They can be sneaky things, expectations. Creeping in uninvited, pushing our buttons without our knowing, turning the screws on the internal pressure clamps, changing the focus on our view of ‘the way things should be’; until some introspective moment throws back the carpet and they scurry in the light. Sometimes, in spite of the light, they cling to the handles and knobs with their little hooked feet and won’t let go until they are pried off. Even then, you can never be sure that they won’t start creeping back in the moment you leave the room.
In this particular case, I’m thinking of my own expectations in regard to blogging, though they like to slink in to many situations and events. I was thinking just before I started this of how I was hoping to have my Memorial Day post(s) up this week, but I didn’t get the pictures downloaded from my camera and sorted this weekend like I had planned. Since I have my Thankful Thursday posts in the second half of the week, I’d like to put my other posts in the first half of the week, somewhere around Monday or Tuesday, to balance things out. I was feeling mildly discouraged that I’m not producing content as regularly as I’d like, when I suddenly realized that these are all my own – probably unrealistic – expectations.
Much as I appreciate my friends and family who read (and I do!), I don’t currently have a regular, larger audience out there. Unlike several of the blogs that I read (some linked on my right sidebar). And while those authors do have the added pressure that comes with more readers’ expectations, or rather their perception of said expectations, they have also all been blogging for much longer than the month-ish that I have. Which means that they probably have their own systems for choosing topics, processing drafts, sorting and uploading photos, moderating comments and questions, and the whole shebang. Not that I have many comments to deal with yet, but I am formulating a system for drafts/ideas and I am sure I will eventually come up with a less clunky way to process photos.
It is unfair of me to expect myself to turn out content as quickly or as easily as I imagine they do. It is also unfair of me to imagine my readers being disappointed in less frequent posts (my twice a week, if that, as opposed to ‘their’ regularly three or more a week) when I have not gotten any feedback of the sort. Expectations can be even worse when you project them on other people, who may or may not be thinking anything like what you are.
Of course, that is only one side of expectations. While they can be sneaky button-pushing little creatures, they can also be that tingle of anticipation that makes pulling up to the beach house for vacation so wonderful. They can make you grin like a fool while you’re waiting for someone to step off the plane, because you just know that hug is going to feel so good. When managed correctly, they can help you be prepared so you aren’t thrown off balance by unpleasantness or change.
Expectations can be useful, even delightful things. Or, they can be unhelpful, pressuring, even damaging things. I have found that the best way to keep the balance toward the positive side is to be aware. To regularly fling the carpet back and check for crawlies – or overenthusiastic rose-colored glasses. Then deal with either one as appropriate. I, for one, will do my best to stop being disheartened when my planned posts take longer to come to reality than I’d like. And I’ll remind myself that I am pretty sure what readers I have are happy for content whenever I deliver it.
Now, to go check the other rooms of my mental house…