Late last week, a bunch of my friends and I sat around in my living room, snacking on food and sipping drinks and laughing out loud and sharing our thoughts, and the talk turned to blogging.
I started blogging because it seemed like a fun way to write stuff my parents could read to keep up with what’s going on in my family. It was a hobby that turned into a community and, while I kept chugging along, writing words and responding to comments and visiting other people’s blogs and such, the world of blogging changed. The focus shifted to different social media sites like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat and Vine and all the other places my children are relieved I know nothing about.
I got caught up in chasing the conversation, and I have to admit, I appreciate some of those other places. I especially like Instagram. But, it’s not the same as blogging, you know?
In my living room, my friends and I talked about attention span.
We talked about how people skim more than they read, and so, maybe shorter paragraphs might work better?
And lots of images.
Or Subheads. Maybe that’s something to try?
In my regular life, I’ve started listening to podcasts. I listen while I walk around town, or while I run/walk on the treadmill at the gym. I’ve begun thinking about starting a podcast of my own.
But podcasting isn’t blogging.
Someone once said to me, “Blogging is a subculture.” And, I guess it is. It is also a community, and the thing I loved most about blogging when I began, was the conversation in the comments.
Granted, it is easy to become addicted to the comments, refreshing your browser to see if anyone is reading. If anyone cares.
The culture of other social media platforms feeds that addiction, too, with its likes and comment threads and trending topics. I have gotten sucked in — taking my phone with me everywhere, just to be sure I stay engaged in the conversation.
Since the conversation in my living room last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and blogging and social media, and I have this deep, deep sense of nostalgia for what blogging meant to me when I first began. Back then, I was simply writing and posting to tap into the creative bent in me, dropped into each of us because we’re created in the image of God. Blogging, in the beginning, was like dancing or disco music or taking a walk on a crisp, winter day. Blogging worked out the kinks and helped me figure out what was going on in my head. Blogging connected me with you. Blogging helped me find my voice. It helped me find me.
And so, I’m feeling a bit protective of the art (or the subculture) of blogging. And of bloggers. Because blogging is a thing of its own that sometimes leads to other things that matter and that have an impact and that tap into the creative bent we all try to wrestle out of ourselves and into the world. I’m not trying to save blogging. No. I’m hoping to celebrate it. To celebrate the blogs and the bloggers who keep pushing out content and images and beauty. Their blogs make us laugh and think and cry and they brighten our worlds with their beauty. I want to cheer for the blogs and the bloggers that make the world of the Internet a better place and so, I’m trying something new here. It feels a little bit old-school, and that’s just fine with me. We’ll see how it goes.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a series of any sort, so I’m a little rusty. But I don’t want to spend so much energy chasing the conversation anymore. I want to set the table right here, the way I used to do, and welcome you to pull up a chair and pass the butter, please. Each week, on Sunday evening, I’ll write a little something, and then I’ll introduce you to a blog I’ve found that I’d like to share with you. I think the guidelines will reveal themselves to me as we go, and I’ll share them with you as I come to know them for myself.
The bottom line is that there are some amazingly talented bloggers out there. They write deeply and thoughtfully, they are funny and they are warm. They take beautiful pictures and they treat the arts with care and deep respect. And, this blogging community is generous and full of grace. So, I’m hoping you’ll visit the blogs I share here each week. I hope you’ll leave a comment to let them know their work and their art and their craft make a difference in this world.
I’m calling this series The Art of Blogging, and maybe someone will make me a beautiful badge or button or something like that to make it official. But for now, it’s simple and home-grown. It’s the result of me (doing what I used to do, all those years ago) reading blogs.
Today, meet Christine Gilbert, at Almost Fearless.
Some questions for you: Why did you start blogging? Is that reason still important to you? Have you found yourself chasing the conversation instead of practicing the craft? Do you struggle with the tension of the changing landscape for those of us who call ourselves writers? How do you navigate that tension?