It is probably no secret that I have hit a blogging slump in the past couple months. I go through them just like any other blogger. It is really hard to find content that is interesting enough to write about every day when you life is relatively normal and probably not that interesting to others anyway. And periodically, I get tired of trying to find the nuances to write about and I take a little break. Usually it’s a couple of days. Maybe a week. After some really difficult times (like the death of my dad), it was maybe up to two weeks. But this time, I can’t seem to shake it.
Blogging is a strange beast. When you first begin, you have to blog your brains out on a regular basis to grow your audience. It is no wonder that most blogs never take on a large, consistent following when you understand how much work goes into what appears to be a very simple task. But anyone who blogs knows that it is daunting at best, draining at worst, and just darn overwhelming on a regular basis. Deciding what useless information will be the most appealing to a wide audience, taking the time to find the right words to articulate your thoughts, and then having enough pictures on hand to document the story is not something that just comes together quickly. I’d say it takes me about an hour a post, at least. And when you start to add in multiple blog pages within one blog, and multiple posts a day… well, it can become un-fun really quickly.
I have been blessed with a loyal and ever-growing readership in the past few years. To some, this is great because it means more pageviews (and, therefore, more money if you’re making money off your blog, like me). But to me, I see more readership as an incentive because the pressure to blog every day is taken away. In the past two years, it hasn’t mattered if I blog once a day, every day, or once every week, my readership numbers stay the same. For that, I am so very, very grateful to you all. Thank you for coming back, whether I am here or not. It is wonderful to know how loyal my imaginary friends are. It makes my heart happy.
Still, though, even with the pressure of the everyday obligation gone, I try to blog at least three or four times a week. And normally, that’s okay with me. I look forward to blogging because writing is very cathartic to me. It is cleansing and helps me organize my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, I write entire blog posts about things I didn’t even know were on my mind. That is a wonderful thing.
But lately, blogging has become more chore-like than ever before. For the first time in the five years (or is it six?) that I have been blogging, it has weighed on me like a responsibility. Another ball to juggle. Another task to check off. And when it becomes a job, the feeling goes out of it.
For the past month, I have tossed around the idea of stopping. Maybe it was time. My kids are growing up and taking more of my waking hours now (as they rightly should). My job is taking on several more responsibilities that take more of my time and attention. Chris and I are making slightly more money this year, and we might be able to finagle a way to live without the money my blog produces for our family. It just seemed like this might be the right time to stop.
As I am prone to do, I began praying over my blog. Every day for the past two weeks, I have prayed for guidance and direction about my blog. What does it do? Is it serving a purpose? What is the point? I sometimes pour my heart out and get very little response for posts considering how many people are reading. And that’s fine. This isn’t about you all, and you have been nothing but supportive of me in our imaginary shared world. But what was the point of me taking all this time and attention and spreading the guts of our family out on the imaginary table for people to poke, prod, and judge? And so I prayed that if there was a purpose, that God would show it to me and give me the perseverance to carry on. Or, if there wasn’t a purpose anymore, or if the blog had run it’s course, I prayed that he would give me the strength to gracefully walk away.
And then came the flood of emails. I get reader emails every day, and I love them. I don’t have time to respond to many of them (sooooo sorry!!!!!!), but I read them all and love receiving them. But this week, the emails have been insane, and I know they have been heaven sent. Filling my inbox to the brim with kindness and love and warmth and community and sisterhood and encouragement and peace and strength and all those good things that really good people bring into your life. It wasn’t so important what those emails said. What was important was that it reminded me that I am connected to people through this blog. And that doesn’t mean that I have any more influence over anyone than any of you have. It just means I have this amazing opportunity to speak to others, to reach others, to give words to others. What a gift. What a blessing. What a responsibility!
If blogging has taught me anything, it is that we all share a voice. Sometimes, it just so happens that there’s just one person with the actual megaphone in front of them, but really, we’re all saying something similar. I hear what you say to me. You hear what I say to you. And even when we disagree, it is usually a matter of semantics because we all want the same things. We want to be good wives and husbands, good moms and dads, good friends, good citizens, good people. We want to serve something higher than ourselves, and reach for things beyond our grasp. And if I have the privilege of holding the megaphone for a while, then much how richer is my life?
My blog will continue, but with some changes coming over the next few months. Changes that will help me manage this giant megaphone so that it doesn’t drown out other areas of my life, and changes that I am hoping you all will enjoy, too. But whether it stays the same or changes or grows or fades away, it is my blessing to be here with you, and I am grateful that you’ve invited me into your imaginary lives.