Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about pressure. In fact, it seems like everyone’s talking about pressure in some form or another. I read some interesting things about blood pressure recently. And on the Today Show yesterday morning they featured a documentary by a mom of teenagers who got very frustrated with all the pressure her kids were under at school.
And I guess what I’ve been pondering is more akin to that mom’s concerns about her kids being under too much pressure to perform (although there is some increased blood pressure involved…). As an aspiring writer/blogger/creative person, I am constantly trying to improve what I do. Part of what I do in the blogging arena is trying to grow my blog in terms of readers. To put it another way, I feel some pressure to grow my readership. So far it’s been pretty slow going… But every now and then I’ll have a post that sort of “blows up”, at least in relation to the others. You can read a few of my more popular recent ones here, here, and here.
If you check out those three links, you’ll probably notice one thing that causes me a little bit of pressure – those are three very different posts. One was meant to be comical, another reflective, and the third was just simply a critique of a book I read. As I writer you’re always trying to find and hone your unique voice. But what am I supposed to do with these three posts? They’re so different, yet are three of my most popular posts from the last 2-3 months…
The other thing that makes me feel pressure as a writer is “the day after.” That’s what I call the day after one of those posts that gets a little more attention. I’m always thinking, “Man, 60-something people came to the blog yesterday. I need to follow that up with something good, because they’ll probably check it out today, too.” And 99 times out of 100 if I have a post that gets 50-60 hits one day, my awesome follow-up the next day will get, oh, I don’t know, 10 maybe… Frustrating…
But ultimately, I understand deep down that readership is not something I have a ton of control over. I can write my best stuff, and do everything I can to drive traffic towards PoG, but in the end people either like it or they don’t. They either come back for more, or they don’t. It’s not something I can control.
And I guess that’s where I really wanted to end up with this post… I want to communicate to you, the reader, what I have learned over the years about stress and pressure. The best way to deal with it, that I’ve found, is to just handle your business and trust (God, your coworkers, your project partners, etc.) that it will turn out alright. I keep coming back (for the most part) day after day to writing. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. But I keep coming back, keep putting my thoughts down in words, keep pushing ‘publish’… And that’s all I can do.