I've been thinking about why I blog for the past few weeks. It's just been something that's been in the back of my head, and it'll pop up for a few minutes, and then I'll mull it over, and push it aside for another think session. But I think my thoughts are starting to jell a bit on it, so it seemed like it might be time to share.
When I started this blog, about two years ago!, it was because my sister-in-law had a blog. I realized that I was learning a lot about their experiences, her thoughts, and their everyday moments from her blog, and I realized that this could become a good family communication tool for me as well. So I started one up. I didn't post much in the beginning, maybe twice or three times a month. The only people who knew the blog existed were family and friends. I blogged for them, and I blogged for me. I had kept a journal as a teen, and I've always enjoyed writing, so it was a natural journaling outlet. I started seeing that my experiences and faith struggles during infertility might be useful to others going through similar hard times. A friend emailed me, telling me that she'd used part of one of my posts in a Bible study that she was teaching. I was touched, and I was glad that something small that I'd said might be of service to other hurting people. So I tried a little harder to make what I wrote relevant to others, instant of just plain ranting about my life. But, still, mainly, it was a journal of my life and my thoughts about what I was experiencing and how I felt about it... maybe a little narcissistic, but hey, that's what journaling is, I guess.
Well, anyway, time moved on, and I started posting more often, and I began hearing from various people that they read my blog. People that I had no idea would be reading my blog were reading it. People that I didn't know were reading it and still are. I would get comments occasionally that would tell me so. Friends would ask to link me to their blogs. And slowly, but surely, some changes started creeping into my writing, largely unnoticed by me, but still there, nonetheless.
The piece de resistance was when I realized that "A Gracious Home" was linking to me. I was scrolling through Sallie's blog one day, and I was shocked to discover my piddly little blog under her list of Favorite Places. This was big, people! See, Sallie gets tons of traffic at her blog. She's a semi-professional blogger, a big league player in the mommy blogger world. And she was linking my pathetic little site! I considered it a great compliment, and immediately, my brain switched gears, and not in a good way, either.
Sallie linking me made me realize that I was getting a little too jazzed about recognition of the work I'd put into the blog. Being a stay at home mom is lonely, thankless work sometimes. The biggest thing that I accomplish on a daily basis is getting laundry done, keeping Baby happy, and putting food on the table. It isn't glamourous, but I knew that ahead of time, and I'm still thrilled to be doing this work. But... it's nice when you feel like your non-mommy side is being appreciated. I felt like I had a little "working world" type appreciation when Sallie linked me.
And I immediately changed my style a bit more. I started worrying about what I would say on my blog. I wondered if my posts were interesting enough. Maybe I should spice them up a bit, have a contest or something, like all the big dog mommy bloggers. Maybe I should do more crafty stuff, put some pictures up more... Me, but a more interesting, upbeat, me.
And then I realized, "Whoa, Nellie, how did this happen? This blog was supposed to be a fun, creative outlet for me. It was supposed to be a communication/ministry tool for family and friends. What happened?" What happened was that I forgot the reasons why I started blogging in the first place, and I started placing love of random people's opinion up there as a reason to blog. I started wanting others to only see my shiny, happy, uncontroversial side. I started doing more self censoring in an effort to appeal. Not good.
A couple of weeks ago, a hacker got into some of David's accounts. I panicked, and I shut down my old blog address. I wanted to make it harder for him to find me and us, so I didn't leave a link to my new address. And I asked Sallie to take me down and not put me up again right away. I don't know if she'll ever put me up on her sidebar again, but if she doesn't, hey, that's just fine with me. I learned some things about myself when she took me down and when she put me up...
So I'm going to step back, take a cleansing breath, and try to reclaim my original purpose in blogging. I will be blogging what I feel, what God is teaching me, and the mundane things that I'm doing. If I want to share a craft or a recipe, it won't be because I'm trying to increase traffic at my site. I will not get a sitemeter to tell me how many people are visiting, and I will not be trying to get tech savvy so that I can make this blog more attractive for the wrong reasons. If I change it up, it will be for me, not to impress anyone. I will not obsess about being a great writer and impressing others with my writing skill or my writing style. I'll edit, like I always have, but I won't obsess. And I'm going to write what I think, even if it isn't always PC, and even if many people don't agree with me. Since when is healthy, respectful disagreement such a bad thing?
I've learned that blogging can take on a life of it's own, and it might not be the life that you want to be living.