Monday, April 19, 2010

Blogging- Likes and Dislikes

Ashley had the fantastic idea of asking several of her blog friends to be guest bloggers this week on her blog while she is away in Boston. I thought I'd share my post here for the oh, say, three people that are followers of my blog and not hers. Here it is:

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Ashley asked me to do a guest post on her blog this week. Of course I was super flattered, but being the high maintenance friend that I am, I demanded she give me a writing prompt (I may enlist her help with coming up with topics on my own blog, ha!).

Well, the topic she gave me was "What I Like and Dislike About Blogging". Wow, what a vast and fascinating subject! I am assuming we are talking about what I like about actually blogging myself, as well as what I like about reading blogs. At this point, I think I get to decide which it is-- and I want it to be both.

Ima be positive here and start with what I like about blogging. There's quite a bit, actually. First of all, blogging has been such an outlet for me. It's amazing how much my blog has changed from a little place where I twice weekly posted the events of my day to a place where I almost daily sort through my feelings on issues and decisions. On life and love and challenges and dreams. On parenting, on marriage, on friendship, on faith. On [almost] everything. I guess I could do the same thing in a diary. But, although my blog doesn't have a huge following, I have enjoyed the amazing benefit of the feedback of a group of people that bring encouragement and validity to all of life's difficulties and joys.

It's also been a place to capture my daughter's first year in a way that no camera or baby book really could. I have recorded so many of our little experiences with her. But so much more than that, I have really allowed myself to dig deep and try to understand and articulate my feelings on parenting her, from issues like breastfeeding, to raising her in a Christian home, to whether or not we'll incorporate Santa in our Christmas celebration, to how we'll go about helping her realize the importance of her sexual purity. I have loved that and I hope that one day, she will enjoy those posts, as well.

There are other equally wonderful aspects to blogging. Not the least of which is that it was the vehicle that God used to lead me to two of my very best friends. That's pretty incredible. I did not (and would not, save this community) know anyone who was my age, with a child, and staying home full time. My two friends, who I basically met through blogging, have been such a source of strength and encouragement to me and when I think that but for my blog, I wouldn't even really know them, I kind of shutter. So that in of itself, is really a huge gift.

Actually, blogging has been a really good venue for me to form and grow many relationships. It's a neat irony, because although I have enjoyed being led to people who are like me, it has opened my eyes to many other people as well. Through the blog world I have "met" people who are very, very different from me. Moms that are working outside the home. Women who embrace a more "natural" style of life than I do. People whose views on politics, religion, and lifestyle issues are vastly different from my own. People who have dealt with depression, with substance abuse, with major family dysfunction. Men. Mother's who have lost a child. Widows. Missionaries serving in third world countries. The list could go on and on. The point is, I have grown so much from being privy to all these people's individual lives and thoughts. It's amazing.

There are, of course, negatives about blogging, just as there are for most everything in life. The hardest part for me is the "comment fear". It's a risk to put your heart out there on the open Internet. I decided early on, though, that blogging wasn't worth doing if it wasn't worth doing right. And to me, FOR ME, doing it right meant being very transparent. I am quick to say that I have friends, who, to varying degrees, are not comfortable with this level of sharing on their personal blogs. And, I respect that 100%. In fact, some of those are my favorite blogs- the ones I check first when I sit down at the computer. But for me, I desired a high level of openness on my blog. There is always a fear, when publishing a really vulnerable post, that it will not be well received. I really haven't gotten many hateful comments, but it's unfortunate that it does happen occasionally.

The other main weakness of blogging is the drain it can become on your (read: my) time. I have really had to step back from it at times. Even though blogging is very important to me and writing is such a catharsis, it is not my JOB. My job right now is nurturing my child and meeting her needs, serving my husband, and caring for our home. Blogging is a secondary HOBBY that should not be as addictive and all-encompassing as I have sometimes seen it become. I have to remind myself of that on occasion.

I think the strengths of the blogging community and having a blog in general, far outweigh any drawbacks. And I think I'll keep at it.

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