Two weekends ago, I did a show. Not an LTYM show, which I now know how to do backwards and forwards, but a solo humor show. I combined a selection of live-readings from my blog, with a slide show and a bit of stand-up comedy, for an hour-long presentation at The Natural Parenting Expo. As we entered the venue, my dad joked that I would serve as the “un-natural parenting” portion of the expo. I shushed him because he unknowingly stole my opening line. I already have his face (with a slighter goatee) so I thought at least I should have my own opening line. The show went well, aside from bungling my remote-clicker debut. The slideshow clicker didn’t work, but I persevered with manual slide navigation, and you may now call me a Stay At Home Slide-show Rescuer. Thankfully, I kept the audience laughing throughout—even those not related to me or otherwise indebted to me laughter-wise.
I gave myself zero days to celebrate my first solo humor show, because I delivered the first draft of the LTYM manuscript last week. I forgot to celebrate that milestone, because I also closed some exciting soon-to-be-revealed LTYM business last week, while simultaneously preparing for our second LTYM: Madison rehearsal. Every single item mentioned in this post—the one-woman show, LTYM business, the book, the manual remote clicking heroism—this all happened as a direct result of my blog. None of it happened overnight, and no one discovered me. These projects evolved because in 2008 Husband did not want a third child, which ignited in me an insatiable need to create, which privilege afforded me the time and support to nurture, and was bolstered by a ton of asking for help and listening to generous guides and mentors.
I want to keep evolving, and blogging seems to help me do that. Here are 10 reasons why I still blog:
1. A conversation with an audience. I don’t write only because I love to write. I specifically love to write because I love interacting with an audience—whether online, on paper, or in real life.
2. A body of work. I pulled together my parenting humor show from my archives in a matter of days, and discovered I could also do a marriage humor show and probably a Midwestern inter-married Jewish Girl with 18 Parents Show, too. I can see what I’ve written over the past five years, and I can use it, build on it, or draw inspiration from it to create new works.
3. Good practice. Becoming a good writer demands writing a lot and continuing writing. If I didn’t keep this blog going I might still write, but I would write less.
4. My neuroses have a home. One of my writing weaknesses lies in the fact that it often takes me a while to figure out the why of my piece—what it’s about and where it needs to go. Writing is my favorite tool for clearing my head, and navigating my path in this world. I believe that blogging my thoughts brings me a greater understanding of myself and allows me to discover strengths within my flaws and foibles. If I only wrote when I knew exactly what I wanted to say, I’d never write. See? I found a strength, which leads to number 5.
5. An antidote for perfectionism. Forcing publish is how I get through writer’s block, THE END. As Cheryl Strayed said “Surrender to your own mediocrity.” This is the special sauce on my pickles-onions on a sesame seed bun. I keep surrendering–letting good enough stand in for great. I keep creating, and cool things keep happening.
6. Memory-keeping. My kids love to hear funny stories from their baby days. I have whole conversations documented that I would not otherwise. I can also track my progress (and backslides and missteps) as a writer, as a mother and a wife, as a daughter and a sister and a friend.
7. Community-building. LTYM has brought people all over the country into a sisterhood of story-sharing and truth-telling, and bringing towns together to lift up mothering and being mothered. I have friends all over the country due to blogging. Their intelligence, innovation, perspectives, and talents enrich my life and, I believe, make me a more interesting, better informed, and more compassionate human.
8. Creative-collaborating. Again, LTYM is one enormous ensemble project, but the internet also delivers endless opportunity for me to interact with actors, artists, comics, entrepreneurs, writers—creative people from all over the world who inspire me and up my game. Madison boasts plenty of talent, but without my online life my creative/professional life of the past five years could never have happened on this scale. All of the blog reading and commenting, even seemingly senseless tweeting and facebook-ing, provide the foundation upon which these collaborations flourish.
9. Staying Uncomfortable. Taking on new challenges keeps my career moving forward—whether taking risks with my writing, becoming a book editor, creating a one-woman show, or learning leadership. Staying uncomfortable for me means taking risks, maybe losing face once in a while, but increasing my potential exponentially. At least it has so far!
10. Interesting Opportunities: In addition to the projects I already described, within the past year I acted in an award-winning web-series (my episode hasn’t aired yet), I’ve worked with industry leaders, collaborated with incredible brands on fulfilling campaigns, and I’ve been invited to speak before crowds huge and small. I’ve gotten to travel around the country, meeting other creative people following their passions, and I’ve had the great honor of listening to hundreds of stories that might never have found a stage were it not for this blog and all of the bloggers I’ve met along the way.
Speaking of Interesting Opportunities, this summer I’m serving as an ambassasdor for Camp Invention. Stay tuned, because in the near future I get to giveaway a FREE WEEK of day camp to one lucky winner!!