Why I blog

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

It’s been a quiet Saturday in Metlakatla. That is to say, Rob is on call, and I’m online. I’m contemplating creating another site for business use, and I’m feeling drawn to the WordPress.org side of the universe for the new venture. As much as I love the ease of WordPress.com, (this blog will stay on the .com side) there’s no doubt that the .org option provides more flexibility. You can use plugins that aren’t available for the .com. I’m learning about a whole new world that exists, if I’m willing to do a little more of the set up myself.

Sometimes when I find I’ve spent pretty much my whole Saturday poking around online, following this link and that link, I begin to wonder…is it worth it? Am I neglecting real life for a fake digital version? The answer could be yes, if you look at a specific day or period of time. I tend to dive in and stay in the depths for long stretches, until I have to come up for air, food, bathroom or bed. Other days I don’t live there at all…my digital forays are confined to sites I’m viewing for work, or for life needs…travel or orders or the like.

The reality is that blogging started as a distraction for me. It was a good way for me to learn some new skills and take my mind off things that I couldn’t face at the moment. Some of that has changed in the past couple of years. It’s no longer an escape. It has become a joy, and a pleasure, and it keeps me on a learning curve with no end in sight. I didn’t foresee the connections I would find, or the sense of kindred spirit that I feel when I read someone else’s blog and feel an instant bond. Because I’m out there too, in the digital world, sharing my voice, my thoughts, my days. Not life-changing, not prize-winning…but connected, in the fragile way that on-line connections are formed.

Sometimes I’m intimidated. There are a lot of smart people out there with amazing sites; blogs with humor that seems to pour out of every syllable; writers with insight, calling, passion…you name it. I recognize, with honesty, humility, and just a touch of envy, I’ll never measure up to a lot of what I see. And yet, part of the fun is in the variety, the challenge to improve, learn, grow. Sometimes I feel like I have a tiger by the tail. Keeping up with technology…no, I’m not keeping up, I’m just barely on the cusp of using what’s available…sometimes I think the biggest hurdle is I don’t even know what I don’t know. Sometimes the challenge is making time for a self-imposed chore that isn’t even generating income. But I don’t really see blogging like that. It isn’t a chore…more like my own little baby that is nurtured with my time and attention. As to income…well, not all payments are in the form of money. Maybe I have three tigers in hand. Or maybe it’s just one tiger with three tails…I don’t know. But I do know that though there’s nothing demanding that I blog, I’ll keep doing it. It stretches me…lures me into technology I would never learn about without this impetus; makes me think about new possibilities…surely not a bad thing for my early 50s?

Sometimes I think all this is leading me somewhere. Some day I’ll look back and connect the dots. Or not. Maybe this is nothing more than self-expression, and a little engine for vanity and fulfillment. Except that doesn’t feel quite right either. While I don’t kid myself that I’m speaking to anyone else in particular, I don’t think I’m just writing to see my own words. Well, at least I have the angst that goes with writing…and the questions. Is anybody out there? And if so, is my writing worth reading? Or just empty words?

One thing I’ve learned from reading other blogs…a lot of the things that I wonder, others wonder. My questions and feelings are rarely unique. I suppose there’s value in recognizing that a) I’m not alone and b) I’m not often original and c) there’s a wonderful feeling of camaraderie that comes over me when I read something that I could have written. Or maybe just wrote…the funny thing is, sometimes that happens, no plagiarism involved or intended. I think there are so many writers putting out content online…it seems inevitable that some of us are  thinking and writing similar things.

There’s a quote  (of course, a quote!) I like that resonates with me. From the movie, You’ve Got Mail, the character, Kathleen Kelly says:

 Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void.

See you out there!

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20 thoughts on “Why I blog

  1. I totally agree with the intimidation. It’s a crazy process, and your opening quote made me guffaw at it’s hilariously extreme take on a real situation. I love the candor of this post. Blogging is such a fund distraction.

    — Lauren
    http://www.thelvds.com

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    • Yes! I love that about the online community! Love the sharing!
      Sometimes I’m caught off guard by something I read in a blog…it either challenges me or makes me think…good things! ~ Sheila

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  2. Dear Friend, If only one person reads your blog and is inspired to do what you have done – to try your best to be what you need and want to be, even when difficult and challenging change is involved – then, yes, your blogging time is worth it. Thank you for inspiring my daughter to try to do the difficult, to be who she wants and needs to be. I have often printed your blogs to encourage our prayer care group. Thank you for speaking to hearts.

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    • Ann…thank you for the kind words and the wonderful affirmation! Although I wasn’t looking for praise, mostly just thinking out loud, because that’s often what blogging is for me…it is encouraging and humbling to hear that I have been helpful to others, particularly Lacy. And if I have been able to be that, it’s because many have shared with me. An image that I hope to live out in my life comes from Ann Voskamp, and it is the image of standing with one hand open to the heavens, receiving what God has to give, and one hand open outward, to pass it on. I won’t ever do it perfectly, of course. But I hope that I am able to do it often…a result of a grateful heart, and the knowledge that I once was lost, and now I’m found…the sweetest experience in life! Thank you for being one of the people in my life who has been a blessing and a joy! ~ Sheila

      > Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 21:03:22 +0000 > To: sheila7697@hotmail.com >

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  3. I’m glad you started … and continued. We’re kindred, that’s for sure, so many times your words make me nod and say “yeah-huh,” that’s me :).

    Regardless what happens — will we continue — will we not — I’m glad we “met.”

    MJ

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    • Hmm…well, nothing lasts forever, and I may not be posting till I’m 80…who knows where technology will take us by that time! But I hope we’ll both be doing this for a while yet! The fun is in the friendship. ~ Sheila

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    • Thank you, that’s a lovely compliment! Especially as I see all your tweets and feel the energy you are bringing to your issues…wish I could attend some of the events you’re talking about! Maybe in the next life I’ll be a city woman and enjoy those experiences! But for now, fun to glimpse through your eyes. Kindred spirits! ~ Sheila

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  4. To comment would take so much time with all my thoughts on this subject…I just know this blogging world has opened a whole new me…and I have made so many acquaintances and friends…that I feel as close to as family and friends I see every day…Have my objectives changed since my first blog…of course…Because I learn something new every day…I just love it!…Makes me so much more aware of others …and as you say…How smart some people are!…but, then I believe it makes me strive harder…

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    • Yes, that’s one of the best things…it does stretch you to see what other people are doing, and I’m not sure it’s possible to be in the blogging world on a regular basis and not be inspired! Mostly I’m humbled…wish I had the creativity I see all around me! ~ Sheila

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  5. What an honest picture you present, Sheila. I still spend a great deal of time on the computer even though I took steps to get me out of the house – walking, aquafit, community efforts, etc.

    Also I don’t read all the blogs I used to read and I blog far less frequently. I never could get my head around the drive so many bloggers “adopted” about posting daily. Aiyaaaaai!

    I’m glad my learning curve is non-stop on computers. My computer holds lots of my life – contact with people, entertainment, business and education. It keeps me oiled and challenged. I hate the hassle that comes from not being able to get on the computer and do something. The world has come to expect us to be on computer and spoon feeds non-computer attitudes less and less.

    I know people who are luddites about technology. I confess, if I receive no answer on their phone or answering machine (!), I won’t take responsibility for calling then until I “catch” them. (These folk love to proselytize about privacy so I proselytize about time management.)

    Have I been brave enough? Since other people’s perceptions of me can cause my stomach to knot, I’m sensitive about what I write about my friends and family – whether funny or loving. That fact keeps me from writing lots of stories! 😀

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    • I completely understand your point of view! I have tried to be somewhat regular about blogging, but I decided early in my blogging journey that I would control this hobby (?) passion (?) pass-time (?)…you can see I’m not sure how to think about it! So I blog when I have something to say, whether funny or serious, or something in between. I don’t want to find myself posting just to meet a self-imposed schedule. No one is holding their breath to read my next post!

      I know a few people who are “anti” technology…using only what serves their basic needs. While I can understand their reasons, and I myself don’t want to be a slave to every latest little change in technology…if you don’t explore it and expose yourself, how do you know what you’re missing that could be a wonderful addition to life? Still, you have to manage the tech thing, or it can really take over! Sounds like you’ve found a nice balance! ~ Sheila

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