One Person’s Meh Is Another Person’s Amazing

There’s a lot of talk among bloggers these days about the importance of having something to actually say before you post.  The pressure is on to post greatness.  Because, as Scott Stratten says, nobody spreads Meh.

And these sentiments apply outside the blogosphere as well.  Entire shelves of self-help books are devoted to giving your best to whatever you do, whether you’re an athlete or an accountant.

Which, to a point, is fine.  It’s good to put work out there that you can stand behind, that won’t embarrrass you when you look at it later on.

But once you get past the point of not being actively ashamed of what you’re putting out there, do you really know which is Meh and which is Amazing?  I sure don’t.

I’ve been blogging for five years now, on this and other sites.  And while I always put a certain effort into each post, giving my readers the respect you deserve, I am constantly surprised by the posts that catch on and the ones that don’t.   The ones that I put out there thinking it’s fine but probably not great take off.  And the ones that I think are real barnburners? Meh, more often than not.

On an earlier blog, I put up a post about some invisible floating bookshelves I’d installed in my living room, made from inexpensive L-brackets from the hardware store.  I remember hitting the publish button and promising myself I’d do better next time, but thinking that someone might like the idea.

Apartment Therapy picked it up.  And then so did a whole bunch of other blogs.  To this day, when I get  a Google Alert for that now-retired blog, I know that my shelves are making the rounds again.  And recently I had a request from LivingEtc. India to publish a picture in an upcoming issue and how cool is it to be able to add something to your Life List just so you can cross it off?  Because, seriously?  Having a photo of mine published in an international decorating magazine is so off the map cool, the thought of it never occured to me.

So while we exhort people to do their best work, I think we need to acknowledge the fact that everyone has a different opinion of what’s good and what’s great.  Even the really popular stuff won’t be a hit with everybody.  It just won’t.

So what do we do about that?  My suggestion is to put it all out there.  All the stuff that you can stand behind, even if you think it’s maybe just a little Meh.  Because, honestly, it could be The Thing.  The Thing you get known for, The Thing that inspires someone, The Thing that sparks a comment that leads you to a better Thing.  Or to something cooler than you can imagine.  But you won’t know until you try.

And it’s not just me saying it.  Have a look at this post by my friend John Williams of Screw Work Let’s Play.  And watch the video. It’s brilliant!

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10 Responses to One Person’s Meh Is Another Person’s Amazing

  1. Patti Winker says:

    “We’re clearly a bad judge of our own creations.” hmmm….

    Why? I suspect we look at our creations and say, “meh” for many reasons. I, for one, was raised to not be boastful. To speak when spoken to. To never toot your own horn. Many people in my generation and older were taught these ‘values.’

    My daughter and my grandchildren were raised much more free-range. This makes them much more free, period. Free to express themselves without hesitation (sometimes known as being sassy!), but more confident in their abilities because of it.

    Very interesting discussion, Barb. And, yes, my daughter always tells me, “Just write it!” and if somebody likes it, fine. If not, oh well. So, as your invisible floating bookshelves so perfectly illustrate, you really never know, do you.


  2. Tracy Bachellier says:

    That’s pretty much what keeps me from blogging regularly! Maybe it’s time for meh in my life! 😉 Thanks, Barb! xo

  3. So true! So true!

    I’ve had that experience with some less-than-happy posts I’ve put up (and even with some downright whiny ones) – where I doubted that what I said would have any impact, but I either wanted to keep up my end of the “conversation” by continued blogging or thought maybe what I wrote would help someone else remember that we all have meh or blechy feelings at times.

    And, like you – some of those times I’ve been really surprised by the response
    (although I’m still waiting for an international magazine to smile at me – grin).

    Thanks for this – it’s a great reminder!

  4. I totally have the same experience and get surprised at what takes off. I think we need to our best work *in the moment,* hit publish and not look back.

  5. Great post (as personally I think ALL yours are…) AND you know John Williams? Love (most of) his stuff too… but the little ‘Dink!’ (that’s the sound of ‘a moment of connection’) here for me, is similar to what Tracey says, because I have always shied away from posting my Meh! I have ended up having big long periods of silence… not because I stay that way for long, but because in a kinda Reverse-Pringles way, ‘once I stop, I just can’t blog!’

    I’ve started Audiobooing lately because very often, I find it easier to speak than write, but only yesterday, I found I was resisting that too precisely because I felt so shitty, and then I suddenly thought… hang on… sharing this stuff may actually help someone… and so I boo’d! And oddly, even though I didn’t share it on FB, one of my clients found it somehow and made a point of saying ‘Great Boo’ on my FB page. Which kinda backs up your point entirely…

    So Hurrah For The Crap Stuff! 🙂

    PS. Now you too can hear what genuine Meh! sounds like! 🙂
    Well… like I say, may be some value there for someone… 🙂

  6. Barb says:

    This is great! We can build The Tribe of Meh! Which is actually a tribe of non-self-judging, isn’t it?

    And, oh, yes, those posts where we admit to being fallible? I love when I read them from others, and hesitate like mad to hit publish on my own. But when I do, the response is always lovely!

    So here’ s to being human, here’s to being amazing even while feeling meh!

  7. Tweekala74 says:

    Ha! Small world – your picture is doing the rounds on ‘pinterest’ (my latest online addiction). I saw it before I knew about his ‘ere wonderful blog. You are clearly omnipresent, ubiquitous and clearly not at all Meh (PS I’m stealing that word, it’s perfect).

  8. For me, the lesson here is to suspend judgement (your head) and go with how you feel about your work (your heart). Do your best, and know that “your best” isn’t a static thing, it changes from day to day and moment to moment. I recommend this book: Present Perfect by Pavel Somov. It’ll bring more joy into the doing. And one more thing… your photos are captivating.

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