The Art Of Blogging



avoidance  n 1. the act of keeping away from or preventing from happening.

Lord knows: These last few months have been full of so many surprises. Enough to last a lifetime or 4. But last week, here came a new one:

 I couldn’t bring myself to open up my laptop and work on GuestWomb.  After months and months of setting aside the hours for thinking and writing…suddenly there wasn’t room in my day. Not even 15 minutes.

 God knows it’s been a crazy busy time, and that was a legitimate excuse. And when those rationalizations ran short, I found a dozen other things to do.

 And wouldn’t you know this would come about just at the time things are getting REALLY interesting. We’re about four weeks away from the end of this voyage. I should be spending MORE time on the keyboard documenting the home stretch, not less…or none.

This little episode I’m experience only deepens my appreciation of the TRUE writers out there in the world. The guys and gals who toil in their 9-to-5 jobs and yet always find time for that blog entry, or another page in the great American novel to be. I admire their discipline and drive. Their need to express themselves.

I’m not in their class. Not by a longshot. But it’s something to aim for.

And here’s hoping that this post will break the ice.

 

I knew this journey was going to be full of surprises. But here’s one that I really didn’t expect: I’ve found a new guilty pleasure.

It’s keeping score of the blog. In other words, watching the trickle of folks come and go into the site. This blog is created in WordPress and they’ve got a pretty nifty dashboard that lets me see all kinds of stats and numbers. I go up there 3-4 times a day to view the scoreboard.

Which is pretty silly because the traffic is more like a two lane dirt road in the middle of Nevada than a street scene in midtown Manhattan. But it’s slowly growing.

The charts go from just a couple of people wandering in. Then some more. And a few more. And now it’s a pretty steady stream everyday. My traffic. My audience. And it’s nice to know that my words are becoming a part of a few people’s day.

Most of the people who come upon this place are because of my participation in others’ blogs, adding comments or messages with my web link. But more than a few have literally stumbled upon this place by doing Google searches. WordPress actually records what search term people are using to click into GuestWomb. So this abridged list below are actual search terms from Google that brought people to my site:

  • Guest Womb. GuestWomb. Guestwomb.com Yep. This must be my Mom, forgetting the name of the site.
  • Gestational Surrogacy. Surrogacy. Sure, all those make sense.
  • Tila Tequilla. Tila Pregnant. Tila Tequilla Smoking Yeah, those Tila updates have been popular.
  • Embarrassing Facebook Pictures. Hm.
  • Mexican Mowing Lawn. What?
  • Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, courtney
  • Surrogacy Horror Stories. Horror Stories of Surrogacy. Well, hopefully not.
  • Funny Man Mowing Grass Images.
  • Electromicroscope.
  • “Bobs Mail Order” sample. Scratching head.
  • Baseball Throwing Yips
  • It is illegal to paint sparrows to sell. I should hope so.
  • Michigan law wife’s hair. Uh, ok. I hope they found what they needed on GuestWomb.
  • Bear stained glass.
  • Scariest Roller Coaster. Well, maybe.
  • Lollipops banned in washington state
  • Oldest Dallas cowboys cheerleader girl. Would that be Courtney?
  • Virginia law tickle woman
  • Pimp suit
  • Paris Hilton baby photo. Oh please God no.
  • Misdeeds. You’ve come to the right place.
  • Ted Kaczynski timeline.
  • Illegal fishbowl on bus

And I’m not making this up:

  • Baby pic with big dick.

Stealing a line from a famous internet author:

Yep, these are my readers.


The fact of the matter is — we can see the finish line. Yeah, it’s still 13 weeks off, but the days are flying by. (Well, they are for me. Michelle might have a slightly different take).

I’ve always been the kind of person who looks downstream, straining to see what’s around the next bend. Is it rapids? Is it a long slow shallow. Or is that faint yet growing roar going to Niagra Falls!

My eyes stray to the horizon not because I’m bored or unhappy with where I’m at. It’s usually just the opposite, as it is now. Michelle’s journey has been rewarding in a surprising number of ways and we’ve focused on making the most of this challenge. Dare I say I’ll be sad when it’s over? Maybe.

No, I just like to know what’s next — and what are my options?  I’m a world-class ‘muller’, and you can usually find me sifting dozens of things over in my noggin in the background.

In fact, let’s take a current inventory of the things that are churning in the sub-routines of my mind while most of my brain is engaged elsewhere:

I know I can lose that 25 lbs. and do an old guys basketball league next fall….like I’ve vowed to do the last 10 years. (Back when it was 10 lbs. and it was a not-so-old league).

If I move my spatula fast enough, could I really make scrambled eggs on the BBQ?

That useless dog. Why can’t I train him to run out and get the newspaper in the morning? Yeah, if the paper came wrapped in bacon.

And why are all my subconscious thoughts revolving around FOOD in some way? Stupid company weight loss challenge.

In fact about the only non-food related thought crossed my mind lately is this: What come after GuestWomb.com? When all the contracting-pushing-beathing-screaming-it’s-a-baby-boy-crying is all through…. what’s next?

Do I really try to package this amazing story into a book? Backfill it with more content from the IPs — which we haven’t explored in any detail here. Add back in all the really juicy content that would make a book sales zoom. (WAS TIGER WOODS REALLY THE FATHER?!?!) Find an editor who could hold his/her nose and really whip it into shape? And then trawl for a publisher who might want to take a risk on a promising, not so young writer?

Or am I content to simply leave this wonderful tale on this cyber platform, add any postscripts this summer that might give it closer and then just let it float in the ether.

The one thing I’m sure won’t happen after GuestWomb — to become a fulltime surrogacy commentator. I’ve encountered some simply amazing people in the blogosphere who have made surrogacy issues practically their life’s work. My hat is off to them — they’re performing a great service to those wanting to explore this world. But when this kid is safely launched into the world….I’m done with this topic.

As you can tell on your first glance at GuestWomb, this blog is ANYTHING but a ‘how-to’ guide to this journey. It’s much more of a “OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT HAS SHE GONE AND DONE PLEASE HELP ME” kind of narrative.

Or will THIS blog spur me on to write something that doesn’t involve Michelle’s private parts. Maybe even blogs that go something like this.

I don’t know just yet. But if you see a faraway look in my eyes during a meeting — or heaven forbid during tomorrow morning’s rush hour — you’ll know that I’ll be thinking about the possibilities.

Or pondering this eternal question:

What doesn’t go well with bacon?


Guilt. Such a powerful force, especially for a kid who grew up in an Episcopal/Catholic family. The Jews might think they corner the market on this particular emotion, but be assured that we WASPs have our own potent brew of remorse du jour. More persistent than gravity, guilt is like a tsunami of emotions rolling up most everybody in its path.  

But not everyone. Some foks can shrug it off and not let guilt affect them. That’s not me. My well developed ability to react to it was passed down through my genes I’m afraid. It’s both a blessing and a curse for me. Guilt — or the avoidance of it — is what makes me get up at 5 a.m. to make sure the kids’ lunches are packed, dog and cat fed, fire started in the fireplace, coffee brewed, breakfasts on the way — all while Michelle gets in the last of her daily 11 hours of sleep. (just kidding).

Most people experience most of their guilt in a ‘oh, why did I do that’ regret. I express it as a ‘if I don’t do this/that I’m going to feel guilty’ reverse (or is that perverse?) kind of way. It’s a powerful motivator for me. Maybe I get guilt confused with having a sense of duty or purpose, but the result is the same.  I feel lousy if I don’t get thing done. 

It’s also what puts those knots in my stomach when I realize I’ve forgotten to do this, or call that person.

Or to blog. Yeah, really. I feel guilty about taking the time to do my daily keystrokes.

And that’s pretty silly. For one thing, it’s not like I’m sitting around on my ass watching TV in my off hours. This New Year has been chock full of a heavy load of work, helping my kids do massive homework projects, and finding many hours eaten up after being voted onto the board of directors for a local non profit charity.

The other ridiculous part of my Blog-guilt: It’s not like  my audience of 23 people and 411,232 spambots are waiting with baited breath for my next profound offerings.

And yet still I feel that nagging sensation each time I see an open date on the calendar on the GuestWomb dashboard without an entry.

Let’s see if I can do better. Can’t let down all those spambots just itching to crawl all over this site.

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How in the world did I manage to include this picture in a blog about my pregnant wife? Amazing!

My wife is fond of saying that men are simply incapable of multi-tasking. And of course I always rise up to this challenge against my entire gender by dismissing her claim as baseless.

“That’s bunk,” I say, “I know plenty of men like me who can watch a football game on TV, text their friends on their cell phone, call to order pizza on the land line, and check their fantasy football stats on ESPN.”

“OK,” she says. “How about doing laundry while dinner is cooking, overseeing the kids’ homework and talking to my Mom on my bluetooth headset? OH, and be 5 months pregnant with a child for another couple.”

“Um…….,” I quicklycounter. “I can also think about the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders at the same time, too.”

OK, she’s got me there. Especially about that pregnancy part.

So it’s true that I may be multi tasking challenged, especially when it comes to this blog. While I”ve been busy living life to the fullest for the past few weeks, it’s been damned hard to find the time to write about all that living.

I need to learn what the other 800 million bloggers out there seem to have learned — to find a balance between:

#1 Doing.
#2 Thinking about what we’ve been doing.
#3 Recording the product of #1 and #2 for posterity.

Easier said than done on a daily — or even weekly — basis. I’m thinking that I’m going to be a streaky kind of blogger. Punching out a few posts now and then. Then once in a blue moon: Exploding with numerous posts during those all-too-rare moments when creativity intersects with a high energy level, combined with five spare minutes where I can find time to put fingers on keyboard.

And with the football season sadly coming to an end, maybe those times will occur more frequently.

And yet I am pretty sure I can both blog AND think about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.


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After inviting a tiny piece of the planet to learn about our little secret, I took a much-needed break from the blog.

The last couple of weeks has reminded me of buying our first house. Before we could even take a deep breath and relax…we were eager to show it off to friends and family.  Sure, lets add some more stress on top of stress. A lot of cleaning, some touch up paint, making sure that everything looks just right. And then you throw open the doors and invite everybody in.

And you wonder what people think. Did they really like the place? Were they just being polite? Even more stress on top of stress.

I’m not sure what kind of reaction I was looking for. A round of applause? A huge influx of traffic to the site? Angry emails from pissed off family members? A call from Barack Obama?

Well I got most of the above. Alas, the President was unavailable; must have been playing a lot of pick up hoop games lately.

But the comments were nice. Surprisingly so and I’m thankful to those of you who have gone out of their way to discuss the blog with me. And a huge thank you to the dozens that have already subscribed to it! I hope I’ll be able to continue to earn your attention, and to entertain and educate.

Speaking of educate: that’s what we’ve been doing with our own families in the past week. I burned through a cell phone battery trying to explain to my Mom why it was important to share the news. Electronic publishing…blogs…RSS feeds…it’s not part of her world. And neither is an open discussion of the subject of surrogacy. I think that’s what bothers my parents the most. It’s not that they object to what Michelle is doing. It’s our willingness to let other people in and experience this with us via GuestWomb. It’s a completely foreign concept to them, and it’s probably an area where we’ll agree to disagree.

As for Michelle’s family, well I’ve certainly given them something for them all to talk about! I drew some pretty sharp protests from a couple of them who insisted they did not share what I perceived to be a family-held view — she’s doing it for the $$. Lesson learned, I made some bad assumptions and edits have been made.

And it triggered a lot of phone calls and emails, back and forth between Michelle and the rest of her family. And frankly, I’m glad. Not that I may have caused some hurt feelings — that’s not my intent. But that it allowed Michelle yet another opportunity to explain the ‘why’ in her decision.

This flurry of communication even extended to our IPs. Michelle shared some of her family’s lack of understanding about her motives. And B and M responded with a moving, emotion-laden note for Michelle to send back to her family.

Will her family ever really get it? Will my own family feel comfortable with sharing this amazing journey with the rest of the world?

Will Obama ever bookmark this blog?

Stay tuned, please.

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ENO Pagliacci 3 c Robert Workman

The house lights have dimmed. The opening overture has died out. The director gives a nod and the curtain goes up.

GuestWomb goes public.

After hemming and hawing. Tweaking. Fine tuning. And…alright…stalling, plain and simple: It’s time to open this blog up to other eyeballs besides mine.

I’ve been dreading and anticipating this moment at the same time. Opening this blog up is like opening myself up — never an easy thing. And yet I’m proud of what I’ve written. I’m even more proud of what Michelle is doing. And it will be nice to let others – a lot of them – in on our little secret.

I’ve only shown a few bits and pieces to Michelle. I’ve read entries to my daughters. But for the most part, this has been my own private domain. That all ends on Friday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. I’m going to send a series of emails out to family, friends and work colleagues, announcing the existence of this blog.

Most people on this email list have no idea abut Michelle’s big adventure. I’m sure there will be a lot of ‘WTF’s and ‘OMG’s in the reactions. (And that’s just from my Mom : )  Yeah, they haven’t seen it yet either.)

And maybe a few: ‘So that’s why Steven’s looked so stressed the last few weeks’. Ha. As if I’m the one under any stress or duress.

But I think I’m really going to get a lot of “WOWs!” and “How wonderful for her!” I’m sure I’m going to be bombed with a lot of questions and reaction over the weekend. What I’m really hoping is that more than a few folks subscribe to either an RSS feed or an email chain. Meaning they want to follow this saga, and watch this story unfold over the next eight months.

Meanwhile, the next part of my master blog plan begins to unfold. With the help of webmaster Dan, we’re going to make this visible in search engines using some of the most common key words. I’m going to be sending out link requests to the top 50 surrogacy sites. I might even spend a few coins on pay-per-click ads and banners on Google.

Because if I’m letting in other eyeballs besides my own….might as well get as many as I can.

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