When I started blogging about a year ago, I knew why God had me writing. I knew that He was holding me accountable for the lessons I was learning. My few readers were, in effect, my accountability partners. God was teaching me about mercy in all types of situations, and I was willing to share those lessons with anyone who had the time and motivation to read what I wrote.
As I wrote about what I was learning, there were moments of joy, sadness, fear, and sometimes humor. I was in the midst of grief, and I shared that too. A small group of friends - some old and some new - encouraged me with comments and emails, and they shared their journeys with me as well.
Somewhere in the journey, though, I got distracted. I visited many blogging communities and was swept up in their enthusiasm for writing and their love of words. I read many types of advice on blogging:
use bullet points; don't use bullet points; keep it short; write in a journalistic format; DON'T USE ALL CAPS; write poetry; don't use too many complex sentences; have giveaways; comment on other blogs so you can get more comments on your own; belong to this or that blogging group; use other peoples' link buttons on your posts; write from your heart; don't disclose so much about yourself; go to conferences where there is a lot of talking; blah blah blah; find a quiet space; read this book before you blog any more; care about what e-books are doing to the traditional publishing industry; don't overuse semicolons; know what your readers want; engage your readers with questions; use bold type for your important points; eat bacon-fried bacon on Tuesdays; add photographs to your posts; add YOUR OWN photographs to your posts; write about being a child sponsor; tout this cause; participate in this project; be a minimalist so that readers can fill in the gaps with their own imaginations; be wordy so that the reader has a sense of exactly what you mean; my head is exploding and I haven't even covered half of the blogging advice I've gotten...
Wow. That is a lot to take in, especially when you are the new kid on the block. I got so caught up in trying to figure it all out that I started feeling guilty for not doing it all. The guilt made me unable to even start typing. Thinking about being a "good" writer/blogger actually made me into nothing at all. I felt advised to the point of muteness.
I don't know if I am a good enough writer/photographer/artist/fill-in-the-blank to do all of those suggested things. I don't know what my readers want and I don't even always know what I want. I've already got so many books to read that I don't have room for them all in my house. I don't know if I want to follow all of this blogging advice and be a part of all of these projects. So does that mean I'm a bad blogger? Does that mean I'm not a "real" writer? Does it matter?
I just don't know. I don't even know if I have the energy to find out.
Let me tell you what I do know. God wants me to get up and go out and have a life. Sometimes just the getting up and going out is so hard that I lay paralyzed with fear while tears run down my face. God wants me to write about that. The times that I actually get out and participate in life, I learn so much about God, His love, His mercy, and myself that it just blows my mind. He wants me to write about that too. Sometimes God gently disciplines me to keep me from pursuing a path of destruction. He especially wants me to write about that.
So here is what I intend to do:
- I will write long, wordy posts about what God is teaching me.
- I will write about the humor God shows me in life.
- I might have a few more giveaways because they are fun and I really like fun.
- I will be kind to any commenters I might have.
- I will not beat myself up for not keeping up with 35 other blogs.
- I will not keep up with the state of the publishing industry.
- I will not let anyone but God dictate my subject matter.
- I might USE ALL CAPS IF I'M FEELING STRONGLY ABOUT SOMETHING
- I will enjoy the blessings of sitting in my cozy little corner writing for God.
Does any of this make me a good or bad blogger? I don't know, but here I am.