Why this sudden obsession with the days? I’m so glad that you asked!
In my continuing capacity as your Official Blog For Mental Health conduit and project coordinator, I seem to be getting a lot of questions, comments, and concerns, and most all of them having the same basic theme:
Am I too late to participate in Blog For Mental Health 2014? What’s the deadline for submitting posts?
(If you’ve already pledged or aren’t so interested in BFMH, please do keep reading just the same. I need your help, all of you wonderful Canvas readers, and more details will be forthcoming momentarily.)
In answer to those two questions, you are absolutely not too late to participate, either with a first-time pledge post or with any additional pieces you’d like to submit for sharing. There is no “deadline”, no cut off of any kind for pledging.
In fact, in 2013 we had pledges rolling in all the way through November, which was just fantastic. Right now we’re at 203 pledges, which causes me to say both “Yippeeee!” and “It’s only mid-April, we can do so much more!”
I mean, we can, can’t we? You’ve given a very enthusiastic response and a fantastic hello to BFMH 2014, it has been wonderfully successful, beyond my wildest dreams. And while I still have 100-plus pieces to share out, they certainly won’t last until the end of 2014.
So please, by all means keep writing and submitting your pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will show off you and your words in every way I can through the Official Blog For Mental Health Project site, as well as our various social media outlets. I’m the first to admit that I run kind of hot and cold with the social media sometimes, and I make no promises to turn into any kind of superstar in that department. I do try, though, and the power of social media, the chorus of your voices singing in beautiful harmony to make my own sound stronger and sweeter than it ever could on its own is what got BFMH to where it is today — no minor achievement, that!
I have often silently lamented how there is such an influx of support from all of the amazing Blog For Mental Health Warriors out in the land of blog, but I’ve had so little time and opportunity to get to know many of you. Handling nearly 400 emails already in the space of about three months means I can usually only manage a response to specific questions here and there.
It took me a while to admit I was feeling a bit burned out on the whole project, and a bit longer still to understand why. I was still giving BFMH my all, but my heart wasn’t in it so much as it should have been. That’s when I realized the key element I was missing: people. Honest connections with all who have become involved. Because of the sheer scope of the response, I felt as though I had been turned into a bit of a machine. Add this post here, share it out on that space and that space and that one, check off the boxes so they are neat and tidy. . .
But wait a moment. You must never lose sight of the most important truth. These are pieces of people’s souls they are placing into your care.
People have always mattered to me so much more than numbers and statistics. I’ve always loved it here on Canvas, because I feel the authors have a real and rare opportunity to establish bonds with readers as well as with each other. After all, that’s what makes this whole blogging endeavor so emotionally fulfilling and worth our while, right? It’s the very same thing that makes our lives so fulfilling and worthwhile. The connections we forge between us. And while I certainly always give your words the respect they are so richly due with Blog For Mental Health, it often seems a very one-sided relationship indeed. So starting today, when I’ll be cross-promoting this piece over at the BFMH site, I’m going to try out something in that blog space for which the current working title is “Wild Card Wednesdays”. Not especially original, perhaps, but appropriate nonetheless.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that through the Official Blog For Mental Health Project site I’ve been trying to share out pledge posts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. As someone who abhors any kind of routine, that has been a sort of weird challenge all its own. But I’d like to now use Wednesdays for updates, discussions, forums, brainstorming sessions, 20 questions. . . Okay, I probably won’t resort to 20 questions, but I refuse to promise that in writing! In essence, I’m simply longing for a chance to get to know those of you participating, to talk with you and get feedback on the project and to learn what you think, both generally about life and specifically regarding Blog For Mental Health.
Simply put, I want to take back the element of one-to-one contact that feels like it has gotten so lost in wave after wave of BFMH pledge posting, and to get to know everyone a bit more. This approach may be a the right one or it may fall flat on its face, but the idea behind it is most definitely good, and I want to give it a serious try.
One final point of procedure, and then you can go back to whatever it is you’re hoping no one notices you aren’t actually doing at this moment.
You know, A Canvas Of The Minds has been around a pretty long time, at least in blog years. We’re coming up on our third anniversary this summer (ready the confetti and cue the noisemakers), which is of course the result of the commitment and dedication of everyone writing for Team Canvas, of those who have supported us behind-the-scenes by sharing out out project through social media or just plain cheering us on, and lastly (but certainly not least importantly), we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to each and every one of you who reads and comments. There would be no Canvas if there weren’t minds and hearts and voices like yours to tell us when what we’re doing is worthwhile, that it’s helpful to you, and to engage with us by showing how you relate to our thoughts, our feelings, and our words.
I would very much like to have a special name for this wonderful community, something a bit more definite than addressing you as ‘my loves’, but a bit less cumbersome and hopefully more creative than continually writing ‘this wonderful community of Canvas readers’. This, my darlings, is where I need your help. I figured I could put together a poll and all of you so inclined could vote on an official designation for your very special stature as members of the extended Canvas family. That’s always what this community has felt most like to me, an enormous family. But before I can do any such thing as polling, I need ideas from you, a starting place, maybe a half-dozen or so monikers for this amazing group (maybe less, maybe more). What do you think? Our Sailor came up with the “Team Canvas” title to refer to our authors, and as far as Blog For Mental Health Warriors, that one just happened to jump from the tips of my fingers when I witnessed the amazing dedication and fierce commitment so many have for that project.
But what about this project here? What about BFMH’s older sibling? Honestly, I’ve always loathed the word “followers”. It implies that you are being led somewhere, and nothing could be further from the truth. You are all bright, intelligent, strong, independent-minded individuals who are kind enough to make the choice to read and engage and comment on pieces you find have merit or speak to you here among the blossoming buds of mental health awareness and activism. And maybe you don’t need an official designation, but I have such respect for all you have done and continue to do to make Canvas successful and worthwhile that I do feel you deserve a special term of respect and endearment. I’m also very tired of writing ‘our wonderful Canvas readers’, if you really want to know. It feels somewhat like the veneer of heartfelt sincerity has been rubbed off, like it has become just a pat phrase — though you are all wonderful and me saying so repeatedly hasn’t changed my feelings there one bit.
However, I think between us we can manage to come up with something more interesting, less cumbersome, and certainly more creative and exciting. So put on your appropriate thinking cap (I happen to have multiple thinking caps, suitable for all occasions, but then I do have a weakness for accessories), and kindly leave any suggestions regarding what you feel the amazing community of readers here should forthwith be designated as in the comments below. After you have given your feedback, I’ll put together The First Ever Real-Live Actual Poll here on Canvas, and you’ll have a chance to vote for the title you feel best suits the spirit of the most amazing community of readers a site ever did have.
Let the brainstorming commence!
Lots of love,
© Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.