Captain’s Log 5,900
I just realized I have been at this eleven years now. It all started with an entry on Diaryland about finding a dead bee in the kitchen. Three weeks after that, I had my first contact from a lady who was secretly writing because her husband was a dickhead who didn’t want her to have contact with the outside world. He caught her and threatened to divorce her, so she stopped writing. I didn’t understand that then and I certainly don’t understand that now. How can people tell other people when and what they can write? I just don’t get it. I cannot imagine living in that much fear of self expression. I just can’t.
My second friend was a lady in New Orleans. A big hurricane roared through and I never heard from her again. But friends came and went. Many of us had experiences with the weird girl from Germany who wanted to tell everyone how to live their lives. There were dramas and heartaches. There were births and deaths. Three of my best online friends passed away as Diarylanders – cosmicrayola and awittykitty. I still miss them. Miss Hiss passed away a year ago. Many holes in my heart.
Diaryland sputtered and coughed along – and it is still around and still sputtering. It has no free services and no support at all. Even so, it’s a good source for a lot of people. Most of my pals switched to other more reliable formats with free features. But Diaryland had a strong hold. More than one friend told me they would never read another word I wrote if I bailed off the site. To me, it was no different than changing an email address, but people were flipping out. I had to leave. Diaryland was a dinosaur and I wanted to move into something easier and more professional.
I got more friends in those early Diaryland days. There was a really solid community of online writers back then. There were even conferences and writing contests. It was more than grand fun. But….the bug-a-boo arrived in the form of Facebook, and so many people simply stopped writing. A snippet here and there on a social media site replaced so many wonderful people’s real work. All of a sudden, people became instant mini journalists. It’s not the same. Not even close.
Writing on this site is a journey of the soul for me. It connects me to my creative juices in unbelievable ways. On the days I don’t write, I can actually feel the difference. My day feels “off.” Even if I’m really busy, the lack of morning writing leaves me a bit lost.
Readership is way way down. My own readership has fallen to about 1/3 of what it was three years ago. I have no answers for that. Either people are getting tired of reading here, they are focused on Facebook now, or they have simply moved on. I don’t write for the readership figures, but it is something I cannot help but notice when the stats pop up with such low numbers.
My online writing experience has been akin to the proverbial bell jar. Start small, swell to a peak, and decline again into something very small. I know that isn’t the case for everyone. There are people who have made a huge success for themselves with online journaling. Back in the day. San Diego was looking for a local blogger to highlight for a weekly magazine. Naturally, I sent in my stuff and hoped they would choose me. They chose someone I knew socially (knew her dad from the church where I was working) for the assignment. She has been writing for them for almost 9 years now. She just produced her first book and the publisher tossed her a huge party. She made it. I am glad for her.
There she is. Great success for her. She is quite flashy and fun – as one can surmise from the feather explosion on her head.
But life is not about comparing ourselves to the success or failure of others. Life is about following whatever passions fuel your fire. I love doing this and I will continue to do this. This stuff has actually worn a groove into my brain now. I write because……I write. It’s one of the things I do. Successful or not, it makes a difference in my life. There is no value on that. It just is.
Coffee just is too. Time for another dose of spirituality in a cup.