By Christine Kane
I’m a baby blogger. A blogling. (Okay, I’ll admit it — I just made myself laugh.)
I’ve been blogging for less than three months, and I’ll just say right here that the last time I learned this much stuff I didn’t want to know was when my college boyfriend made me take a Business Law class with him.
This time, though, I love it. (I got a C minus in Business Law.) For the past 13 years, my world has consisted of intuiting and creating and sitting quietly, communing with songs to “get a feel” for if they are done yet, OR for if that last line of the chorus says exactly what I want it to say, OR if I should cut the 8-bar bridge down to 4, just cuz it “seems” to work better.
Now, joy of joys, I have entered a world where, tucked within simple “less-than” and “greater-than” signs, sharing the space with happy little exclamation points here and there, are all of the answers to whatever might be wrong. Everything can be explained, resolved, changed and fixed from within those signs. No one will ever look inside those “less than” and “greater than” signs and make a face and say, “You know? That just isn’t workin’ for me. Maybe you could add a few more exclamation points or something. Or maybe a question mark”
My language has changed, too. My friends don’t recognize me anymore. The other day I said, “I’ve gotta go figure out this Technorati stuff and then I’ll claim my blog, and burn the feed, and read up on this social bookmarking thing cuz I so do not get delicious.” My friend Beth, a Celtic musician, just stared at me. She looked like the RCA Victor dog. Head cocked, and listening for some sound to let her know that her friend Christine was still in there somewhere.
There was a day, about three years into my career of performing and songwriting, when I was discovering the massive amount of business work that goes into an artist’s career. This was before I had set up my company, and before I had hired anyone to do anything for me. I was booking my own shows. I was managing my own mailing list. I was waiting in Xerox lines at Office Depot. And I called a friend and whined, “All I ever wanted to do was write songs and perform them! What is all this other stuff!?”
The other stuff is the framework. It’s the stuff you do so that you can write the songs and perform them. Every artist, at some point in their career, reaches the place where all the other stuff makes them want to run. If I may be very Stevie Nicks about it, the other stuff can make you cry make you break down and shatter your illusions of love. You wake up and realize that yes, you can write songs, and you will have the time of your life, and your dreams will come true. (See also, my song Right Outta Nowhere). AND that there will be lots and lots of other stuff to do to make a career of it, and not just a few weekday open mic nights.
I call Brent “my web guy.” (He probably calls me “the annoying songwriter girl.”) I told him I wanted to start a blog to keep in touch with the world while I take a little time off after five years of heavy duty touring. (And other reasons too.) Brent is new to blog stuff, too. The other day we spent several hours getting an RSS feed for my blog. I was heading out of his office and he leaned out the door and said, “When you wanted to start a blog, you had NO idea what you were getting into did you?” And I said, “Nope. All I wanted to do was write things.”
Only this time, my illusions of blog are only mildly shattered. I’ve been here before. This is the other stuff. The framework — SO THAT you get to write and post and be on the web. No problem.
So, when Darren Rowse at Problogger challenged bloggers to post their goals for all the world to see, my mind went into my “Starbucks Venti” mode… Okay, there’s learning about AdSense, and I still don’t get social bookmarking at all, there’s that plug-in to automate the amazon affiliates thingee so I’m not cutting and pasting, there’s Guy Kawasaki’s whole thing about planning your blog schedule in advance (cuz after all it’s not just a diary), and you want the Clean Archives look and that code is not going to write itself you know.”
And then I stopped and do what I always do when I get overwhelmed. I took a deep breath.
My One and Only Goal (to rule them all)
I have WHAT goals. And I have HOW goals. WHAT goals consist of lists, like above, only a little less frenetic. WHAT goals are about songwriting, making demos for my publishing company, releasing a new CD. WHAT goals are about my record label office and all of its requirements.
But the HOW goal is most important. And the one goal that rules all of my WHAT goals is this: (I will write it in my new blogling language)
(less than-sign)Goal (equals sign) ! to go at my own pace ! (greater-than sign).