Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Intentional Blogger

I saw these great questions from Nesting Place on Ashley's blog and I just had to answer them myself. As a sidebar, Ashley is always finding the neatest things online and one thing I like about her is that she's always thinking about and evaluating the meaning behind things and looking for ways to bring beauty to her life and the lives those she loves. I enjoyed her blog and felt like I knew her long before we became IRL (in real life) friends. So, thanks for the inspiration, friend!
I am really into being "intentional" about things. I know that when I am intentional about serving my husband, my marriage is better. When I am intentional about interacting with Ann Peyton, she benefits and our relationship grows. When I am intentional about ministering to others, having a quiet time, or spending time in God's creation, these things actually happen and my faith deepens. I can't say enough for intentionality. I have thought about the reason, or purpose, for my blog before, but these questions really get to the meat of it so much better than I could. Anyway, I loved thinking about and answering them. FYI, I don't know what is going on with the bold, but here are the questions:

Which posts make you nervous when you hit publish? Nervous in a good way, because what you said there in that post was really important to you and you hope it is well received.
I mainly get nervous when I discuss something controversial. I have very strong opinions about things and I feel okay putting them out there. There are things in the world that are just really upsetting to me and I like to let people (on my blog and in real life) know how I feel. BUT, as I always say, I welcome civil discourse.....one of my best "blog friends" totally disagreed with one of my controversial posts and it ended up being the beginning of a sweet friendship. I also get a little nervous if I write something that is borderline crude/inappropriate....one of the many complexities of my personality is that I really want to be a true southern lady, but I also love to tell funny (often inappropriate) stories and I occasionally use um, colorful language. I worry this might offend some people.

I also worry about some of the posts I've written about Ann Peyton. I love her more than I could ever explain, but I was VERY frightened when I first found out I was pregnant. I knew some people would probably judge me for saying that we were really upset when we found out I was pregnant. But, I needed to write it, because it is such a huge part of my personal testimony.....how God brought so much joy out of such fear.
Which posts feel like work or drudgery? You do these because you feel like you should or you are supposed to. Chances are if you don’t like those posts, we don’t either. Or if we do, then you are attracting an audience of readers who will continue to demand things from you that you don’t like giving.
Well, I mostly post what I want (since I don't have a huge audience, wink). I guess sometimes, some posts are just tedious to write, because they get so involved. But, I'm always glad I took the time to really write out what I was thinking and feeling.
On which posts do you receive the most comments? These may give a hint as to the type of readers you have…
I definitely get the most comments on blog carnivals, but that's just people stopping by for the carnival. I have a few readers that I don't know personally, but most I know in real life.
On which posts do you receive the most comments that mean something to you?
I would say the comments that mean the most are ones that are in response to the posts where I've really poured my heart out. One person told me "Sarah Denley, I always thought you were a special girl, but after reading your blog, I'm amazed. I'm so glad our lives intersected". I don't say that to brag; it just means the world to me.
What are your top three favorite posts?
It would be really hard to choose three specific posts, but here are a few examples: I love writing about funny things that happen to me/us, I love trying to find the humor in hard situations, like when I lost my job, I love sharing my heart and discussing my faith, and I love writing letters for Annie. On a more superficial level, I also really enjoy chronicling our weekly happenings, participating in blog carnivals, charting my progress on my goals list, doing surveys and memes, and list-making.
If you could have a blog about anything but didn’t worry about if other people would read it, what would it be? Give yourself permission to answer this one honestly.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as a high profile blogger recently discussed the issue of what she felt comfortable putting on her blog. Someone else whose blog I followed and LOVED (it is so brutally honest) for a long time decided to make her blog private, do to some privacy issues. All this, along with the fact that I'm pretty sure Peyton's (EXTREMELY conservative) grandparent's, who are now on Facebook, are eventually going to discover my blog's existence, has gotten me thinking. I wrote this post awhile back, and I stand by it. All that to say, there are SOME things I don't blog about. I don't talk trash about my friends and family (when I was in about fourth grade someone told me it was best not to say anything behind someone's back you wouldn't say to their face and I've tried to live by that; although I've probably said too much to people's faces!). I don't (usually) discuss arguments Peyton and I have and I don't ever want to embarass him or anyone I'm close to. This isn't so much of an issue now, but I also don't want to post anything about Ann Peyton that would embarrass or hurt her later, as I hope she'll read this one day.
Do you still love what you write about?
Yes. I've started to love my blog even more than I used to. It's a very important outlet for me.

Why do you do what you do?
I just love writing about our experiences and about my thoughts and feelings on things. I've always kept a journal, and a blog was the logical extension for me. I still write in my journal every so often about things I just don't feel comfortable putting out there. But I love knowing (a few) people are interested enough to read about what goes on in my life and head and heart. I have so loved connecting with other people through my blog, especially other mommas close to my age. I say it at least once a week on here probably, but my blog has been so instrumental in helping me find friends doing exactly what I am doing. There are "high traffic" bloggers that will never know I exist; but have nonetheless inspired me in many ways; there are other moms who I'll probably never meet, but still feel like I'm close friends with; and then there are real life friendships with amazing people that I would have never met, save for our blogs.

Do you have a blog for a reason you can articulate?

I think Ashley said it really well.......it's fun having a "piece of the world that's mine". It's really neat to create this little place that is all about Sarah Denley and my loves and aches and dreams and fears and joys. I think it will be so neat to look back (and for AP to look back) and see what our lives were like. I was never this committed to journaling and I don't know that it was as an accurate of a "record of me" as this is for so many reasons. For example, I would never take the initiative to journal about a funny pharmacy story or a nightgown from Target, but those things are a part of our lives. I also love that I can put pictures and videos on here (unlike a paper journal).

Can you describe your blog purpose in one sentence?

I want my blog to be fun and silly and funny and messy and deep and thoughtful. But also, I want my blog to have an eternal impact. I know that is a tall order. But if it just impacts me, or Peyton, or Annie, then that is enough. That was four sentences.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

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