the thoughts and insecurities that plague so many of us…and for ending with the joy that is rooted in the ordinary, the part of life that makes the living worth it.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Love the ordinary. Those things make me happy. 

      • http://www.inamirrordimly.com Ed_Cyzewski

        Thanks for this Alise (and for your comment Addie). I wish we could sit down for coffee, the three of us that is, and talk about this. I feel like there’s so much I could say about this stuff. There’s so much obscurity and rejection in writing. I was telling Addie at the festival that everything I’ve accomplished took more time and more work than I would have guessed. 

        Everything else I could say here just seems to come out wrong on the screen, so I’ll just leave it there for now. However, I assure you that you’ve hit on one of the big struggles that’s ongoing for writers. I appreciate your honesty and wisdom.

        • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

          You know I’d be in favor of coffee any time! 

          It’s funny because the whole writing thing requires community. I have had some opportunities for growth thanks to people who are already established, and that means a lot to me. I don’t begrudge anyone those boosts, because I know they really are necessary. But the community can sometimes feel very in or out at times, and that can be rough. 

          Thanks, as always, for weighing in. Appreciate it!

  • http://everydayawe.com/ Stephanie Spencer

    This is such a profound thought ” Belonging is something that is deeply ingrained in each of us. The first negative thing that God noticed was ‘alone.’”

    Yes, yes.

    I had a wonderful encouragement recently. One of my (few) email followers sent me a note about how much one of my posts encouraged her in a difficult time. It was super thoughtful and a great reminder to me. My writing has touched her life. If she is the only one, that would still be success in God’s eyes. Because He cares deeply about individuals, not about popularity. I’m so thankful for her note.

    P.S. Though I follow you on Twitter, I actually clicked over from someone else who tweeted this post. I love the beautiful irony of how your community is responding to your thoughts on belonging.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Those personal interactions can be really profound. I don’t in any way want to impugn popularity, but it shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all of what we’re about. And your PS made me smile! 

  • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

    Amen, Alise!  I could spend all my life figuring out whose lists I’m on and whose lists I was left off of.  And in the meantime, while I’m trying to measure myself by everyone else’s standards, I get nothing done!

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Exactly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a list. Those little bits of recognition are nice, but we can’t spend all of our time running after that, and it can be very easy to do. 

  • factmeetsfiction

    Ah! What a well-timed post — it spoke right to me!

    So many times, my security, ability, identity as a writer — OR EVEN A SUCCESSFUL HUMAN BEING — is warpedly wrapped up and determined by my day’s stats, subscriptions, etc. IT DRIVES ME BONKERS.

    Check stats, “that can’t be right,” REFRESH. Check stats, “that can’t be right,” REFRESH.

    An endless, aggrevating cycle . . . that I so easily get suckered into and caught in the loop.

    Thank you for the GREAT perspective!

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      That’s it for me – when I gauge my success as a person on the success of my writing. Obviously if we’re looking for any kind of publication, we need to be aware of stats and all of that crap, but when it bleeds over into our value as a person, it’s not cool. 

  • http://kerrysheadybrew.blogspot.com/ Kerry Miller-Whalen

    Alise – I love your writing.  One of the reasons I have continued to read your blog, is that you so often have a way of cutting through the crap and getting to the stuff that really counts.  Keep doing it!!  xx

    Oh – and a recent “very good” day was very much coloured by really connecting with a close friend.  That’s the stuff that matters, isn’t it?

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Aw, thanks so much! 

      And genuinely connecting with other people is my favorite. I really just don’t get enough of that.

  • http://randomreflectionz.com/ Christie

    I really enjoy all of your posts, and this one was no exception.  A very good day is one in which I am feeling confident in myself and peaceful.  Not like I am swimming upstream, but that I’m floating along with the current.  I totally hear you on the power that likes, tweets and sites states hold over us.  As a new blogger, I am struggling with this a great deal. 

  • pastordt

    wonderful perspective, alise. and this is always the problem with ‘lists’ of any kind – someone worthy always, always gets left off. so, i’m delighted you got a couple of nice mentions, even more delighted that your husband was home for a bit and that you are finding your way to a good middle ground in this crazy-making world of putting it out there in writing and receiving attention for it. we all need to find our way there!

  • http://rawfaithrealworld.wordpress.com/ RawFaith

    Well what in the heck was Sarah thinking??? I will tell you that you are in the top 3 of the blogs I actually read on a relgular basis. So there. :)

  • Laura

    Hi Alise, thank you for sharing so openly. I was so encouraged at the reminder that life is not about who does or does not read my blog. It’s nice to hear that even well established bloggers like you feel left out sometimes. That gives me hope that just because no one reads my blog doesn’t mean I don’t have something worth saying. And just so you know, if I were to create a list, you’d be on it. :)