I know the rules. As sole proprieter of a blog and website, I’m expected to be a content creation machine and a social media maven. The way to grow an audience is to update frequently, tweet feverishly, and slather myself all over Facebook. That’s on top of writing songs and interviewing artists. In a normal work week, I fail miserably. It’s a big huge problem. During the holidays, I didn’t even try.
I spent last week in a rented house in Los Angeles with my sisters and my dad and all of the husbands and kids. We swam. We ate. We hiked and played games and road-tripped to Joshua Tree in a pimped-out tour bus that my pal Curtis lives in. I met my friend Tori’s horse. We exchanged gifts on the little-known miraculous tenth night of Hanukkah because various personality-related circumstances prevented us from celebrating during the traditional eight-day window. I don’t know what happens in your family, but our family gatherings require a certain flexibility.
Sometimes on vacation I carve out an hour or two each day to work, but it’s a double-edged sword. I feel vaguely productive, which stems the constant anxiety over the need to produce more and better and faster, but I invariably wind up spending more time than I had planned in front of my computer or with iPhone in hand. My family is always understanding and always bummed. And once the door to work is opened it oozes all over everything. I might be lounging in the sun having a lovely chat with my nephew but in the back of my mind I’m trolling for something clever to tweet or post. Hardly a recipe for quality time. I did carry my lyrics notebook out to the yard one morning but as soon as I got settled someone put on Stevie Wonder and cranked it.
So. Work was a wash. I halfheartedly posted a couple of photos and then abandoned the social network entirely. For a minute there it actually felt like I was disappearing. Like if I didn’t make my presence known to unseen followers and invisible friends I would quickly be forgotten. Like I was losing the thread of something important, and maybe I was. Maybe I’m messing up by not being a more dedicated, disciplined, hard-working member of the digital ranks. I want to live a real life. I want my project to succeed. It’s so confusing. All I know is once the panic subsided, there was nothing but relief. Here’s what that looks like.
In a year or two, when my website is a bust and my career is up in smoke, will I look at these photos and kick myself for not working harder? In a year or two, when I have a stack of songs that could only have been written by a person living her life, will I be satisfied that I made the right choice?
I know I’m not the only one struggling to straddle worlds. Pray tell.