On Waiting

 

When I was a kid I swore I’d never have a garden. My dad had a garden and I hated it. There were weeds and bugs, and the sun was hot, and I got dirt under my fingernails and just…ugg. I hated it.

As it turns out, I was a moron. Or maybe I was a genius, and I’m a moron now. Whichever one it is, I’ve got a garden. It’s not very big, but I’ve got a little of everything in there. A few tomatoes, some onions, some corn, all the wonderful things I love to eat magically sprouting up out of the ground from nothing more than a tiny seed. It’s kind of exciting.

But.

It.

Takes.

For.

Ev.

Errrrrrr.

Seriously. I’m looking out at my front lawn and weeds sprout up literally overnight, but it takes ninety days to get a decent ear of corn? Let’s maybe speed up the program yes?

Only I can’t. I can go out there and water that little patch of dirt till my yard floods. I can fertilize and mulch and pull up weeds all day long, but you know what? That corn is still going to take three months before it’s ready to eat.

Social media is a lot the same way. A while back I took Kristen Lamb’s advice and jumped into this blogging thing with both feet. I got on Twitter, I got on Facebook, I was ready. Now to wait for the tidal wave of followers to come and be amazed by my awesome.

Only it wasn’t a tidal wave. It was a trickle. One or two here, three or four there, nothing really to write home about. But after a few weeks that trickle grew into a dribble, and after a few months that dribble was a small but respectable stream. And what of the Freshly Pressed Fiasco of 2011? Well it was nice while it lasted, and it did boost my numbers, but not by an unbelievable amount.

Why am I telling you this? Because some of you are in the same boat with me. We look up at the big shots and we just know they’ve got all this clout and we think, “What am I doing wrong?”

And it’s a fine question to ask. We should never be through looking for ways we can improve ourselves. But we should be willing to accept the answer, “Mostly nothing.”

Yes, maybe we can improve our writing and delivery a little, but real honest growth still takes time. Those weeds in my front yard sure sprung up fast, but they’re not good for anything. And the thousands of views I got on my Lima Beans post don’t mean anything in the long run, because most of those people have moved on to the next distraction.

That doesn’t mean that social media is fruitless. It just means we have to wait for the stuff that matters.

We aren’t going to get a million Twitter followers in twenty-four hours like Charlie Sheen did and that’s okay. But a little at a time, if we work at it, our following will grow. And it will be worth it.

Just like it will be worth it three months from now when I sit down at the dinner table and eat the corn and tomatoes out of my very own garden. My mouth is watering already.

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18 responses to “On Waiting

  1. Very true, Albert. I always wonder why things that are good for us always demand a lot of patience from us. But then, the reward is, when you do the things that are good in the long run they gives us a sense of satisfaction and content that fleeting distractions don’t.

  2. Very nice post. Very true and really inspiring.

    One, that I am also trying to have a kitchen garden in my backyard and I can well understand how much patience it requires to maintain it and when you get it’s results, it is really satisfying.

    Two, it’s not only about social media. In general life too, the things take time to fructify. And the more gradually we get things, the more worthwhile/precious they are.

  3. I love gardens BECAUSE they take a lot of time. I appreciate every stage of a garden’s growth. An exposed, barren, brown field is as beautiful to me as a lush, green, bursting garden. Weird, huh?

    I’m not focused on getting “followers.” I’m focused on writing and consistency. So if the followers come, I know they will be genuinely interested in me as a writer.

  4. You are so right Albert. Reminds me that the good things, the best things in life are worth waiting for…even thought the waiting is hard sometimes.

  5. Not everyone is going to be a Hemmingway. Don’t think you want to be Charlie Sheen.
    Think you are planting seeds of your own through writing, maybe showing some youngster that they too can do it.
    My garden seems to survive it all. Weeds, insects ( Did battle with a hornets nest last year ), heat, drought, cold. Hey, this is Kansas….
    Now I gotta get the big tiller running, which could be a story all it’s own.

  6. Yes to the gardening and the tweeting! I wouldn’t know what to do with a million followers, I fear I might shrivel up and die with that kind of tweet-pressure 😉

    But yeah, the social media thing takes work and patience, and there needs to be some kind of gameplan, a reason for why anyone makes the effort with Blogs and Twitter e.g. a book, a cause, a life-record etc beyond gaining a level of recognition, otherwise it seems rather pointless. As opposed to gardening, which is pretty darn fabulous, along with the obligatory dirty fingernails.

  7. So true … just started my own blog and it helps to hear this, not because I was expecting floods of visitors (I am actually quite suspicious of the numbers I am getting – the seem to be too high!), but because it’s a good invitation to patience and hard work for the long run.

    Thanks!

  8. I really like the way you can take something like gardening and relate it back to blogging!! – even if I know nothing about gardening the whole thing makes sense!!

  9. Every year I plant zucchini. The only zucchini I eat come from the garden. In the spring I’m always very excited about the new little plants and I impatiently wait for the first flowers. The first zucchini is anticipated and snatched from the bush.

    By the end of harvest season I can use the winter break. I’ve seen so much zucchihi I question why I plant it at all.

    I imagine you may have the same process with your blogging. Enjoy!

  10. Actually, some a lot of weeds are good for eating. Dandelions for example. Clovers are good for tea. So maybe you can research which weeds are safe for consumption and which aren’t and eat the edible ones while you wait for the ones you planted. 🙂

    Weeds are good for something, too, you know. They could survive in any conditions without having to tend them. 🙂

    But yes, it does take time. Just let nature take its course while we do our best to grow.

  11. Wonderful post Albert! It is so true about watching your numbers…and my fledgling numbers make me excited as I watch them steadily increase….like losing weight, you know it is gonna last if you do it a little at a time and your gonna get quality results when you let it flow naturally!

  12. Nice analogy, Albert. I just got into vegetable gardening last year and used raised beds…..less weeding if any at all.

    Blogging is a new venture, too. I planted the seed, I’m nourishing it by posting each week, and being patient for readers to grow. It takes time. That’s what I have heard.

    It’s okay. We’re writing. That is what is important.

    Have a great blogging week!

  13. Suggestion – when writing your blog, utilize the “read more” feature; it is the icon which looks like 2 pages with a horizontal line through the middle. It has 2 advantages:

    1) when your readers scroll from the main page, they have more post selections to choose from with less scrolling and

    2) subscribers (like myself) get a teaser by email and have to click through to read the rest of the post. Those are the stats which count.

    You may have more readers from your Freshly Pressed than you thought!

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