My name is Roxanna and I want to enjoy every day.

This blog is where I figure out how to do just that.
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Tuesday
Apr192011

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.





Reader Comments (34)

Hooray for small blogs! I've been at it since March 2008, and when I mentioned my "anniversary" to my hubby he couldn't believe it had been that long. Yes, I'd like to be bigger/better but it's also important to recognize how much you can realistically do - and how much you want to do. Whenever I get down about my blog's stats I remember the few online friends I've made who've been so supportive, and the random friend-of-a-friend I saw at a wedding and told me that she reads my blog everyday. People do read, what we share matters and may positively influence a total stranger. That's what keeps me writing!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura@JourneyChic

This made me more emotional than I'd like to admit. Loved it, love you.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Marsh

I love this post so much that if I could fit it onto my masthead, I'd do it.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFairly Odd Mother

Goodness, lady, I like your thoughts.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Jane

What a lovely post.

I beat myself up daily about my blog, even though rationally I know that it's a hobby - how dare I compare my modest efforts with those whose livelihoods depend upon what they write every day. The irony is that I work in social media, so I've got a bit of the "cobbler's kids have the worst shoes" syndrome. The fact is, at the end of the day, I put zero effort into promotion - hence, small readership.

To go even a step further, even though I have absolutely no reason to attend any mommy blogger conferences, I still get conference envy.

The irony is that this post will probably do great traffic. ;)

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjulie

Wise, inspirational words! Great post! Thanks!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLollie

You guys...thanks so much. You are My People.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxanna

I'm a runner and a blogger, and I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. Well said!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDesi

Beautiful post on a beautiful blog. (I'd never call it small because the spirit behind it is so obviously huge.) :)

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteragirlandaboy

Beautiful: the blog, the post, the writer

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Love this. And you.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaile

So true, so wise. Sometimes I agree, and sometimes I am envious and selfish. But I had a blast this past weekend even if sometimes I felt shy around the famous folk.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarianna

This is so perfect. Thank you for saying all of that. (And thank you for rooming with me this weekend! You're the best.)

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I love this post so very much. I've accepted that promotion just isn't my thing and my readership will never get any bigger than it is but sometimes I wonder if I should try harder. I like my quiet little space though, just the way it is. Thanks for reminding me of that.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterannettek

My blog just turned one, and I still feel like I'm sneaking into the gym to run on the treadmill . . . trying to keep up with gazelles. I see opportunites such as the Mom summit or perhaps BlogHer, and it makes me hungry. Thank you for sharing your experiences, they are inspirational for us newbies.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathyB

Wow, I did not see that analogy coming. And now I'm all teary-eyed and goosebumpy.
That was beautiful, Roxanna. xo

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Ditto to everyone else. I needed to read this today. Thanks, lovely lady.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

Love. This. Post.

Thank you!

As the author of a small blog and the wife of a 7-time marathon runner (one of which was the Boston marathon), I completely love everything about this post. Especially today, when I'm struggling to format a new site and transfer my current blog to a new domain all while dealing with that *other* FT job - the one that actually helps pay the mortgage. I'm at the 20-mile mark - the point at which my husband always said he wanted to just lie down and die. But in my heart, I know I love writing too much to give up blogging, no matter how discouraged I feel.

This is my first visit - I found you through Mom 101 on Twitter. But I think I'll be back to read some more of your small, but lovely, blog.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin @ What She Said

This has been so on my mind for a long time. I love your analogy. My friend told me the other day that some blogs are like indie music stations in a sea of consolidated conglomerates and that's just what it feels like.

OR, as American Idol judges say: There are pop stars and there are artists.

I'm perfectly fine being an artist. (Most days.)

Thanks for this post!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb @ San Diego Momma

Roxanna, it was so great meeting you, albeit briefly!

And I'll say that I love your blog because it just feels so calm and 'right.' So, it's great to see you writing this post and feeling good about it. Because you deserve to :)

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria from EdenFantasys

I loved getting to see you, even if I was rather scary at 6am. We'll have to actually sit down together at one of these conferences & have a decent conversation. San Diego?

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendi

Yes, and yes! I've had the same thoughts recently. What am I doing why am I here, why did I jump into this? But them I write something I'm really proud of and I don't care about traffic or numbers. I answer my own question.
I like where your heads at baby!
And that's why I click over here.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Read your post via Blogher and just wanted to tell you how much I loved this. Lately the competitive nature of blogging has been pretty disheartening. I don't want to be a "brand." I started blogging because I needed to write for me again, in a place that was wholly mine. And whether the traffic comes or not, I want to make sure I still keep that sense of authenticity, to still be true to myself. Thanks for reminding me of that.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWandering Chopsticks

I just read this on Blogher and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I've been feeling down much of the week about my blog traffic (among other things). This happens every once in a while and then after a pity party I realize I don't blog for the traffic. Sure traffic is nice but the friendships and the collage of my life that are now captured are my blog's heartbeat.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenn (GH)

What a wonderful post! When I first started blogging I thought I might be able to make money at it. But over the last two years since I started, I realize it has taken me on a totally different path. I have met great people and have found new writing opportunties through my blog. I wish I had more time to do all things the experts say to get blog traffic up but I am just grateful I get the chance to share my voice with the world. Thanks for the great reminder.

Love it. Thank you for reminding me that it doesn't matter how small it is, it's the fact that I'm blogging that matters most! Enjoy it for what it is, not for what it could possible one day maybe be!

Wonderful, thank you for this! I am writing a small blog and working on running a marathon, so I can relate to all of it. I am doing it, and that is the point -- win or lose, I'm having a lot of fun.

And thank you for mentioning Dave McGillivray - I read the same article this year and I was blown away. Such an inspiration. I really want to gather a group of people next year to form a cheer squad when he crosses the finish line. He deserves to hear the crowds cheers echoing down Boylston Street, too.

Typing through tears...
"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." This quote has won me as a fellow sister who blogs 'niche' blogs to a small readership.
It's about the journey. The story of the runner touched me deeply. I was a long distance runner for 35 yrs. Can't run now due to medical reasons but my heart still wants to run. I see the how blogging and running parallel. It's about the journey. Running long distance and blogging, It's the mild setbacks or the 'doing it through tough hills and winds and the lovely little victories along the way that make the adventure priceless!
Here's a little story that showed me so much...
My mother-in-law used to live with us for years till she passed. She used to say one of these comments me all the time...
"You going to run today? It's raining!!
"You going to run today? It's hot as hell!
"You going to run today? It's so windy!
"You going to run today? You don't feel good!
"You going to run today? You didn't sleep well, you said.

I could go on.
After a few years of this, I had a revelation. There are very few perfect days. If I waited for them, I'd never run.
This is true for blogging also. Thanks for helping me link these two truths together.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne Moss

[...] I understand. I know what it’s like to look at your stats and wonder what you’re doing wrong. I know what it feels like — my blogs are small, at least if you measure [...]

[...] The Small Blog and The Marathon [...]

I read a post in which you mentioned using mibole apps on the enV Touch. Have you discovered a way to use Google Maps on this phone? Is so, please share! I can't stand VZ Navigator it doesn't bring up results on a map, so you're left clicking each location, clicking to see it on the map, zooming out so you can actually see it in relation to your position

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIlyes

[...] One of the things I love about Boston is our marathon. I love the marathon. I love how accessible it is. You can just jump in and out of the race, if you want. You can high-five your friends as they run by. I find so much inspiration from it. Here’s the post I wrote about the last time I was there (with my kids. I can’t even go t... [...]

April 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterI love you, Boston.

I love this, Roxanna! And isn't this exactly what we're trying to teach our kids? It's not about winning, it's about the experience. Just run your own race:)

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlix

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