I receive feedback a number of ways.
Readers leave their thoughts/opinions in the “comment” section of my site. Others make simple comments via any number of social media used to broadcast the post. Occasionally, a reader will send private inbox or email which means they really went out of their way to offer feedback.
Such was the case yesterday from a work colleague in response to this post.
In his 50-word email, Bob reflected that in his 40 years he’d always tried to live life to the fullest. Having an awesome, supportive wife by his side in their 12 married years was a big bonus that contributed to his ability to do just that, he said. Then, in his first response ever to my work, he said this:
“Keep on writing. Some days you hit a home run.”
That comment gave momentary pause to my morning.
Bob is a smart guy. I mean really smart – in a way I’ll never comprehend. One of those guys I label a techno-wiz. Give him a keyboard and a monitor and he can do anything. He’s also a pretty cool guy
like me who doesn’t take himself too seriously, so we get along well. Since I’m Bob’s polar opposite, I’ve always admired his ability in that area and often joke with him that we ought to get together and develop some “technology” in the “lab.” It’s just my way of laughing at my own inadequacies in the area where he excels.
So when a guy like Bob pays you a compliment, you take a moment to cherish his words.
What Bob Didn’t Say…
Sometimes you hit a home run. Sometimes. Not always.
There’s a blatant honesty in the statement. What he didn’t say was this: Sometimes, your work’s not that great, or sometimes it doesn’t particularly resonate with me, or sometimes, I totally disagree with what you say.
I love that Bob said it that way. I love what he didn’t say, and how he didn’t say it. Because it’s a great reminder, and a life lesson in some regard.
Some days are really good. Other days, we miss the mark, altogether. But once in a while, we hit a home run, and those days are to be treasured.
I’m asked fairly often why I blog. If I’m transparent in the reasons why, here are some.
1. I write because I can’t not (excuse the double negative) write. It’s the way I best communicate. My written words are much better than the spoken ones.
2. I blog to express opinions, make points and chronicle life.
3. A small percentage of the time, I blog for self-promotion; to create a brand of myself. That may sound egocentric enough, but it’s just business really. The reality is I’ll never be Lewis Grizzard, Pat Conroy or Cormac McCarthy. But I do have some books coming out over the next few months, and with a little luck I’ll publish: Writing for Boris: An Author/Writer’s Guide to Making the World Your Audience on Black Friday. The reality is people like buying things from people they know. I hope the blog allows readers to get to know me better.
4. I blog as an experiment. Sometimes, I’ll take a topic I think will rank high among the search engines, just to see how many “hits” I can get and where those hits come from across the world. Those posts are really fun.
5. But mostly, I think I blog to make people think. If my work can cause readers to pause for just a moment, like Bob’s words made me pause, reflect and assess, then for me, the job’s well done.
What Readers Say, and Where They Go
And I’ve had comments to all extremes.
- The most read post on my site is this one. It’s the “About Steve” page. The fact this is the most read page on the site doesn’t surprise me – not because I’m awesomely interesting. But rather because readers like to “know” authors. It’s an advantage the newspaper reporter and TV anchors really don’t have.
- In this post on a vote recently cast by U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) a reader called me a “left-wing liberal, extremist and unpatriotic.” I don’t agree with her, and I think she missed the message altogether. But it’s okay. I could’ve prevented her comment from going public, but I didn’t. If I open myself up to criticism through the blog, I must also welcome it.
- This old post is read quite frequently. It’s one where I reflected on the death of my father 40 days after he passed away. It’s interesting how frequently the number “40” is searched on the web.
- When a local TV anchor died about three months ago, I was compelled to reflect on his career. I knew there wouldn’t be that many tributes to his work, and it would be a shame not to have recognized his journalistic accomplishments. It’s obvious that people were hungry for information about Jack Hill, because his name is searched almost daily, and readers are directed to my blog just because it’s one of the few outlets that went into any detail about his life’s achievements.
- Think “religion’s’ not an issue in the Obama-Romney race for the White House? Think again. The title of this post: Obama vs. Romney: What Would Jesus Do?, has been searched every day since publication. I think voters want to know which candidate most believes in Jesus, and it’s interesting that it’s something neither really talks about and probably never will.
- This post holds the record for most hits in one day. It was one of those experimental posts made just a few days after Arkansas Razorback footballcoach Bobby Petrino was fired and justifiably denied the right to coach what could have been a national championship team. The post titled: “Here in Arkansas, It’s the Perfect Storm,” assessed the likelihood that Arkansas State University Coach Gus Malzahn would be enticed to make a new home across the state. For what it’s worth, I think the premise will still play out.
Some days you hit a home run, others, a simple single, and there are those many days when the bat never touches the ball. I’m just thankful to be in the game.
Thanks Bob, for inspiring a “metaphorical” post, and for making me a “daily read.”
See you in the lab.