So, some of you know that I’ve embarked on a year-long photography project; capturing 366 sunrises in a calendar year from the same spot – namely, Barn Bluff in Red Wing. Each day is a blog post with accompanying pictures; each blog post details an experience, a photography tip or technique, a story.
This morning, I had one of those terrible human moments. It centered around an email that I’d gotten yesterday from a group that I follow; Great Escape Publishing. The newsletter is titled “The Right Way to Travel” and featured an interview with a gal who had built a passive-income website that this year was allowing she and her husband to spend eight weeks away from a Chicago winter. Connie Reed is a fun writer, she enjoys what she does, she’s good at describing events and places. Her website is organized, pretty, and while there are ads they aren’t overwhelming. The problem? The title she chose is the Midwest Wanderer; my travel website is the Midwestern Wanderer. And as I was paging through Connie’s site and thinking how nice it looked and how mine was… well, was basically a reflection of me: sloppy, inconsistent, focused on stories instead of conveying information about places and events, and I thought, what do I have, what is it about my writing and my chosen niche that are good enough for me to think I can attract a following?
Photography blogs are a dime a dozen; travel sites even cheaper. And fitness blogs? Hah! Everyone and their sister has a fitness blog. What about me is so unique that people would come to my website and share their story, read and enjoy the stories that are there? In what way would I ever stand out, other than the fact the articles were written by me? And who – other than me – would be interested in reading a thing that, essentially, is all about me?
What possible justification could there be for me to have a website at all? Not an expert, no area of great skill, no education beyond a year and a half at what amounted to a trade school, what about me is so doggone interesting that it would ever leave a mark on the world?
What if there’s nothing left behind to remind anyone that I was ever here?
Fortunately, it was snowing lightly in Red Wing; the slippery stuff had already coated the ground. And as a wave of cold terror rolled over me, the truck skidded pulling up to a stop sign. I was reminded very sharply to pay attention to the here and now, and let the there and thereafter take care of itself. And sitting at the stop sign, waiting for my heart to slow back down to a more normal rhythm, Og’s Scroll IV sprang to mind: I am nature’s greatest miracle.
And it occurred to me that these new phrases that we are pounding, pounding, pounding into our brains are more than just new habits of thought and repetition that we’re using to create the future; they’re also a shield against the old and more destructive patterns of the past, springing to mind in our new self’s defense whenever the old habits rear up to strike at us from out of the darkness behind our eyes.
What’s unique about my websites is me. Nature’s greatest miracle, like no other before me and never again to be repeated. My fellow Midwestern storytellers will find the site whenever the Universe decrees the time is right for them to do so; they’ll share their tales, with me and with others that frequent the site, and fond memories will be preserved on the ‘net for all time. And maybe I’ll put ads for passive income on it and maybe I won’t – right now, I’m leaning toward ‘not’ no matter how big the site gets. The farthest I’ll go would be affiliate marketing for the specific hotels that I’ve stayed in and can favorably recommend.
Because that is part of my uniqueness that I place on display.