Monday, March 22, 2010

Why I blog

In the two plus years I've been blogging I've seen bloggers come and go, with some taking short breaks and others deciding to quit altogether. Just recently there's been another spate of leaving and it's caused me to evaluate why I blog. What's the purpose? What does it add to my life?

[This isn't going to be a philosophical treatise because that's just not me but I do have my pensive moments.]

The first time I heard about blogging was when my daughter set up an account for me on xanga so we'd have another way to stay in touch while she was six states away at Bible school. She told me that lots of people were doing this "online journaling thing". I posted maybe six times in eight months. Since we talked on the phone every day, I just didn't see the value nor did I find xanga very user friendly. I kept running into walls when I'd try to do more than post straight text.

Later that year I had some forced downtown when a bad case of bronchitis went on and on and on... During that time I discovered some Christian mommy bloggers (although I had no clue there was even such a term as "mommy blogger" at that point) and was motivated to start my own blog on blogger. But my posting was still sporadic. Like any kind of writing, blogging takes a certain amount of discipline.

Then I began to see the value of having a medium for easily communicating with not only our kids, but other relatives, friends, and people in our supporting churches...

Rather than depending solely on e-mail, I could journal about our life on the mission field and anyone who was interested could access it. The year we were in Uganda I sent long, descriptive e-mails of our experiences to friends and family every ten days or so and received a lot of positive feedback about those letters. But then, as now, whenever I'd send out a mass mailing, a bunch would come back as "unable to deliver". With blogging, those who are truly interested have no problem keeping up-to-date and I'm not bothering those who couldn't care less.

But again, there was the whole discipline thing. While I've always liked the IDEA of journaling, the reality was that I've never been good with consistently following through. Initially I set myself the goal of posting once a week. Then twice a week. I'm now up to 4-5 times per week and generally hit that goal unless we're traveling and without internet.

Bottom line: Primarily I blog in order to COMMUNICATE with the folks "back home".

But blogging has become more than that...

Along the way I've made some good online friends that I may or may not ever meet. I'm counting on being able to meet some of you when we come on furlough late next year, those who live really close to where we'll be traveling.

I've also gotten to know friends and family even better than I did when we lived in the same country, by reading their blogs and them reading mine; we've shared life experiences, memories, our thoughts and dreams -- constantly drawing us closer together in a way not possible outside this funny medium we call blogging.

The discipline of writing almost daily has made me a better writer. While I harbor no illusions that I'll ever be a great writer, I do a better job of communicating now than I did two years ago. [I also find myself viewing almost everything that happens through the lens of how I can write/blog about it!]

It's taken time but I've finally found my "voice". Which is to say I don't HAVE a consistent voice and am all over the board with topics and tone. While I greatly enjoy topical blogs (like quilting or cooking) I decided early on that I didn't want to limit myself in that way. And although I really enjoy blogs with a certain tone (purposely funny, devotional in nature, contemplative) it just isn't in me to do that. I write how I think and feel, and that means you never know what you're going to get.

One thing I don't do is share much about what's happening in our ministry. My blog, which is open to anyone who wants to read it, is not the place to get into specifics. Those who are in the pastorate or on the mission field know how careful we need to be, always balancing how much we say publicly.

Nor do I share Every.Single.Thing going on in my life. Again, my blog is not the place to get into specifics. (Nor do I have the time to share all that's happening.)

That said, I do enjoy sharing as much as I can.
This is my life.
Welcome to my blog :-)


Mari said...

You said it well! I've also seen bloggers come and go and sometimes wondered to myself why I continue. Like you I've been amazed at how many wonderful people I've met. I've been able to meet some in person and hope to meet more in the future. I've also found there are a lot of bloggers who will pray with me when I need it.
I'm so glad you are blogging and I found you!

Sweet Tea said...

Blogging is cheap therapy for me. I write about whatever crosses my mind on a given day. There's something about sharing simple moments with others and reading about what they have to say that is mind-freeing, I think.

2cats said...

Thank you so much. I have been contemplating turning my blog into a type of journal. I just haven't gotten around to it. I was worried I would make a mistake. But, I think I can go forward with my thoughts after reading what your blog has done for you.

The Bug said...

I started out trying to blog anonymously - as a place to do little controversial essays & improve my writing & creativity. My blog didn't stay anonymous for long & for the most part I try to steer clear of controversy - don't want to alienate any of my new friends.

Like you I don't really have a rhyme or reason to my posts - basically you get whatever I'm in the mood for that day!

I'm glad we "met!"

Kay said...

I used to worry about my 'voice' but I kinda figured I don't sound the same in real life all the time... so I'm not going to sound the same on the blog all the time. It just depends! I love reading all the interesting things you're doing. :)

SusanD said...

I'm so glad we've met through this blogging venue. I'd love to meet you face-to-face, but know that if we don't here....we will be praising Jesus together before the throne! I enjoy your posts and pictures. Thanks for sharing yourself. Blessings, SusanD

2Thinks said...

The word I most noticed in your post was "discipline". I don't have much when it comes to blogging. I'd blog til the cows come home, if I had nobody to make me feel guilty about it. I'd sit in front of the computer all day reading and writing blogs, if I could. No discipline about it is what has gotten me in trouble with it.

I hope to continue and find some sort of balance between real life and blogging. Is that really possible?

Amy said...

i'm so happy you blog so I can have some idea what's happening in your life. I've always thought about blogging but i never feel like I have much to say.
p.s. Chris and I just downloaded skype. We should chat sometime!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

and we are all glad that you do!

It's weird isn't it. When I started doing this two years ago I had no clue what I was doing or what I wanted to blog about. I just knew I wanted to do it!

I love all my blogger pals!


Betty said...

Our reasons for blogging are very similar. YOu said it well. I started to keep in touch with my daughters too, but have found so many great blog friends along the way, that I wouldn´t want to loose touch with.
I did a similar post a while back, I should re-read it and see if my reasons are still the same.

Formerly-Corn in My Coffee Pot said...

Thank you so much for sharing this.
I find it very much a hobby to blog. It is fun and interesting. I think the people I meet or read about are wonderful people.
I love to read your blog there are so many interesting things that you do, and place that you go.
I love your pictures. And even the way you share about the culture where you live.
Without of course- the great detail of the ministry.
I understand the work you're doing is important. But some of it needs to be done privately.

In fact- I blog anonymously...meaning- no close friends or family read my blog. I have met others while blogging. Who I would now call friends (pen-pals really) and it is the blogging community and intimacy that I share with them that I don't get on a day to day basis with family. Weird, huh?

It's like getting a letter in the mail- and it is addressed to me and I can share it with others OR I don't have to really.

No one else in my family blogs. So I don't feel like I'm being selfish with my hobby or my mail.

I may blog about this!
Love your posts...look forward to reading!
Keep blogging!

wallymetts said...

I blog because I can't help it. :)

rita said...

Excellent post!
My answer: All of the above

When you were in Uganda, I couldn't or didn't always read your lengthy e-mails. The blogs, especially with graphics, are so much reader-friendly and accessible.

I must admit I was surprised that you also had to go through a learning/growing/blog developing period. I probably wasn't onto your blog at that time.

Mother needs to read this and understand about your ministry privacy issues. She thinks you're just having fun ;) And you are too! L told her he wished he had understood that concept way back.

(BTW, you meant forced downtime, right?)