Transparent Red by Carol Marine

October 5th was my friend Carol Marine's one-year anniversary. Well, in a way.

On October 5th of last year, she started painting one painting per day. Just amazing paintings of the things I like best--things around the house --flowers and fruit and wine and coffee cups. She says that she thinks she only painted 324 painting in the 365 days. ONLY. Dude, if I had been that faithful on my exercise program, I'd be able to fit into my old jeans a World Cyclist by now.

I really wanted to post something to recognize her heroic effort on the actual day of her anniversary but, as usual, I got distracted. I could use some of her discipline and structure, to say the least.

I go faithfully to her blog, and also to the blog of another artist who does a variation of the same thing.
Apple Orchard Amish Farm Fall Landscape for the Holidays by Heidi Malott.

Her name is Heidi Malott and she chooses some different subject matter and I think maybe her paintings are bigger.

I love both of these artists very much. And the development of their craft since they've been doing this daily devotional is really quite amazing.

Anyway, I'm fascinated by this idea of working at one's craft every single day. And not just working at one's craft but finishing something. Every. Single. Day. If I could harness this discipline and apply it to things in my life other than finishing a box of crackers, imagine the development of my craft as a... well, okay, let's say WRITER, just to be silly.

Granted, I have been blogging almost every single day since April 1, 2007. I have 175 posts in 191 days. But I've been thinking lately that the fact that I am such a prolific blogger is a bit overwhelming to my audience. Know what I mean? (Yeah, and by the way, thanks for telling me and all. I mean, I'm out here writing about my relationship with my UPS guy and y'all are standing right there saying, "Oh, gosh, Barb, that's just (yawn) fascinating but I gotta go. No really. Let go of my arm." You could have TOLD me. It's not like you'd have to SEE me crying or anything.)

So, anyway, I've been thinking about cutting back on the amount I blog to four or five times per week. What if on the other two or three days, I were to work on book chapters?

When my husband was teaching our oldest daughter to play poker (under the guise of practicing math skills) he knew I was listening and he kept throwing out all of these Harley Davidson-isms for my special entertainment. One that sticks with me is, "Do you want to run with the big dogs or just stay home on the porch?"

I hate it when I meet up with deep thoughts in the guise of an advertising slogan. Who knew that to run with the big dogs, you'd have to run (Paint? Write?) every single day?


Ei said…
I would love it if you worked on a book chapter a few days a week. Of course I'll still be reading everyday, but, you know.

I'm a prolific blog reader. Hum. I need a full time craft. But I also need a housekeeper.
Suna Kendall said…
Hmm, well, there I was going to suggest you to that November thing where you vow to post an entry to your blog every day. Noblopomo or something. Someone else will correct me, I'm sure.

OR, do the thing I just found and put a link to BWO, which is Blogging without Obligation. Go here:

The BWO dude makes some valid points.

I do manage to work at one of my crafts practically every day, but I don't finish a knitted "thing" every day. Nor do I blog every day--I do more family and friends stuff on weekends. I write for work, so yeah, I guess I do that. Just not very creatively.

Anyway, I don't think your blog is too long. And it is creating material for a book, as you probably have figured out.
DK said…
Um, I have absolutely no problem, whatsoever, with the frequency at which you post. Like, a lot.

Again, is alls I'm sayin', really.

Oh, but those UPS guys? They'll break your heart. Don't ask me how I know this...
Barb Matijevich said…
See, Suna, I don't blog with any sense of obligation, though. I just LOVE it. I could rattle on here for hours. but my thing is that I think maybe, although this is honing my chops for other writing, I'm not sure blogging is the kind of craft you can look at along the same lines as a gallery full of paintings or a Nobel Peace Prize or something.

I guess I sort of need to decide what it is I want to be when I grow up, or even if I want anything more than what I have now--good friends to write to, a growing and hilarious family and a good marriage.

I just always thought that maybe my work could help bring down the artificial walls that we erect between us --because laughter does that, I think.

I'm just not sure what else it is I'm supposed to be doing, if anything.

I love having a good mid-life crisis in the comments! Doesn't even count as a blog post!

Anonymous said…
If writing this blog is getting in the way of your other writing, I'll understand your need to cut back. If, on the other hand, you don't think we are interested - that's different. Don't cut back for that reason. Please don't.
Nah, stick to every day - but consider it a warm-up to the other writing, rather than going on to goof off at other people's blogs for an hour (the way I do).
hokgardner said…
I blog not to keep my five readers entertained, but as an exercise in writing something every day. I feel it's important as a writer to do this, and I know that if I'm writing for an audience, no matter how small, I'm more likely to write. So write on Barb! I'll keep reading.
MadMad said…
First of all, I went on Heidi's site - probably linked from yours - and WOW! stunning stuff!

Second, I also keep romising myself I'm going to limit my blogging to focus on "real" writing, and I will, too, just as soon as I finish reading the next blog, and post something halfway decent on mine... and read another blog... It would be nice if blogging paid, wouldn't it?
Lynn said…
And you think you're not breaking down the walls by being yourself? I think being real is the only way to truly connect with others. Yes, it unnerves a lot of people [so does talking to them in elevators, but that's one of the things I promised myself I would do after 9/11, so if the idiots ever hit *here* and I'm stuck in an elevator for awhile, I won't be stuck with strangers]. But there are loads and loads of people who could use a little shaking up, not in a bullying way, but in a gentle, funny "have you ever thought of?" way.

I read something, somewhere, about how the career path of many women just meanders in seemingly random ways, and it's only after some time passes that they can look back and see the pattern.

In my own life, it doesn't matter much to me if I'm writing, or knitting, or quilting, or making jewelry, just so long as I'm creating.

Maybe it doesn't matter whether you're blogging or dutifully writing a chapter a day on your book. And maybe direction is more important than speed. Though sometimes you *do* have to have a map, and a compass, or a GPS, to get where you need to go; other times it's more about the journey than the destination.
Ei said…
I have to wonder why you are so hard on yourself for doing things that give you seem to be dismissing them as not meaningful enough.

What is that old saying...Do what you love and the money will follow? I don't know. I think there is some truth to that, but I certainly think that the meaning and purpose will follow. You are a terrific writer and what you are doing here is important to those of us who read it. Blogs are an amazing source of *connection* in a very disconnected world. Some of us need it.

Hugs hon.
Anonymous said…
I certainly enjoy reading your blog every day, everyone understands if you need to cut back in order to make yourself happy or to make money.
However, if it is just because others would have you believe that it is not important enough to raise kids, grow a family, have a happy marriage that you must also have a CAREER to be a successful person. Then it is questionable motivation at best.

Personally, I think that is one thing that is wrong in the world today - too little emphasis on raising a family.

Everyone needs to find their own best road, but happiness is a signal showing that you are on the right one.

don't mean to sound preachy
be happy!
Barb Matijevich said…
It's my German roots. (Oh, I knew I could blame this on my mom is I worked hard enough!) I don't know, I used to have all this ambition and now I'm so happy leading a life filled with small things.

Thanks, you guys, this has been like a Barb Pep Rally. (And I have needed it because I am single parenting all week and frankly, I don't know how single parents do it. Without much, MUCH stronger drugs.) You make me realize that thing I always say is true--you build community and help people one tiny act at a time.

So, thank you all SO MUCH and I promise to stop whining now.

Ei said…

I'm German too. :P I knew our connection was meaningful.

If you stop whining that means the rest of us have to too. That's no fun.
Anonymous said…
This is a beautiful post. As are most of yours. So skip the "nobody wants to read about my laundry" stuff. We love your laundry/dogs/knitting/shopping misadventures. Every day. That said, I am the queen of distraction and I would rather clean out my silver drawer than work on a manuscript sometimes. But once I'm there, in the thick of it, dang do I feel good. It's like all exercise that way, or like prayer. Blogging, I think, is a really powerful practice and connector and it is meaningful. But I think if it's stealing at all from the other stuff you want to write, by all means, steal back. That "what you want to be when you grow up" stuff, though? Forget about it. This is it. Today and tomorrow... just this.
Anonymous said…
Well, you do post a note almost everyday on your blog. That takes a lot of discipline (and imagination !).
I eat candy every day. :)
Actually, this guy has been doing it for quite a while and was in USA Today last year...I write every day and work on a painting every day, unless I am out of town. If I am out of town, I am taking pictures to paint from (I am a painter)I dont do one painting in one day though (watercolor needs to dry PLUS I have two kids that I am home with)...but the painting a day thing seems really popular and fabulous for practice and the checkbook!