SERENDIPITY IN MATURITY – WHAT’S NEXT? – Marilyn Armstrong

WHAT’S NEXT?


I had been having the same depressing dream for a while. I’d wake up, fall back to sleep and there that stupid dream was. Again. When I opened my eyes, finally realizing I wasn’t going to close them again, I thought: “Forget about fixing the universe. I should just fix me.”

I have really loved this blog. I’ve loved being able to write whatever I want without a boss looking over my shoulder. Now, I’m wondering why I feel like I’ve blocked myself off into a corner, why nothing feels quite “right.”

It used to be if you wrote a good piece, people read it. Now, I’ve got lots of people stopping by and “liking” stuff, but I have a distinct impression folks don’t really read anything.

Meanwhile, I have a huge base of “followers” — and I never hear from 99% of them. Who ARE those people? They can’t all be Russian hackers, can they?

I don’t want to get rid of Serendipity. I’ve put years of effort into it and it matters. To me, anyway. I realize it’s no big deal in the great scheme of things, but it’s meant a lot to me. I want it to go on, but I don’t want it to rule my life.

Where is that middle ground we are always talking about?

I enjoy writing. I like communicating. These days, I’m not sure I’m doing either. Is anyone hearing anyone anymore?

How do you feel? Do you feel your better pieces get attention or does it seem that posts fly by and no one hears you?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

74 thoughts on “SERENDIPITY IN MATURITY – WHAT’S NEXT? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Really! And I’m hoping they are going to finish up with the National League. What a long game! It has gone on for SO long Garry actually went to bed, although I think he’s assuming the winner will be Milwaukee.

      I thought the Sox might do it. They won 108 games this year and they have played very consistently well, even when people were injured, they still kept winning. They won rather faster than we expected, which was kind of sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Garry says that ALL the good American League teams are better than any of the National League teams (this year) — but you know, strange things happen in the Series. Got all ten of my fingers crossed and a few toes, too.

          Like

    2. Hard to fathom how good Red Sox have been this year. I think it’ll take some time and perspective to relish the season they’ve given us. We – in Red Sox Nation — are so used to angst that it’s not easy to savor the good times “in the moment”. Looking forward to World Series.

      Like

      1. I hear that. The teams we have in Calgary specialize in blowing it in incredibly painful and excruciating ways. One year we lost the Stanley Cup because nobody noticed the puck had entered their net until looking at film after the game.
        In football 2 years ago we lost in Overtime to a team that wasn’t half as good as us.
        Last year after dominating the whole Grey Cup game we lost on 2 turnovers that Toronto ran back for TDs. The second one happened in the last 2 minutes of the game when we had marched all the way their goal line. If we had just kicked a field goal we would have won easy, but they wanted to run down the clock.
        We know pain.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s something – a fraternity of fans who’ve suffered thru ‘defeat snatched from victory” seasons. We bond in our angst and ‘hope springs eternal” anthem.

          Like

  1. I have the feeling that people are trying too hard to respond to all the prompts. When there was one prompt a day, people took the prompt as such and wrote around it. Now, it seems that the focus is on defining the prompt word and not on writing around it. This has resulted in too many posts saying the same thing, which then dilutes the readership. If people would go back to being prompted rather than having to define the words, the interest might open up again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. Which is why I simply won’t do it. Because that’s not writing, or at least not MY kind of writing. A lot of those words are words we would never use when writing anyway, and then flagging each word turns it into a word puzzle. One way or another, we don’t get to a concept because the prompt wasn’t supposed to be a definition. It was supposed to become a thought and maybe a story.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Keep writing, Marilyn — but write the way you want to! If a word sparks a thought or a story, write about it — if not, write your own thought or story. Perhaps others will get the ide

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I started blogging because, like you, I enjoy communicating. I don’t write much professionally any more and I’ve enjoyed rediscovering my own voice after so long being the voice of my clients.

    I hadn’t realised how many people I would find who also enjoy communicating, and whose words I’d want to read (and whose photos I’d want to look at). That’ add a lot more time to the blogging process.

    And I totally hadn’t realised that lots of those people would start to feel like my community, with all the social obligations (however enjoyable) that entails.

    But with so many people producing so much content, I’m overwhelmed a lot of the time. “Liking” rather than commenting is a bit like seeing a friend in the street and doing the “hi, I’m too busy to talk right now” mime, but not even “liking” feels as though I’m sneakily crossing the street to avoid someone.

    I don’t have an answer, but I do think that those of us who blog because we like to write/shoot/share, and use prompts to help generate content do run a real risk of saturating the market.

    I used to post a couple of times a week, but now it can be a couple of times a day. I try to only post stuff that feels authentic and I do kill a few of my darlings, but I worry about over-posting and burdening the community.

    But, in response to your question, I’m often surprised by the different levels of response and reactions my posts generate. So if I’m not a good judge of what content will be popular, do I just keep generating lots of it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It has gotten to be too much volume. I simply can’t read that much. I can’t even LOOK at that much stuff. Sometimes, I give up and just delete most of a day’s emails because there is NO way I’m going to get to it. I don’t really know what to do. I never thought it would become such a volume issue. And since I’ve been doing this a long time, I rewrite and rerun material, but by the time I get through rewriting I might just as well have started from scratch. I have to come up with a viable schedule, limit the amount of reading because when I read that much, I can’t write properly, either. It’s a genuine conundrum. Isn’t that a great word?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I know Marilyn would like me to contribute more pieces. Sometimes it feels like “work” when I had to turn out multiple stories for myriad newscasts. I like to do pieces when I have the subject. I am not trying to be a Prima Donna. I have a baseball piece in the works. Hopefully, I’ll finish it tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Most pieces get some comments, usually by the same 7 or so people, but occasionally there is a piece that gets many more comments and I realize that what people are doing is beginning to read my piece and perhaps finishing it and clicking on “like,” but if it strikes a cord to the extent that they themselves have something to say about it, that they comment. It is usually the more personal pieces they comment on. Sometimes when I’ve read a piece I like, I read the other comments and feel it would be repetitious to say what I was going to say so I just “like’ what someone else has said. At other times I comment just to let them know I’ve actually read the piece, but it makes me feel sort of fakey doing it. All in all, there is just so much time and in order to read as many posts as possible, I just check “like” and don’t comment personally. So, that’s a survey course on my thoughts on the matter, Marilyn. All in all, as I approach my 5,000th post, I realize that’s a lot of writing I would have never done if I hadn’t had a blog. Every one of those posts was done for myself, in the hopes someone else would like it, but not one was written in order to make someone like it. Does that make sense? Just keep writing what you enjoy writing..and stop when you don’t enjoy it. xoox Judy

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s what Casey Stengel told me about his inept “Amazin” Mets who found unique ways to turn victories into defeats.

        Like

    1. Actually, I’ve noticed I get a lot of comments on things that people relate to in a personal way. I got a ton of comments when I wrote about Sears’ closing down and how the whole “mall” industry was blaming the internet, but they began to cut way down on staff well before the internet came into the game. But I don’t have pieces like that to write every day and some of them take a lot of time to write, too. And book reviews, which I do now and again, get very few views and often NO comments and that IS a pity because I love reviewing books.

      It’s so hard to get a book promoted these days without reviews, too. Unless it’s a favorite author — by which I mean “very well-known,” not many people are interested in books. So when I say “Are people reading?” it’s not just about my stuff. It’s about reading, too. Personally, I do more listening than reading because my eyes are strained beyond mortal limits. Too many computer hours. But I think whole generations are growing up without reading much of anything. I read everything, all the time until I was well into my 60s when my eyes started to go, so at least I have a backlog to work from. Or, from which to work.

      And also — I hate to sound like a grammar nazi, but seriously — the kids can’t punctuate, spell, and many have no idea how language is constructed. It’s not their fault. They have grown up with tweets and FB, so how could they learn actually — you know — English. Even American English.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. To be quite honest in the first place I write my blog because I want to. If they are just likes it is OK with me. It means they have been there and seen it. I have been overwhelmed lately with new followers, but I have spread out a bit in new places myself. I have many regulars that i consider my online friends. I suppose it is my character to keep myself busy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As we’ve said before it’s very hard, almost impossible to read all the blogs you follow all the time, even harder to take the time to comment on every one. To do that and find time to write too means you spend way too much time on the computer which even if you enjoy it is bad for your back, shoulders, and hands not to mention not getting a lot of chores done some days. I’d rather blog than do chores any day but I don’t want to live in filth.
    I have no idea who some of the people who follow our blogs are; maybe some of them followed and then got too busy or tired of it and don’t read it anymore, maybe some just lurk and read but don’t react to it. Some I am sure, follow because they want me to follow them even if they don’t actually say so. Some are probably Russian hackers too.
    I don’t know why more people don’t comment. I think to the Facebook generation a Like is considered to be enough.
    I’ve noticed the trend of trying to get multiple prompts into the same post but I can’t really be bothered, nor can I be bothered with words that are not used in everyday language usually. If I can use them to talk about something I want to talk about fine, otherwise it’s not for me.
    I guess you just have to decide what you are personally comfortable with Marilyn but I hope you will be writing Serendipity for a long time to come.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m going to try, but all my friends who feel they need to post 7 times a day are going to lose me for five of them. I just don’t have it in me. I also don’t absorb information after a while. It’s all a big blur!

      Like

      1. It takes me some time to write one post and I don’t know how some people manage to write half a dozen in a day on their own. I think that would be too much of me even if I could. If I am feeling creative I just save the extra ones for a day when I may not have time to post anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Every time Garry and I go out to do something — like take pictures — when I come home, I have hundreds of emails and comments. Sometimes I won’t even open my email. I’m afraid it will bury me in my recliner!

          Like

  6. I love my blog, but sometimes bloggers need a break. I’ve been blogging for 13 years altogether, but I had to take a two year break when it got to the point with my previous blog (before this one), that it started to consume my life and almost cost me my marriage. I’m trying not to let that happen again this time around, but with the time it takes to write posts, to read those of the bloggers I follow, to read and respond to comments others have made on my post, and to comment on other bloggers’ posts, it’s almost overwhelming. I read all of your posts and I usually hit “like.” I will comment on many of them, but if another commenter has already expressed what I would have, I won’t also comment. That would be piling on.

    Anyway, I do hope you’ll continue posting, even if you don’t do my FOWC with Fandango prompt or cut back on the number of posts you write each day. You’re one of my favorite “must read” bloggers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You too, but the volume is killing me. It’s not just you. I am killing me, too. I think it’s the whole political thing and the changes with WordPress that have made everyone feel they have to write more and more just to keep ups. But to keep up with what exactly? I’m not even sure what we are competing with. Ditto everything you said, by the way. Double dog ditto!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Totally with your post!

    Very few of my posts – the ones i feel are the most important thoughts i have ever get more than a few likes and only the odd comment and even fewer are constructive criticism or appreciation of the ideas in the post.

    Having thousands of ‘followers’, 90% of whom are ‘one time only’ viewers as they search for more visitors themselves, can only result in disappointment and or burn-out trying to ‘keep up’. I’ve felt that way at least twice in my last 12 years blogging.

    I think it’s best to limit yourself in the responses and write what is important to you – to show the readers who you are really and honestly.

    Those who matter will respond in kind.

    Long Live Serendipity – and all who sail with her. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right. The problem is, so many people who used to post once or twice a day are now posting five or six time — and I can’t keep up with half of that. I don’t even remember what, if anything, I read. It seems more like a horse race than a blog. And I love that you write thoughtful comments, by the way. They are part of the real fun of doing this!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks again! 🙂

        I write them from the heart – and brain (usually!) in the hope they can be appreciated and that i may get some back in kind! 😉

        It’s good to know some people appreciate them – even if not every time. hehehehehee. 🙂

        Like

  8. I’m late in this game. I am doing the poetry prompts. It helps my creativity or I hope it does. I like reading your pieces. I write more for my sake but am thrilled when folks like my poems. I am writing more for me. To find my voice. Reading other’s writings is helpful but I find some are just too long or boring. Yours are not.
    Do what’s good for you.

    Like

    1. For me, I don’t even know what a lot of my newer friends write. I don’t have time to read anything anymore. Writing my own stuff eats up half my day. I feel like I never get to read anymore — no time left over. When did blogging become such a race? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t like this even a year ago. Is it the politics? Or maybe I’m just getting old!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m only challenging myself. Not racing. I’ve done about 3 challenges from bloggers. My thing is poetry and the challenge to write one a day. I’m enjoying it and made it through today. Only 10 dats to go. Hope you find the balance you need/want!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is, I’m going to also have to start ignoring OTHER people’s prompts. I can cope with one a day from everyone, two from a few … but eventually, I find myself with a mountain of email and I give up and delete all of it, hoping nothing was really urgent!

      Like

  9. Oh I so wish I had read this at another time because most days, I can either post something myself, OR respond sufficiently to a post I have read. Rarely, can I do both…at least not well.

    And here’s an embarrassing confession. I used to post stories on Medium, and have a longtime dream of telling a story for the Moth, because I think I have important things to say. But on Medium, no one ever commented or followed me…except one time when I got a huge response, not to something I wrote but rather on a simple comment I made on someone else’s post. And I’ve never even made the “drawing” for the Moth.

    With WordPress, it became clear to me right away, that the friendships I was forming, were way more important than getting feedback on my photography or my stories. I mean, I love those comments when they occasionally happen, but I had not realized how barren of friendships my life has become as an O.W.L.
    (Older White Woman).

    But I read you (and when I have time, your whole family) every chance I get. And I often wish there was a list of response boxes to check off, other than “Like”, which rarely says what I want to say, but is the only option. For me, when I check it, I’m settling for that “like” to convey, “I read you Marilyn. I agree. I am stimulated. I disagree. I will think about what you said. I loved that movie also. Right on. Yay, Judy Collins!

    Or a myriad of other responses I’m too distracted (busy, in pain, sick, working, raising teenage boys, etc.) to explain in that moment.

    I hope you keep going. You are talented and inspirational, and I appreciate your modeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem has become that everyone seems to be posting more often and I don’t have the time to write, photograph AND read everyone’s posts, much less comment. There are a lot of people who used to pose once a day and now they pop up five or six or more times a day …. and I feel like I’m in a chariot race to see who can post the most and still be breathing at the end of the day. It really IS too much for me. I used to comment that if the number of posts you are putting out is more than the number of fingers on one hand, you are becoming spam — and I think I’m becoming spam, too. Thank you for your loyalty.

      One of the big changes I’m going to have to make is to stop having every come to my email (which is much more secure than the reader where half the time posts don’t even show up) and use the reader because the volume of material I get is overwhelming. And there are people (you are NOT one of them) who send out posts all day long and they are going to have to survive on fewer responses. I can’t even “like” that many posts. I can think of two or three people who problem post close to half the email I get — not count political and news posts, but at least I can delete them without worrying if I’m offending someone. It’s all getting to be too much I think — for ALL of us.

      Like

      1. I start ignoring people who post more than once a day. Under settings you can choose to get one email a day from each person instead of instantly. I wish there was a global pick. Maybe on the computer.

        Like

  10. Pretty much the same as you, Marilyn. I’m wondering if everyone is too busy, too overwhelmed with their own lives and busy schedules and other craziness that has everyone so overwhelmed, they take the time to look, but not comment or even not look. I know my readership has dwindled for 100 to 20 on a good day. I’ve been feeling much the same and wonder why I bother except like you, I enjoy writing so much and I enjoy being of some encouragement to others, which I do. Still…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect it is ALL of the above is true. I try to get to everyone I care about, even if it’s just a “like” to show I was there … but there are days when I just want to empty the page and start over. My head starts to spin. And worst, it stops being fun. Trying to keep up with everything was really squeezing all the joy out of it for me. My number will also take a big hit. For me, subtract 50 to 100 hits for each piece I don’t post. On days when I have posted one or two pieces, I get maybe 100 hits? 200 if something is particularly popular? Occasionally …. nothing at all. Everyone thinks if you are a “popular blogger” because you have “big numbers” that you consistently get great numbers, but you don’t. You have to really work at it to get great numbers.

      But I didn’t start this as work. This was and is supposed to be fun and if it is going to remain fun, then the numbers can’t be the reason I’m doing it.

      Like

      1. I know, it’s how I feel. It stopped being fun when I wasn’t getting feedback or interacting. Fortunately I have you. You make it all worthwhile, and Garry, since you both post quite regularly. It is encouraging to say the least!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Maybe it would help to stop worrying about the numbers. By looking at the numbers daily, one tends to write for the numbers — more initial posts, several comments to say the same thing to the same person, etc. Without worrying about them, the numbers will go down slightly, but your true followers will still read, follow, and comment, and your volume of emails will drop to a more manageable level.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that really is the answer. I don’t go hunting for them, but they are on my dashboard and that’s where I go to look for new comments, so I bump into the numbers regardless.

          Like

                    1. When we lived in Boston — until 2000 — we went to games. First, I was surprised at how modestly priced tickets were. But each year, the prices went up by a lot until eventually, when you added in finding a parking space — it got to be ridiculous. And that was 20 years ago. Our local news has been giving prices along with the news. We are talking THOUSANDS of dollars for ONE ticket. And not a good ticket. That’s a standing-room ticket. if you actually want a seat … well … sell that second car!

                      Liked by 1 person

  11. I read most but don’t always comment. Sometimes I don’t have a interesting comment and I don’t want to just fill space. Of course, sometimes I cheat. I can read an article well in advance so I can skip over it when posted. Yesterday, I read your piece November 23 piece via “Preview.” Sometimes I read things days after they are posted.
    My comment and like notices go to an email I rarely check anymore. I usually just end up deleting them. I respond to all the comments here when I see the notice icon in the corner has the orange ball. If I answer the same day, and occasionally the next, I feel I have done my job. Of course, I usually only have one posting a week, so it is not overwhelming.
    I don’t think all of the commenters need a reply from you, although a “like” or brief response is nice.
    I think our best asset here is quality and I know we can maintain that, it if we post a little less.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read all YOUR stuff before you post too, which often leaves me nothing to say. I actually think of stuff when I first read it, but it hasn’t posted, so I can’t comment and by the time it goes up, I forgot what I was thinking. You get a lot of comments anyway and you usually know I’ve been there because I fix the hyphens and spaces and pictures, too 🙂 I leave a trail.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve set my preferences so that I only get email reminders from blogs I follow once a day. I do a quick ‘edit’ from there and only read, and comment, on the ones I want to. Then I close my email client and get on with my day. I’ll do a quick check in the evening just in case I need to take care of anything important, but that’s it. 🙂

    Like

    1. That’s not a bad idea at all. The problem for me is that I’ve become friends with a lot of people and some of them post quite a lot every day. I tried getting only once a day notices, but I kept missing the stuff in which I was interested. But I may try anyway. Because what’s happening now is madness, in a bloggish sort of way.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I manage to get a few comments from readers, but mostly ‘likes’ and I wonder if most actually really read my posts at all. There are days when I wonder if its worth it and want to throw in the towel…BUT, I refuse to do that! After all, giving up is not an option! Keep up the great work and enjoy the journey, Marilyn! 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I promise this is the last comment I’ll add to this thread. I think that judging by previous comments many people feel overwhelmed by the number of posts they feel they should read and comment on so I really think that the bloggers that you care about and who care about you would not be offended if you did cut back a bit. If someone disappears completely we worry something has happened to them but it’s not a job and you don’t have to stress and wear yourself out trying to keep up. I guess it is your nature to want to try and do it all but it is really OK if you don’t.

    Like

  15. I’ve been (and still am) abroad for some time and keep your posts for ‘when I can really read and digest them AND comment, IF I feel like’…. This will have to wait for another day (as I know, will be another about house ghosts or such) but one thing struck me at my core: You ‘moan’ about the people who post so many times per day and yet you’re the one I have the most posts every single day. Mind you, I’m not complaining at all but I have to reserve the right to not read all of them – as you’re already the only one who gets my attention to most of your writing. I’m also deleting many of my mails but never personal ones. These are newsletters from many countries and ‘newspapers’, talks, videos, books and films, some I peep into and delete then, others I look up religiously. But we all have a life to live and can’t devote all our time to what friends write. I’m a great reader and won’t permit blogs taking over my reading time. I make music and visit, have a huge garden and a house to look after, I have elderly family to – at least via phone – look and care after/for…. so your postings are my ‘dessert’ or pudding or whatever you call it. Your rants often give me much food for thoughts, your photos enchant me, I learn much about your country and habits by reading your posts, I love you from afar – and I would like to suggest that you do what you do only when you feel like it, and never by a feeling of obligation. This is truly one of my main reasons for never having had my own blog: I don’t want that pression of ‘having to deliver’ – I’ve done that in my private and professional life long enough and not having fb or blog I’m free as a bird, I can do something (commenting) or leave it and nobody is poorer or wiser, nobody expects my next post. To me it becomes a ‘personal friendship’ with the blogger or flickr-member and these friendships sometimes become something wonderful in real life, some stay on the internet but are none the less something worthwhile and precious. As are you and Garry.

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.