The Small Blog and The Marathon

The view from our room at the Ritz -- I thought it looked vaguely Parisian, do you see it too?

I just got back from a magical weekend in New Orleans where I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit. Everyone told me that Mom 2.0 would be my type of conference, and it turns out that everyone was right. I loved it. I loved that it was small, I loved that it was focused, I loved the openness and honesty of the attendees.

Turns out that the reasons I loved Mom 2.0 are the very reasons I should be proud of my blog.

It's small. It's focused (or "niche" as the marketers like to say.) I'm honest on my blog -- I don't pretend to be something I'm not, even if it acting differently might get me more readers.

What's strange is that the very reasons I loved Mom 2.0 are the reasons I sometimes feel bad about my blog.

I've been doing this since 2005. I've done fine for myself work-wise outside of the blog. I have made more amazing friends than I could have ever dreamed of. But sometimes I wonder what's wrong with this blog. Why do I still have the same modest traffic I've had since 2006? (Frustrating!)

What am I doing wrong?

Intellectually, I know the answer. I know that I'm doing nothing wrong, except when I am.

Talking to so many writers that I admire was energizing, and having some of them tell me how much they've loved this little space reminded me that while what I do here isn't for everyone, there are people reading.

And getting it.

(That's you. Thank you.)

Then yesterday I went to watch the Boston Marathon. If you ever want to put things in perspective, go watch marathon runners.

While I was as amazed as anyone by the record-breaking times achieved by the elite runners I couldn't stop watching the everyday people. The ones who kept going in the shadow of the elite athletes.

I was explaining the marathon to my children as we watched the people run. Why was everyone cheering? Why are they running? Why was that man crying as he ran? Why is someone running in an Elvis costume? Why? Why? Why?

And then my oldest asked me why people kept on running if someone had crossed the finish line hours ago. Why run if you're not going to win?

"Because winning isn't the point. I'm not sure finishing is the point. I think the point is simply to do it."

If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon. -- Emil Zatopek, Czech runner; winner of four Olympic gold medals

My mother wanted to stay until the last runner. I told her we would have to be there past nightfall. The last runner is in a category all his own.

Blogging is like a marathon. You can be there from the beginning and play by the book, or you can jump in and out of it. There are elite runners who in many ways are in a race all their own, but that doesn't take away from the everyday people. The ones who have their own reasons for running.

The ones who keep going even after the race has been won.

The last runners.

I think I'm in that category. And I'm putting my heart into owning that.