The evolution of a blogger

One of my friends is contemplating beginning a blog and she and I talked at great length the other night about the ins and outs of blogging, the merits of Blogger versus WordPress, the convenience of Google reader, all the strange and mysterious information collected by Stat Counter, among many, many other things, some blog related, some not.

Since our conversation I’ve been thinking and as I reflect over my nearly five years of blogging (yes, five! Can you believe it?), I realize there are both lessons learned and blessings received, most of each being of the unexpected kind. In short I am not the blogger I was nor am I the blogger I thought I would be and for both I am glad. Here are some of the things I have learned and some of the things I have gained through this strange hobby…
1. I have realized my ordinariness in light of so many very talented bloggers. Some of you reading these words have the sort of gift with the keyboard that takes my breath away. True, I have sometimes been envious of those who write so beautifully and with such profound insight yet, ultimately, I am glad to know of my own mundanity. As I’ve said here in this space before, my mediocrity reminds me that it does not fall to me to be the smartest, funniest, most fashionable, craftiest nor the most theologically profound blogger on the block, and I am grateful. It is my privilege to be the ordinary wife, the ordinary mom and the ordinary blogger making much of an extraordinary God.
2. I have gained friendships with fellow bloggers literally around the globe. I have discovered a community of like-minded women serious about their faith and passionate about serving the Lord. For the first couple of years as a blogger, I was embarassed to refer to “my internet friend so and so” yet now it seems more natural because friends we most definitely are! I am so thankful for the wise and witty women the Lord has brought into my life through this strange hobby of blogging. How I wish we could all meet; wouldn’t that be fun?
3. Some things are good to write about, some things are not. I must be judicious about what sorts of topics I address here in this forum. In my early blog years, when I was even more anonymous, I probably wasn’t as careful. Just because I want to write about them doesn’t give me freedom to do so.
4. Blogging can turn commercial and be just as competitive as nearly any other enterprise. Developing a brand and building a readership take a great deal of initiative, not to mention a fair amount of luck (or that’s my opinion). There was a time when I agonized over my visitor statistics and longed for a larger portion of the reader pool. No longer. I have learned contentment in my little corner of the blog world and strive instead for excellence in my meager offering (when I do have something to offer). 
5. Blogging is a hobby. Sometimes, and this is probably weird, I feel guilty over not posting regularly, like there’s some big law out there that blogger must and ought to post three times a week, minimum. I love the interaction of blogging, I like striving to find words to express my faith and my journey, and, yeah, I like knowing there’s one or two of you out there who read. But in the end it’s a hobby. Sometimes real life intrudes and that’s okay. My family, my home, my church, teaching Bible study–these are primary privileges and I blog best when I first fulfil these greater callings. Blogging is a hobby, an outlet, something to pick up and lay down as the whim strikes. 
6. I have a great fear of my blogging exposing me as a hypocrite. I’ve confessed this to you before in a post I wrote in response to that very charge. This may surprise you but I completely and humbly agreed with my critic. I am the hypocrite. Though it is true that blogging represents only a small of part of me and of my life, it is sobering to consider the dichotomy that sometimes exists between the thoughts and confessions I express here and the real life conversation you and I may enjoy at, say, a soccer match. Please know: I don’t presume to be anything other than what I am. I hope that what you see here is a very ordinary woman who sometimes speaks of her faith and sometimes doesn’t and that fact fills her with shame. I will unequivocally assert: I need the Lord. I am not what I should be. I am a pauper to His grace.

I am glad my husband encouraged me to begin my own blog nearly five years (and some 860 posts) ago! I am the better for it. I’m glad too for you the reader; that you would spend a few moments here at this site reading these humble thoughts encourages and humbles me. Thank you for your visits and your comments! While you’re here, I’m curious: for those of you who also blog, what sorts of things have you learned? How have you been encouraged or challenged through blogging? What words of wisdom would you share with a newbie blogger? 

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

14 thoughts on “The evolution of a blogger”

  1. I'm so glad you started your blog. I've enjoyed your writing for many years! I don't really know what advice I would give to a new blogger. I suppose the catch-all for anything is 1 Cor. 10:31.

  2. If I were to advise someone, I would suggest they really ask themselves why they want to blog. The fact is that writers write for others. If we say we're blogging just for ourselves, we may be mistaken. If I'm writing for myself, I won't care if people read it. I have learned that I am often fooled by my motives. I want people to read what I write. If I didn't, I wouldn't publish it; I'd keep it private. I think knowing why we want to write is a good place to start, even aside from the fact that every word we say we will be held accountable for.I would also caution the tendency to find "gurus," ie. bloggers who we think know everything. Bloggers are human, even the "big" ones, and are also subject to pride, arrogance, and sin just like we are. We need to remember that there are people behind the screen.I echo Leslie's thoughts. I love your blog, and there are many, many times when your posts leave me thinking, and pondering. I'm grateful to God for your words many times!

  3. A wise perspective, Kim. You are so right (as per usual): we who blog do so for others and examining our motives is a profitable exercise. Thanks for your comment and to all your kind words: ditto! 🙂

  4. Blogging has opened up the world to me in so many ways. I look at creation with more appreciation to God. I have friends in places I've never been. My opportunities to pray and support people have been broadened. The opportunity to be part of a cookbook was dropped in my lap. The 9 strangers I'm author with because of that cooking blog and book are now very dear friends that I've met in person in Canada.For me blogging has been a very worthwhile expression for my gifts and I thank God for it…As with everything it does carry it's responsibilities and sometimes it can be very taxing. It's good to know your limits and know when it's time for a vacation or rest. The other thing you need to understand is that once you press publish it's out there forever…

  5. Well, what else can I said after these excellent advices. I agree wholeheartedly with Kim. She is so true!! I have fooled myself in the paste saying that I was writing for me, but then that would be ridiculous, because as she said, why then should I hit "publish"! So true. Maybe I would also say, BE MUCH AWARE of what you write; because, believe it or not, there is someone out there reading, learning; and personally, I do not want to teach falsehood. Be accountable. And I also agree with you all, when you talk about how wonderful friends you have met through blogging. It has been a precious gift to me that I cherish with my whole heart.Thank you, for blogging, Lisa. 🙂

  6. =D Loved reading through this post. And I laughed about being embarrassed to mention "internet friend so-and-so" because I felt the same way. And now your names just flow out of my regular conversation. Because, as you said, friends you all are!

  7. Well personally Lisa, I do think you are one of the gifted ones for writing. And I've always loved your openness and honesty! Glad you've stuck with it for so long!

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