Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Happy birthday, Our Third Thirds

It’s now been a year of blogging. 170 blog posts. Lots and lots of illustrations. Hooray! But time for a performance review: Is it doing what I’d hoped, both for me and you? Is it doing things I didn’t expect; did it surprise me? You?

The problem is that Internet writing can often feel like a black hole. I don’t see an audience, hear any applause. Instead, I get “likes” and comments and analytics telling me how many page views I got. I just came across a bit from Penelope/Meredith who said blogs tend to go away unless readers show their appreciation. “It takes … will to produce [a blog]. It takes hearing from, and feeling the support of, your audience to marshal that will.” How else will I know if my blog works for you?

She recommends:
•    Like posts on Facebook. “Even better, comment.” Facebook only sends out posts with “engagement.” So engage.
•    “Click through to the website. Those clicks matter.”
•    Recommend to a friend.
These things apply to me!

In the midst of my intermittent floundering over the last year, I discovered the required Big Three: Structure, Purpose, and a Sense of Community. I didn’t know the blog would help with all three. I didn’t know it would build connections as people touched base after reading a post. That is the biggest treat!
In the very first post, I elaborated on the ten reasons why I thought the Third Third was such a big deal and what I wanted to happen. This was #9: “How do I re-insert creativity into my life?”

So I’d say that one worked. I write and paint regularly. Sometimes it’s hard; I worry that I’ve run dry and have nothing to say. Most times, a thought is rummaging around in my brain and I am SO GLAD that I have a ready vehicle to try and work out its expression. I like figuring out how to say things both verbally and visually.

The biggest surprise: the positive reaction to the illustrations. I’d always thought of them as little doodles; the ones I drew when I was ten look the same. It has been really, really startling and delightful to get compliments on the art. (Now, spread the word!)

It helps to have a year’s worth of posts that remind me of what I have been doing/thinking/wondering about. Reading over old blogs gives me a nice burst of pleasant reminiscence … and makes me feel less like a lazy shit. So I’ll count that as an unanticipated benefit of the blog.

When readers tell me that posts have spoken to them, that sometimes I help them clarify their own explorations, questions, (anxieties, tribulations), I feel great relief! Your reader comments on the website or Facebook are often so eloquent and insightful they leave me gasping. None of us likes to feel alone. Please, add your voice to the mix.

A year later, and I still don’t have “a theme, an over-arching meaning to this part of my life.” My friend Sharon said, “But you’re a blogger,” as if that gave me definition, an identity. Does it? New in the mail today: blog business cards! At least I now have the trappings of an identity.

I could be very happy as a blogger in my Third Third. I could if I believed I was serving a valuable function. Sometimes I think, “Oh, no, what if I’m just a Florence Foster Jenkins who thinks she’s doing something right and well, and I’m really a dud?”

On the other hand, there’s that starfish story, about the guy throwing a stranded starfish into the ocean. He couldn’t save them all, he could barely save a fraction of them, but it made a difference to that one. So if ten people enjoy my blog, is that all it takes to make me a Blogger-with-a-capital-B?
I don’t think so, so I need your help. If a post resonates, please share it. Comment. Send people to the website While there, take a look through older posts, find one that spoke to you or made you laugh, and share it. (I feel like Peter Pan exhorting everyone to clap their hands to help Tinkerbell or the Velveteen Rabbit wanting to become real.) I’ll be curious to see which posts go out. You can share to your Facebook friends, to your real-life friends, to colleagues or family, even to “influencers.” Please do this widely and often, and you can give me suggestions as to where potential readers hang out and read.

I think I’d like to be a Blogger-with-a-capital-B.


  1. Bravo on your Blogging anniversary!

  2. I love your writing. Please keep rocking the keyboards!

  3. I'm a friend - and law school classmate - of Peggy K. She told me about your blog and I've been a DEVOTED reader ever since.

    Please, PLEASE keep writing!! I don't comment very often, but I LOVE what you have to say and your drawings are AMAZING!!


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