Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Should I pick up my undies for you?

Sunday evening, we had friends over for dinner.

I didn’t tidy the kitchen. I didn’t spend hours cooking. I didn’t even check between the sofa cushions for underwear.

We’ve known these two couples for 12 years, so I no longer feel the need to pretend I’m a respectable housekeeper who doesn’t allow the dogs to lick the plates after meals.

I thought about this midway through dinner when it occurred to me I hadn’t even made sure there was toilet paper in the guest bath.

Part of me felt bad about that.

And part of me felt grateful to have friends who are comfortable enough in my home to march out of the bathroom muttering, “Tawna, you disgusting slob, where’s your butt buffer?”

It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately with this blog, too. I’ve been delighted to see a recent uptick in brand new visitors journeying over from other blogs with enviously high traffic. Agent Janet Reid has kindly linked to me a couple times on her blog, and Lucy March (a.k.a. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lani Diane Rich) has generously included a link to my blog in the sidebar of hers.

Each time someone new shows up, I have a moment of panic. Did I post something entertaining today? Was I funny enough to keep them coming back?

Then I feel like a jerk, because shouldn’t I care just as much about being funny and entertaining for those of you who’ve been showing up all along?

This is me being neurotic, I suppose. Deep down, I know I care every bit as much for old friends as I do new ones. It’s just a different dynamic. I’ve already had the chance to make a first impression on blog visitors who’ve been coming around awhile. You know about my dirty jokes and my dirty house, and you keep showing up anyway.

For that, I am insanely grateful.

And the new visitors? Well, all I can do is what I’ve been doing, and hope that’s enough to keep you showing up, too. If not, hey – I’m just glad you stopped by.

Those of you who have blogs of your own – do you do this, too? Do you get nervous when new visitors arrive? Do you re-read your own posts thinking, “crap, I wish she’d dropped by on a day I wasn’t posting pictures of how I eat bananas with my feet?”

I’d love to hear from you in the comments – both old friends and new. All of you make me do happy dances in my underwear.

Underwear I’ll try not to leave in the sofa cushions if you happen to stop by.

33 comments :

Maggie said...

I don't even have very many followers, but every time I see that number go up, I have to stop myself from banging my head against the keyboard. Because with each new follower, I have the urge to rewrite posts and send them a message saying that, you know, I'm not ALWAYS this lame!

Also, I love the friends like that! Unless I'm that friend, in which case I'll usually yell at the door until someone finally gets annoyed enough to either shove some toilet paper under the door, or throw the roll at my head. But when I'm not the friend, those types of friends are very nice to have. :D

Also, I'm pretty sure that none of that made sense. Great.

Girlinbetween said...

I think I'm a bit different, every time I see a new follower my heart jumps into my throat and I get very excited. When the follower number goes up I feel like I am doing something right :)

Great post!

alastairstephens said...

The most important thing about every blog I read is that it is unique from all the others; there are a million places online where I can read clean, robotic posts about safe subjects. I come here because I enjoy your voice, your perspective, your wit and, yes, the imperfections that make you you. It's something that I wrestle with on my own blog, because I have a tendency to edit the soul out of everything I write over there, but I'm getting better.

So, in a sense, I come here because you leave your underwear in the sofa cushions.

Which sounded less weird in my head... ;)

Kelly@ JustWrite said...

I'm a new follower and I think that's what I love about your blog...immediately, I felt like this was you, nothing guarded, and that just makes people feel comfortable. :)

And yes, whenever I see my follower number go up, I resist the urge to go back and re-read recent posts through new eyes. Just trying to be myself...it's working for you, right??

Looking forward to reading more!

Bethany Mason said...

I agree with what's already been said - I read your blog because it's you. I don't want to read something that's insincere; and you know, readers can ALWAYS tell. I think the best thing is to just be yourself and if they stay then it's because they like your writing and not for anything else.

Karla Nellenbach said...

Ah yes, everytime I see that someone new is following me (both on my blog and Twitter) I feel that instant surge of "You like me! You really, REALLY like me!" and then of course, I have to beat my inner Sally Field back until she's crying in the corner promising to be good from now on. After that comes the "Oh, sh*t! Now I have to be entertaining. What do I do?" Which inevitably leads me over here for some pointers. *wipes brown stuff off nose* ;)

Danica said...

Tawna you aren't alone! I fold clothes at the coffee table in the living room and sometimes I get lazy when picking them up...which means one of my bras and a pair of panties sat on the coffee table for a couple of days *cough* Eh.

As for worrying about visitors, Hells yeah I worry. I try to be entertaining in my blog, but sometimes I feel like I'm talking about the same material over and over and my old visitors will get bored and my new visitors will think I'm insane. But crazy can be entertaining, right? Don't answer that. It's okay. But I love your posts and look forward to reading them. And I don't mind if you leave your undies around or forget about the TP cause I'm likely to do the same just cause I'm forgetful.

Candyland said...

Anyone who comes over here is going to be entertained, no matter what the topic or day:)

Dawn said...

Your posts are always great, but I do get what you're saying - sometimes when someone new stops by my blog I agaonize over whether they'll stay because the post they read wasn't particularly awesome. Congrats on your links and your traffic - well deserved!

Lynda Elkin said...

I second what Candyland said!

Larissa said...

LOL - You are always entertaining!

I do think about that when I get new visitors or followers.

Patty Blount said...

I'm just happy ANYBODY stops by to read my blog... old friends, new friends, people who got lost on their way to clicking some other writer's work.

Patrick Alan said...

I get by on my good looks, so no one should expect anything on my blog to be refudiating.

RosieC said...

If someone drops by, it's because there was something that attracted them in the first place. I'm new to your blog, and I've been thoroughly entertained each time I've popped by. Don't worry so much! :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Well, for the record, I keep coming back BECAUSE OF the dirty jokes and dirty house.

And also for the record, I happen to think the banana toe eating post was among the best...but I'm biased. :)

Michelle Wolfson said...

Did she mean to keep saying for the record??

Janet Reid said...

The title of the blog by itself is entertainment each and every time I drop by.

Patrick Alan said...

For the MP3 Player, I come back, because I am awesome and spruce the place up just by being here.

And for another MP3 player, I will sing "Kiss From A Rose", because I am Batman.

SM Schmidt said...

As my mother always says, people come over to visit you not look at the house. Living with total slobs last year finally made me realize my friends came to visit me and commiserate in the pain of life's special moments.

I adore the special spin you put on otherwise mundane events.

Linda G. said...

*picks up thong from comments floor & shoots it across blog to Tawna* Hey, is this yours or Pythagoras's?

Why am I reminded of that old Girl Scout song? You know, "Make new friends, but kee(ee-ee)p the oh-old, one is silver and the other gold..."

Never fear. You haven't yet failed to entertain me. Since I assume entertaining me, above all others, is your main mission, you can relax. ;)

Robin said...

I figure if I picked up a follower, I did something right. It's when I lose one that I start worrying. Then I have to have an internal conversation with myself about how my writing really is for me. You can't please everyone all the time. If you try, well then you really are in the crick. Just keep doing what you're doing. It's obviously working:-)

Suz said...

Frankly, I don't know why I even have blogs. I always write embarrassing things on them. Guess it's a good thing I don't have too many followers ;)

Who's Frank anyway? ;)

Delia said...

I assume that I'm boring all the time and that's why I have so few followers. Truth in advertising, I guess.

I come here because I can snicker like Beavis at the phrase "butt buffer" and no one will think it's strange. Though, the fact that you're way neater than I am, yet you keep calling yourself a slob, is beginning to give me a complex.

Jeannie said...

I'm just happy someone new has found my blog. I must have done something right to get them there.

Kelly Breakey said...

It seems a little redundant to tell you not to worry because, lets face it we all do. But I came by the first time by accident but your charm and wittiness keep me coming back. Also I am hoping to snag you in one day as a follower of my blog as well.

Keep writing and I promise to keep coming by.

April said...

I love your blog. It always makes me smile. What more could you ask for right? :)

Liz Czukas said...

I got Tweeted by @elizabethscraig on Twitter today, which means a whole bunch of strangers stopped by my blog. Immediately I felt like a huge dork and wondered if they all wondered what on earth elizabeth was thinking.

I can only hope I have the chance to feel like a dork when I see someone reading a book with my name on it. Like, I should have done it better somehow.

Butt buffer? That's a new one for me.

And are all writers disgusting slobs? God knows I am!

- Liz

Claire Dawn said...

I like to think that if they've actually decided to follow, that they saw something they liked. So I just keep doing what I've been doing.

Tawna Fenske said...

Holy cow, I've been away at the beach all day and am amazed to see so many wonderful reader comments accumulated in my absence!

Maggie, it made perfect sense to me :) I'll shove toilet paper under the door for you anytime.

Girlinbetween, I definitely get excited over new visitors, don't get me wrong. It's just that the excited stuff is mixed with a fair amount of terror.

alastairstephens, aw, thanks! I won't bother picking up my underwear if you and the lovely Ms. Lucy stop by for dinner :)

Kelly, welcome! Glad you showed up and are sticking around. You're right, I'm not one to be too guarded. It's probably my downfall at times, but glad it's working for you!

Bethany, thank you! Hopefully the same will hold true when my books start hitting shelves, eh?

Karla, if you're looking to me for pointers, you're in serious trouble :)

Danica, glad to hear I'm not the only one who forgets the undies & the TP. Want to come over for dinner?

Candyland, you mean "entertained" in the laughing-at-me way or the laughing-with-me way? Don't answer that.

Dawn, you know what's funny though? Sometimes the posts I think are my stupidest are the ones that seem to generate the most interest. Go figure.

Lynda, I've found it's best to ALWAYS agree with Candyland.

Larissa, I'm not sure I'm always entertaining. My husband wasn't very entertained when he found me using his razor this morning.

Patty, I always get a kick out of your blog :)

Patrick, why are you stopping by my blog on your anniversary? Shouldn't you be showering your wife with gifts and praise? Give her my sympathies...er, I mean congratulations.

RosieC, don't worry so much? DON'T WORRY SO MUCH?!?! But then what will I do with my time?

Sierra, yeah, I'm rather fond of the banana post, too. Of course if that happened to be the first time someone ever stopped by, they might find me a little bizarre. Oh, wait...

Michelle, nope, to the best of my knowledge, Sierra has no notion of why "for the record" makes us laugh like hyenas on crack. (Sierra...for the record, it's the first line from the novel I used to woo my amazing agent).

Janet, aw, thanks. I suppose you can pet me, but just this once.

Patrick, great. Now I'll have that obnoxious song in my head all night. Thanks a whole @#$% lot.

SM Schmidt, your mother sounds like a wise woman! One who wouldn't mind that I've got no idea what I'll blog about tomorrow.

Linda G, wait, isn't that YOUR thong? Take it back.

Robin, if it makes you feel any better, I've lost a few myself!

Suz, Frank is my secret boyfriend. Don't tell Pythagoras.

Delia, trust me, I'm a slob. You can rest assured that any photos I post or tweet of my house are carefully snapped when something is actually CLEAN for once.

Jeannie, love your attitude that you've done something right to nab new followers. I tend to assume they're surfing for porn and got lost.

Kelly, thank you for the reminder to meander over to your blog. I'll admit, I get distracted sometimes and forget who I've visited & who I haven't.

April, a smile is the best I can hope for, you're right. Well, I can hope for a donut, too.

Liz, oooh! An @elizabethcraig tweet is big time! I'll have to check that out, thanks for the tip.

Claire Dawn, amen! Just keep doing what you're doing!

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Jennifer X said...

Wow, this is a great post to come across today, as I'm agonizing over when and how to start my own blog. I'm a perfectionist, so I want it to be the best for me, but it also has to be appropriate in case I ever enter public office... ;p What if I don't get readers? What if I get haters or start arguments? What if I neglect the blog and/or get bored with it? See? Those WHAT IF questions...

Debra L. Schubert said...

I've met you and I STILL love you! Seriously, you're hilarious and always entertaining. It's no wonder people like the uber-awesome Janet Reid love you, too.

And, yes, it's amazing how awesome it is when we have new followers and how devastating it is when we lose one. Egos are an interesting thing.

MK said...

I have links to blaughs I like in my own blaugh (www.minervakoenig.com), but reading yours has made me realize that I need to ask more questions. I compulsively check my blaugh stats daily (sometimes more than once) and am embarrassed to admit that I get a rush when I see a new IP address on my visitor's log. I'd probably get more comments if I gave people stuff to comment on. Don't you think?

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