Today marks 3 years of blogging.
I have enjoyed it, absolutely, and am glad I started.
1 It has taught me to write easily, confidently and rapidly, which will be a blessing as I return to “real” writing. My memoir Up to the Hills, will be published next April by Prodigal Press.
2 It’s enlarged my world. I have met several bloggers and blog readers, some of whom have become good friends. And my cyber-friendships with commentators and blog readers has enriched and broadened my life. Blogging is a tremendous vehicle of growth.
3 Reading other blogs has changed me. I have been stretched by the can-do attitude and practical suggestions of Michael Hyatt.
From Donald Miller, I have learned about inciting incidents, and have created one of my own, an 11 mile a day pilgrimage in Tuscany.
From Jeff Goins, I have learned that writing every day makes it effortless. From Leo Babuata, that the way to major life changes is to make minuscule changes. And from Ann Voskamp that thanking God through the day changes everything. Reading beautifully written blogs, Sarah Bessey’s among them, enriches my life.
4 Blogging has taught me the pleasures of thinking deeply, and thinking things through. I have become braver and more confident about expressing my opinion, even when pushback is certain.
This has helped me grow as a person, and become more reflective. Reflective considered living and blogging has immense psychological benefits.
5 I definitely feel more alive and happy when I am blogging. When we take the kids to a cathedral, museum, botanical garden or a mountain hike, we suggest that they take cameras. Photographing beauty slows them down and they see it better.
For me, writing about my travels, my life, my ideas, my spiritual journey has the same function.
Blogging has slowed me down in good ways, and made me more reflective. The spiritual life begins when we slow down.
I am calmer, and have a more settled faith having worked out questions, querulousness, anger, and disagreements with my faith community on my blog over the last few years. I am far less likely now to write controversial posts!
6 A spiritual blog flows out of a spiritual life. When I am dry and have nothing much to write about I know it is time to repent and return.
7 If you blog with an open mind, reading other faith bloggers, and considering what they write, you will become more liberal. Without thinking too much about it, I assumed homosexuality was a sin around the time I started blogging in 2010. I have evolved. I have moved from a rather loosely held belief in inerrancy to a belief in the divine inspiration of scripture (though it is deeply precious to me, either way). Interrogating my faith, ironically, has led to it becoming deeper and more joy-giving
8 Self-confidence and stability—Blogging every day for three years has had a stabilizing influence on my life. Persisting in blogging every day has brought about confidence in my ability to write quickly (and, sometimes well). The confidence and discipline has spilled over into other areas. My house is tidier; I wake earlier; I have adopted a daily exercise habit of a 4-5 mile walk, and am losing weight—11 pounds since November!
9 Blogging frees me from the fear of criticism and the desire for approval. Some posts you know will evoke pushback or hostility and it’s freeing to write them anyway, and blow off the criticism. My own rule of thumb is I blow off all ad hominem comments, and delete them. Disagreement with ideas is fine, but when I realize both my views and my interlocuter’s are entrenched, I agree to disagree and “fade” –stop engaging.
10 Gratitude—Every year of blogging is better than the year before. You have more readers so what you write gets leveraged. Blog friendships increase in number and depth. As thinking “blogly” becomes a habit, you see blog ideas everywhere.
My blog has more than doubled since last year, largely due to being more active on Twitter.
I am grateful for my archive. I often return to it, and rethink, refine and reshare a post.
1) I needed a metric to gauge whether my blog is healthy and growing. I had used page views, on the philosophy that whatever is alive grows.
However, this intriguing article in the New York Times suggests that when we are helping other people, we are far more motivated to work, and work hard.
So I may try summarizing particularly helpful books, articles and blogs on my blog, and choose topics to explore depending on how useful they might be to my readers.
2 I read blogs widely, mainly on my facebook or my iPhone, but rarely comment (laziness and rushing and because I read blogs when I am procrastinating writing). I am trying to comment more.
3 I have got into the habit of thinking in 800-1000 words. I would LOVE to get into the habit of thinking in 400-500 words to conserve time and energy.
4 I would love to do more Scripture blogging—and in fact, my Scripture posts land up being evergreen posts, thanks to Google.
5 Other evergreen posts are those I post on my travels. I am growing increasingly interested in doing more travel writing on my blog.
6 I tend to write about subjects I know (or think I know). I would like to use my blog to explore things I do not know, ask questions, think through new subjects, and use my blog as a vehicle of growth.
7 “Love is little. Love is low. Love will make my spirit grow,” goes the Shaker spiritual.
When stuck, I would like to blog “little” and “low.” Be real, not even think about “killer” posts (in any sense of the word), but just blog about the new things I’ve learned, the little thoughts, the little insights, the little experiences of my life. “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
I don’t feel my blog has fully grown up, fully decided what it’s going to be and do once it’s all grown up, but it is enjoying growing up, and I am enjoying growing with it!
And thank you for reading and commenting!
And here are my most read posts of all time:
Do you blog? What do you love/hate about it? If you don’t, would you like to start?