crown

Wait, How Much Longer Do I Have To Be Fabulous?

crown-fabulous-Lillian Connelly
Does this crown make me look fabulous?

It’s no secret to those who know me well that I am going through a grumpy spell. I think I am just tired of trying so hard to be fabulous. I mean, seriously, fabulous is hard to maintain for extended periods of times. Sometimes you just want to go back to slumming it. Sometimes you have to get back to your roots so to speak. Back to basics.

I’ve been on this blogging adventure for a little over a year now. It’s been a busy year of yelling, “Hey, look at me! Look at me! Look at me now. Look at me here…look at me there…look at me everywhere.” I’ve been sharing my paintings and writing all over the Internet like a woman on a mission. Like a woman with a job to do. Like a woman with a desperate need for attention.

I am a woman with a desperate need for attention. I will admit that openly. I am home all day with a toddler demanding milk (no, juice. no, milk. no, chocolate. no, put my shoes on. no, take my shoes off….) and dogs and chickens. My point is, nobody around here has any interest in my art making or my blubbering on and on about life and family. They are all, “We were there, remember?” So I have thrown myself at the feet of the Internet and begged people to be my friend, to listen to me, to respond. I have tried extra hard to be fabulous because I want to win at blogging and life and work. I’m competitive and driven. I like goals and success and feeling purposeful. I like to work. I like to work hard. That is just my nature.

The thing is, I’ve become a sales person. I am working hard at the wrong thing. I am selling my personality or my art or my brand constantly. I’ve become an inbox salesman desperate for one more like or retweet or kind word. It’s gotten a little exhausting to keep up with myself. I am not naturally fabulous so I sometimes want to curl into a ball and take a nap because being fabulous is really hard work. It drains me of my energy. I’m an introvert masquerading as an extrovert, but my mask is slipping off. It’s like doing your taxes without a calculator. Or, trying to put fake eyelashes on without a mirror. Being popular is also fickle and a little empty. It’s not something you want to be building your life’s work on and yet, it seems to be the only way in our social media frenzied world. We are all sales people now. We are all trying to yell, “Look at me!” louder than the person standing next to us. I don’t know about you, but my voice is starting to sounds hoarse.

I’ve realized lately that I have been spending too much time trying to be fabulous and not enough time doing my actual work. I want to write better and paint more. I want to grow professionally as an artist, but how can I do that when I spend so little time actually making art? I think I lost my way over this past year. I’ve been way too focused on being popular and it has taken its toll on me. Popularity has never been a strength for me. I mean, I offer high school as an example of that. It’s not like I am going to wake up one day wearing a cheerleading uniform and dating the quarterback for the football team, right? I am not going to wake up covered in glitter with money floating down from the sky and into my pocket. This is not a made for TV movie no matter how hard I try to make it look like one.

Anyway, I have characteristically been over-thinking my entire Internet experience and doing some reevaluating. I’ve read a lot of instruction manuals on how to make your blog fantastic and popular and amazing. I’ve read about SEO and strategies and niches and platform cultures. I’ve worried about posting too much or too little. I’ve tried Triberr and blog hops and link ups and hootsuite. I’ve learned how to do all sorts of things I never imagined I would be able to do. I figured out Google authorship and Google analytics. I became an Amazon affiliate. I’ve made some good friends along the way. I’ve read some great blogs along the way too. I’ve formed groups and jumped through hoops and entered contests and sold a few paintings. I’ve been like the dancing bear at the circus, tutu and all. The thing is, it’s making me a little twitchy. I’m not being metaphorical or funny, I really am twitching. Trying so hard to be fabulous can get pretty stressful. This is where I am right now. Pushing buttons and doing a little twitching.

Suddenly, I am just tired. I want to retreat back to painting and hiding out and being quiet. I am tired of asking people to look at me, or to read me, or to think my painting is swell. I am tired of shouting, “Look at me!” I am tired of worrying about being popular. I just want to take a nap and eat something and maybe play dolls on the floor with my daughter. I want to be a person again and not just a Facebook admin or an email account owner or someone with a blog begging people to read it. Just writing all of this I am getting bored with myself. If you are thinking, “Quit whining!” I don’t blame you. It’s not like this is some huge revelation or something. People all over the Internet are probably coming to this exact conclusion at this very moment. I’m not special. I’m just tired.

After all of my research and practice and hard work, all I want to do is get back to the basics. I want to write, and I want to paint, and I want to stop trying so hard to be fabulous.

 

I should be writing about St. Patrick’s Day since I’m Irish. Read about last year here.

44 thoughts on “Wait, How Much Longer Do I Have To Be Fabulous?”

  1. You are fabulous. You would be whether you had millions of followers or five. Concentrate on the things that matter.

    It is so easy to get caught up in the marketing aspect of blogging, but if your goal is to make, improve, and sell your art, then that is where you should be investing your time and energy.

    You seem like a diligent person. Perhaps you could restructure the blog to maintain your online presence without taking up so much time. For example, if you want to post daily, you could plan to share works in progress three days a week, and plan two long posts and two shorts (200 words or less).

    Then give yourself permission to skip a day every week.

    1. I love your blogging ideas. Short posts and long posts. I have trouble staying with schedules and that makes it more difficult at times. I really enjoy my blog. I get tired of trying to have a presence on every platform. It’s time consuming to be on facebook, google+, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr…this list seems to never end! I think I need to figure out what I like the best and spend more time there and let the rest go.

      Marketing is so hard for me. It’s uncomfortable. I am terrible at it. I find that part to be stressful. I have been thinking about giving up some of the art marketing on the Internet and hiring my husband to do some of it out in the real world here. We live in an art town. You can’t go 10 feet without bumping into a gallery downtown. Jim loves to be out talking to people. I am thinking this might be a better way to go. I have a feeling most people want to buy art they can see in person anyway. This will take some of the pressure off of me and free me up to be creative and to talk to people. I feel like I am not talking to people as much as I once did or reading blogs like I was six months ago. The marketing has robbed me of enjoying the process. Relationships are more important to me than marketing. I am good at forming connections with people. I want to spend more time doing that because it makes me happy.

      1. you’re totally right, lil, about people needing to see your art in person. it wasn’t until i saw Prince Charming UP CLOSE AND IN PERSON that i was blown away by your technique, style and flair. you can’t sell that on the internet. it can’t be done. but i know what i will get now, when i buy from you, so i’m in. i’m hooked.

        1. I think when someone can see the quality of what they are getting it helps a lot. If someone buys your piece in person they are probably not going to be disappointed and want to return it. It makes sense that art sells better in person. Which, also sets me free to use my blog more as a method to communicate and less as a method to sell. Win-win!

  2. Hi Lillian,

    I can really relate! ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess i just decided from the beginning that I cannot compete on the terms the social media rules have set out – so I just keep doing what i do – just a bit more publicly that I used to.

    In your case – I really think you really are quite wonderful! But you sound as though you feel you are losing your true self trying to get the most views and traffic and e-love. Do go back to basics and play dolls with your lovely daughter. We love your stories and your art work – and I think we can do without the glitter and the tutu. If you need to take a hiatus to get your self back, I’ll miss you, but I’ll look forward to your happy return. And I do think you need to make changes to get back to what truly gives you joy.

    My advice – stop trying and just be. Yoiu are really quite fabulous after all! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kat

    1. I think it is impossible to compete with the social media rules because they are always changing. I think people are starting to tire of getting bombarded with links and ads so likely there will be a shift back towards good content. I like your advice “stop trying and just be.”

  3. Oh Amen! That is the best thing I have read in a long time! I get trying to connect with people, but there is a dark side to the blogosphere and it is full of chain letters disguised as awards and stats and share for shares and brown nosing. I am sure I commited blogger death early on by not accepting my award and tagging 10 others. I have not done any share for shares, blech! I was never popular in school, I was the nerdy girl with her nose in a book. I write because I must. Sometimes I share what I write on my blog and if people read it great! If it makes them laugh, awesome! But when it comes to the popularity contests I will be over here in the corner with my nose in a book.

    1. I have experimented with chain letters and awards and I have had fun with them, but I don’t think they change anything. I have blogging friends that I enjoy doing those activities with once in a while because they are funny or goofy or I want to tell people I appreciate them. I don’t think they grow readership. I love when you said, “I write because I must.” Amen to that!

      1. I agree and I don’t have a problem with people who do the “chain letter” awards. I just wish they were not called awards because some people put too much stock in them as awards. They are a social thing and sometimes a good writing prompt but as an award it kind of is like those embroidery thread friendship bracelets you got in 5th grade. They made you feel really special until you realized EVERYONE had one! I got my first “award” after my second blog post…say what? ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s all I meant. No judgment to those who enjoy doing them.

        1. I hope I didn’t imply that I thought you were judging people…I didn’t mean that at all! I was just admitting that I have done those things. I am not sure why they are called “awards” anyway. They really should be called “hard labor” because of all of the insane linking that has to be done. Not to mention, like you said, they aren’t designed to make you feel special because everyone has them.

  4. And this is why I adore and respect you so VERY VERY much. I want you to read: Daring Greatly, Brenรฉ Brown. Yes, it’s ANOTHER book; but if you don’t see yourself as I see me (and we’ve talked about this a lot, you and I) in pages 19-24, I’ll buy it from you. I support you. I adore you. I hear you and you are fabulous already. Fuck ’em. Facebook is insanity; social media is insanity. You are coming at us all, in this post, as a real, vulnerable, honest, HOT person. I dig you. We are, all 7billion of us, looking for our spot in the sun… guess what? The sun is outside, waiting for us. Be your own sun. You are my friend. xoxo

    1. I’ve been as open as possible about my journey. I can only imagine if I took all of my posts around blogging, etc. and put them together there might be some contradictions and confusion, but maybe there would also be some process and growth in there too. This is a messy business with no “right” way to do things. Each person fumbles along finding their way in the dark. This is what I am going through right now and it feels good to put it out there. Writing helps me think and hitting publish helps set me free from mulling things over in my mind. It’s one of the ways I let go of anxiety.

  5. oh lady you read my mind!!! i am so in the same boat, and ironically was wearing my plaid flannel shirt yesterday and instead of a tiara had on a pirate hat!

    i’ve been blogging for a few years, but in january i decided to throw things up a notch and went full steam on the internet. i wanted to see where i could push my wee blog, and things have exploded, kinda, which kinda confused me and then made me greedy. so, i kept re-posting, re-posting old stuff, and never had anything left to give to my blog. i lost my focus. i stopped sharing the way i had, about the hardships of mother hood, marriage, life etc.

    so, i have let go a little. i have stopped blogging daily and set up a kind of schedule, so that i had time to work on pieces, time to parent, vacuum or whatever! but yes, blogging, the internet, all this social media, has somehow made me anti-social in my own home! that being said, i have made some wonderful connections in cyberworld, and found people whose work i am interested in following. like you. i think you should work that tiara, because you are fabulous! you are in charge of your blog, your art… not the other way round!

    hang in there! blog burn out is very common!!!
    xoxo

    1. I can relate to so much of what you are saying. Sometimes I feel like I have eaten too much candy or have a hangover. Too much Internet time can do that to you!

      I really need to get a pirate hat now!

  6. This is the first time I’ve stopped by and I’ve only been blogging about 3 months and I feel the same way! I really like doing it, but I do feel like I’m begging for attention! Thanks for the story, it made me smile because its very true!

    1. It’s so hard to find that middle ground. Without shouting for some attention you might not get any. At the same time, when the shouting seems to become more important than the content, you start to feel like you are in it for all of the wrong reasons. You have to go with your gut. Thanks for reading my blog and for leaving a comment!

  7. I don’t think any of us are aware of what it takes to be a successful artist until we try being one. We have to do so many jobs and every one of those jobs are important and equally time consuming. I’m very much where you’re at, just in a different medium. I very much want to slow down and back away from the computer so I can become a master of my art, but if I ignore what small audience I’ve built up for too long, I’ll have to start from square one. I go through phases (such as these last two weeks) of just about abandoning my website and fan page just to paint. But then I miss the encouragement and connections I’ve built. I know somewhere between art, sales, marketing, and job… there’s a balance, but it seems to have gotten lost. My stance on the whole thing is to not worry about it too much. I know I say it a lot, but things seem to work out on their own if you let it unfold by itself. If your online connections call to you, go for that….. if you need to take time and try new thing with your art to further your talent… feel free….If you find that balance, please let me know where it went. Just know that however you choose to use your time, you are still fabulous. You have built such a faithful following of moms and writers and artists that you will always be encouraged to do whatever your heart desires. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I think you are right about being a successful artist. There is so much involved. I am sure many people have a lot of help with different areas, but we are doing most of it ourselves. I think you are right about not worrying about it so much too. It’s better to just go with the ebb and flow. Of course saying that is easier than doing that. I think I needed to write this to give myself permission to step back from obsessing about the promotion part. I don’t need to share my post or my art on every platform out there or to spend hours gaining Facebook likes. I’ve been spinning my wheels in that department. I need a break!

  8. I have the pleasure of knowing you personally and I have always thought you are fabulous! I also know what it feels like to be the parent of a toddler and just wanting to get a little attention showered on yourself every once and a while :-). Then to add blogging and painting and housekeeping and being a wife and everything else on top of being a parent is a LOT! Take some time for you and recharge! You will find as your beautiful daughter grows that you will start to feel like you again and will have time to do all those ambitious and awesome things you are meant to do. Hugs!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Gretchen! I think being a parent takes away some of your identity and that certainly plays a part in all of this. I want to show the world that I am still here, behind the dirty diapers and dishes and toys! I never think I am doing enough so I am always pushing myself to do more. Then I just get tired and need a break.

    1. Mostly I want to let go of worrying about the numbers and playing the how many people can I get to like me game. It doesn’t end. It just keeps going. There is no winning that game!

  9. Here here. As I’ve mentioned before I have never even started a twitter account because I am afraid of what it will require of me. Yes, I have read that any ‘good’ blogger must also be a prolific tweeter, but even with this knowledge I can’t make myself do it, because I know, in the end it will lead to frustration.

    You’re a great writer. Your stories are interesting, humorous and well written. You’re also an excellent artist. So I shall be checking in on you here on your blog, regardless of your skills at FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on.

    1. You made me smile with your comments about Twitter. I happen to love Twitter. I struggle with my Facebook fan page. I just don’t know what to say or what to do with it. I think we just have to find what we like or what works for us and stick with that. I know very successful bloggers who are not on Twitter or Facebook. It’s just a matter of putting your energy into what you enjoy the most. Thank you for saying such nice things about my work. I appreciate that!

  10. GIRRRRRL. You and I have been on the same wave length. I was planning to write a post about this very topic because i am terrible at the self-promotional side of blogging, but it still creeps up and makes you wonder – should I try harder? But so much of that stuff makes me so uncomfortable that it actually sucks the joy out of blogging, which is the part I love. So I’ve had my own little mental crisis of sorts lately along these lines, wondering if I am doing too little vs too much. I decided I don’t care. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t beat yourself up over it – I am genuinely impressed by all you’ve done the past year. But I agree don’t feel guilty for refocusing more on what recharges you, vs. depletes you. The nice thing is, you’ve established a big base of friends who will be there for you no matter how much or how little you show up on the interwebs.

    1. I think I have an ability to recognize talent in other people. I find myself encouraging other people to promote themselves more even as I think I should promote myself less. Of course, I think you are extremely talented. The thing with blogging, though, is it is mostly done for fun or joy. I think it is smart to focus on that. You certainly bring joy and laughter to my life!

      Thank you for the encouragement! I do have good friends. I am lucky in that way for sure.

  11. I read this quote our of a Chris Brogan post: โ€œBut creatives, of which I am one, have this need not simply to create, but to share. And honestly, we donโ€™t need to share. We need the feedback. We need to hear someone tell us that what weโ€™ve said is smart, or that what weโ€™ve baked is delicious, or that the photo we took of the dolphins was magical and profound.โ€

    I’m sure it’s out of context but I think it’s true. We ARE needy, and it’s both endearing and gross. The truth almost always is. However, we have to promote, but it cannot take away from real-life or from growing our talent as artist and writers.

    If you are anything like me, you’ll find a balance, lose it, find it, lose it, swing past it and wave, and find it again.

    Also, I think people like you for you if that helps.

    1. This makes so much sense and reflects my experience more closely than I would like to admit. I have this need to please and a need for feedback which I do find gross at times (like lately). I usually think of it as a defect in my personality and as something I must conquer and change. I have never considered it as part of the creative process (probably because I don’t want to accept this about myself), but of course it is. I think it likely comes down to self-acceptance and being OK with the gross parts. I struggle with imperfection in myself. I want to be considered smart and talented and awesome. I think the feedback is more important than I want to admit. Negative feedback affects me more than I want to admit too. Of course, without the needy gross parts I might not have the creative awesome parts. Thinking of it this way may allow me to appreciate my imperfections more. To be OK with being needy or obsessed or ridiculous sometimes.

      I find balance to be so elusive. I think I drive by it often. I guess the idea of “this too shall pass” applies here as well. I will have more balance at certain times and less at other times. I will be all in and all out, but I will never be one way forever.

      Thank you for being so insightful. It’s nice to know other people struggle with these things too.

  12. Oh I could not be more in the same boat! The thing is, you ARE fabulous and so talented. When I look at your artwork, I feel like Bette Midler in Beaches: “And I can’t even YODEL!” Don’t let the stress of everything weigh you down. Lighten your load where you can. Enjoy this time of creative exploration and they will come. Like Field of Dreams. But art buyers. Love you!! Mar

  13. Thanks for writing about this. It’s true. A lot of us feel the same. I know I sure can relate. It’s exhausting trying to be fabulous 24/7. And it distracts us from the reason we started doing this in the first place. Art and writing. Friends and community and support? Of course. But the social part of social media is exhausting if we don’t keep perspective. With so many services and social media outlets out there, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex. A good friend and fellow blogger told me, when I was complaining about this, how she manages it all. Choose your favorite 3 or so social media outlets. Focus on content, being authentic, and telling your stories. I’m still envious about the chickens. I want chickens some day! Hang in there. This is a great reminder to prioritize and reassess goals. xoxoxo Lucy

    1. Three social media platforms sounds like good advice. I think that is probably about all I can really do too (at least well). I will figure it out eventually, hopefully, maybe…not holding my breath! haha!

      Chickens are so fun. I hope you can get some one day!

      1. You’ve had me thinking, and talking about this all week. I’m posting about it now. It’s really challenging for me to pimp myself. It feels uncomfortable. If I grow slow, one at a time because I’m not screaming on every channel…then so be it. They’ll be REAL and authentic followers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. It’s so hard to find that balance, but I think you are right. I’d rather have people following me because they are really interested than just because I pimped my work so much they’d do anything to make me be quiet…haha! I think part of my problem is I don’t want to be “ordinary” which I am sure is something most of us don’t want to be. At the same time, I am pretty ordinary. Maybe I just need to go with that more and stop stressing so much about it, right? You should share your post here so people can read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. So well said. Your art is amazing and you must do me a mermaid by the way. In my opinion, the really biggies out there in the mom blog world-if you want to call it that-are getting legs by being extremely debasing to themselves and their families, using the F bomb a lot (guilty) and shocking people. That only works so much and then people get tired of it. I did. And after re-evaluating what I wanted to say I too want to remain true to myself, funny and engaging. And if that means I only get 100 hits on a post so be it. I know for a fact that each time I wrote something someone gets a laugh or help or say ‘yay, me too’, then I’m happy. I write for therapy. And also cause I need to. Take a breath girl, paint on!

    1. Thanks, Mary Anne! It seems many bloggers feel the way you do. Maybe this is a natural stage in the progression. Connecting with people is much more validating than a number. If someone can relate to what I am saying or laugh and have a good time I am pretty happy too.

  15. Oh mama ๐Ÿ™‚ This resonated with me. I step back from all the promotion once a month for at least a week. I just don’t have the time to do it. If you do all of that shiz, all the time then you look around one day and see that you are not inside of your life. That only leads to crud.

    I know I’ve miffed some people for being poor at the cross promoting and all that. But I can’t follow a rule book on how to blog or how to write my story. if I did, it wouldn’t work.

    I love that you are so self aware. It’s important. Such a tightrope to walk but you got this. The people here already love you.

    1. There is so much pressure to reciprocate the sharing and the tweeting and the liking and I feel bad that I cannot keep up with it all. That could be a full time job all by itself. At some point you have to reclaim your life. Taking a week off once a week probably keeps you on track and thinking straight. Great idea!

  16. Girlfriend, I am SO with you on this point. I have too much going on in my life right now that something had to give (before it was my sanity). I had to pull back on all things internet related and pray that people didn’t hate me as a result. I stopped tweeting, FBing, etc and focused on the stuff I need to right now. And, you know what, I’ve stopped shaking. Literally. I was like a walking tectonic plate. Maybe once my life calms a skosh I can reemerge in the internet world. If not…I’ve made some great friends (like YOU) through the experience. Go. Paint. Be fabulous. xoxoxo

    1. I think it is good to step back once in a while and look at it all with fresh eyes. Not to mention, sometimes we need to realign our priorities. Or just have a break. Blogging is like parenthood…there aren’t any vacations!

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