For the Love of the Blog

Sometimes you do something just because you love it. You crumple up the  rules, put a match to the instructions and act from your gut because loving what you do is sometimes the best reason of all to actually do something.

I’ve learned this from the most unexpected place.

I’ve been reading up on the elements of a successful blog and it’s brought me to one conclusion. Well, one big conclusion with lots of bullet points. The big conclusion has become my mantra in recent weeks:

I write this blog for me, not for you. Because I love to write.

I write this blog for me, not for you. Because I love to write.

I write this blog for me, not for you. Because I love to write.

I’ve been repeating it dogmatically (and possibly incessantly) in hopes that it will start to sink in. In hopes that if I declare it frequently and definitively I will begin to own it, or at least own it until I don’t want to own it anymore. Because the truth is I want you to read my blog. I want you to like my blog. Actually, I want lots of people to read and like my blog even though I casually pretend that neither matter because . . . insert mantra

But I’ve hit a snag. The elements that build bigger, smarter, more popular blogs don’t necessarily match my big conclusion, which has thrown me into a bit of a quandary. . .

which is what has gotten me thinking about doing something you love simply because you love to do it

and because you believe in the process it invokes more than you believe in following the rules

and because you believe in yourself just enough to follow your gut

but not quite enough to chuck the entire playbook.

Keeping with the blog analogy, here’s what they say: Keep your posts short, frequent and focus, focus, focus. Random thoughts about life aren’t particularly interesting to people unless you happen to be famous or the person reading the random thoughts is your mom. Oh, and always end each blog with something inspiring that calls people to action (and more importantly makes them leave a comment).

Fine. Great. Agreed.

Now for my quandarifical snag.

Here’s why I blog:

1. I want to be a better writer. Blogging forces me to write and write often, and because people are actually reading my blog (thank you, btw), I want it to be good. Or at least not suck. This takes time but not so much time that my family resents my passion. Therefore, I’ve chosen to blog about once a week.

2. Writing for me is about the creative process. The beauty of starting with one phrase, one image, one sentence — one something that began in a common moment but morphed into a truth that grabbed my heart and shifted my perspective — and then turning it into a picture with the dream of causing that same shift in someone else. Any writer knows that summit is a high like no other. And so, while I always aspire to tighter writing (God knows I need a lot of work) sometimes the creative process takes space that the blogosphere considers epic.

3. Clarity. Mark Twain said, “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.” No kidding. Blogging is the satisfied finish that always leads to my logical perception. I blog to know what I think.

Oh I have more but I’m starting to get bored, and I’m sure you are too.

This is simply my own coming out party. My admission to intentionally going against the rules, at least for a season, because my gut is pushing me toward a bigger picture that doesn’t fit within their confines. Which leads me back to where I started.

Sometimes you do something just because you love it. You crumple up the  rules, put a match to the instructions and act from your gut because loving what you do is sometimes the best reason of all to actually do something.

Oh, and as for the tenet that says I must end with an inspiring question? I figure if my writing isn’t good enough to evoke a response, I don’t deserve to have you leave one. Consider it a personal challenge for the bigger picture.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more incessant repeating to do. . .

I write this blog for me, not for you. Because I love to write.

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16 thoughts on “For the Love of the Blog

  1. right on! (write on?) I could not agree more, particularly about writing to clarify thoughts on an issue. I am also a writer, and now that I’m a stay at home mom, I find the blogging to be essential not only to fulfill that part of me that must write, but to carry on adult conversations, even if just with myself.

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    • Thanks Doug. Me too. The funny part is I’ve been obsessing (incessantly) over that line because it’s an oxymoron. I really should change it, but I like the play on words. Am I the only person who obsesses over such things?

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  2. So happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I’m a thirty-something soccer mom working in college ministry just one state away, and as I’ve begun to read your posts, I have sensed a resonance of spirit that I don’t always get in my local Christian bookstore aisle. Since we’ve never met and are certainly not related, I hope you will receive post this as true, unbiased encouragement! Please keep writing!

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  3. Hi! I am so glad I found this blog. Your voice is fresh and honest. A real good mix. Are there other things you wrote that I can read? Also, I’m a working mom (part-time) who loves to write, too, and getting frustrated trying to squeeze it between getting the kids to school, taking care of the house, and working my paying job. Worse, there is growing conflict with my husband who has asked me to put aside my “hobby” for awhile. Ugh! So how do you do it? Do you have set writing times and days? Where do you write? Home or outside the home? (I tend to write better in places where no one is yelling “mommy!” every five minutes and where I can find lots of caffeine that I don’t have to brew myself. I’m writing this from a Starbucks during an afternoon work break). How did you get so polished at your writing? Classes? Friends? Writing groups? I know I am asking a lot, but any tips and insight you can share would be great.

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    • Oh Betsy, you have no idea how this comment made me laugh because I identify with you so much. First though, let me say thank you for taking the time to write. (You and Lea are my two new favorite people.) This kind of encouragement is the difference maker for those of us who try to make words matter and wonder if they ever do. Thank you! Second, the short answer is I am (daily) still trying to come up with answers to the questions you pose. It’s hard and much of what I’ve learned is through trial and error…lots of trials and lots of errors. I’ve mostly given up trying to write when my kids are present, unless it’s an edit that’s floating in my mind that I just want to get down. I find it leaves me overwhelmingly frustrated and yelling at my kids, which is neither good for them or for me. So I do my best to leave my laptop closed, turn ideas over in my head during the chaos and then when I get a free moment type like crazy. Like you, I frequent as many coffee shops as possible! Since I’ve gone back to work part-time, I’ve chosen to write as part of my working day so I leave work, do my writing work then pick up my kids from school. I treat writing like part of my job. (If I worked full time this would be very difficult.) Then when I can, I write in the evenings and on weekends, but it’s a couple of hours here and there. My husband is very supportive but we’ve struggled (and still do) with the tension you mention so I totally get it. We’ve had to start scheduling my writing time as part of our weekends and evenings to manage expectations and I try to choose time that doesn’t interfere with our family schedule as best possible (one good thing about football season is my husband is preoccupied and doesn’t care if my nose is in my screen). As for getting “polished,” I didn’t know I was! LOL! Well, there’s no substitute for becoming a better writer than to write (blogging is perfect for this). Take the craft of writing seriously and study it (I can give you book recs if you want). Read good writing with a studious eye and make notes (mental or otherwise) about what you like. Find some good writers to journey with. I am in a writing group that has been great (see Redbud Writers Guild) but I also have a couple of good friends who are fantastic writers who have shaped me in ways I don’t have words to describe. To do that though, you have to risk putting yourself out there. You’ll never get better if you don’t risk exposing yourself. It’s painful and awful, but it’ll make you better and you’ll be thankful for it. Been to a few writing conferences which are helpful and good for inspiration. I also just ask a zillion questions to anyone who is willing to answer them and then listen like my life depended on it : ) Well, I’m certain this is more than you bargained for, but I love talking about this stuff and am honored that you asked. Please feel free to continue the dialogue anytime. And keep writing!!! Hope this helps!

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      • Oh, other places I’ve written. I’ve written for the FullFill blog, Gifted for Leadership, MomSense and my latest venture Redbud Writers Guild blog. I think if you google just about all of the articles pop up. Thanks for asking!

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  4. So glad to be on someone’s ‘favorite people’ list this week! (I have a teen, a tween, and child with attachment disorder. I’ll take all the approval I can get. ;))

    My aplogies for butting in, but I’ve heard Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is a good one for aspiring writers. I have yet to purchase the book; but each time I’m at Border’s I sneak a few pages. Good stuff!

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  5. Yes Lea! It’s a must read! In fact, it’s a must read over and over again. I learn something new every time I pick it up (and laugh like crazy). On another note, I don’t have a teen, tween or experience with attachment disorder (yikes, hang in there!!) but I did used to serve in a college ministry, live a couple of states away and will always take all the approval I can get. Sounds like we may have a few things in common : )

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  6. Hi. Thanks for the detailed answer. I love talking about writing, too, and you are so gracious to give me the time. I battle ignorance and insecurity and really can’t say thank you enough for helping. And thank you to Lea, also. On the advice of you both, I bought the book, Bird by Bird, and all I can say is OMG! (Is it wrong to say that at this site?) Her very first words (good writing is about telling the truth) both emboldened me and sacred me, if that’s possible. I realize that whats attracted me to this blog and what I like most about writing is when I read truth. I just hope I have the courage to follow this advice. I am already half through the book (love the sh–y first draft part!) and have never been more determined. Thanks again, my new favorite people! (Oh, BTW, I loved your article on a Woman’s Voice. Very gutsy (and truthful!))

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  7. Glad you’re enjoying the book, Betsy. We must all share some common interests in verbage, authenticity, and creativity.

    I’m certainly interested in reading Suanne’s article on a ‘woman’s voice,” as well. Where can I find it?

    Thanks

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