Thanks for Reading, Thanks for Commenting

I was watching the finale of Season 7, The Next Food Network Star, last night (Jeff Mauro, the Sandwich King, won, in case you missed it), and something that was announced grabbed my attention.

Premiering on Aug. 27 will be a new show starring The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, who has penned an immensely popular cookbook, memoir, and children’s book. She’s billed as a sassy, spoiled city girl turned rancher’s wife and home-schooling mom of four; her show will spotlight home cooking and life on the ranch.

What’s amazing to me is that Ree is a blogger. But not just any blogger.

She gets more than 20 million page views per month and received the Weblog of the Year award for 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Talk about a following!

Seriously, I can hardly fathom having that many people devouring my words on a regular basis. How does she ever keep up with the comments?!?

When I started this blog (shortly after returning from a Writer’s Digest Editor’s Intensive in October, 2009), I did so with a great deal of trepidation. I’ve written practically all my life, but the idea of putting my thoughts and words “out there” for all the world to see kinda gave me the heebie jeebies (yes, that’s a word — look it up!). The last thing I wanted or needed was having a bunch of strangers creeping on me.

Over time, however, it became apparent that the people reading my blogs were, in many cases, very much like me. As I read their thoughts and words in return, and as we commented on each other’s posts, I began to feel a kinship with them. I prayed for them, looked forward to learning more about them, and began to hope that somewhere along the line, maybe we’d actually meet in person.

That hasn’t happened, yet. But it’s okay. You don’t have to see friends every day to remain connected.

I’m thankful for every single one of my readers — whether they leave comments or not, whether I know them personally or not. They make me smile, or laugh out loud; they give me new ways of looking at things and advice when I ask for it.

Writing can be a lonely task. Knowing there are others traversing a similar path makes the journey more pleasant.

So go ahead and leave a comment. How can we connect if I don’t know who’s reading and what you’re thinking?

Deal…or No Deal?

My Favorite Domer, home for the Thanksgiving holidays, somehow managed to find time to read a book.

Now this wasn’t just any book. It was a challenge, more or less, a carrot-on-a-string, and you’d have to know that MFD really doesn’t like reading to understand what a huge deal it was.

A few days before the holidays, a BIP (Big Important Person) came to one of MFD’s classes, bringing with him a stack of books. BIP spoke to the group and announced that he was giving away said books to all students wanting to read them. BIP even promised his company would donate mucho-dinero to the college, matched by his own contribution to the university itself, if every student taking a book would read it and e-mail him by a certain date, speaking about what he/she had gleaned from its pages.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Ah, but we’re dealing with human beings here, young adult human beings, for whom nothing is simple.

So MFD took one of the BIP’s books, hauled it home, and read. Pretty interesting stuff, he told me.

Returning to campus, MFD e-mailed the BIP and received a very nice response. However, of the 200 or so students participating in the class, only about half actually agreed to take a book and read it; of that number, just half actually read the book and e-mailed the BIP.

Thus, no monetary donation.

MFD was bummed when he told me this. Bummed he’d spent all that time reading when he could have been working on the multitude of other projects on his plate. Bummed his fellow students would take BIP’s book and not live up to their end of the deal. Bummed the college and the university lost out on all that free cash.

I don’t see this as catastrophic as MFD does. First, no time spent reading a good book is wasted. Second, MFD proved to himself and to BIP that he, at least, is honorable, a man of his word. And third, he doesn’t have to live with the stigma of being one of the students who caused the college and university to lose out on a potential donation.

It’s a good lesson in human nature, too. Too often, we take the easy way out, maybe having good intentions but letting other things get in the way. Then we convince ourselves that somebody else can pull the load (or in this case, nobody else would rise to the challenge anyway).

As Vince Lombardi once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”