I have been blogging for approximately 18 months. At first, I was seeking a practical solution to sharing my gardening knowledge and sermons, which people often asked me to email. Blogging seemed easier, and it is.
As a naïve beginner, I did not realize that I was entering into a brave new world where a person can learn anything and meet multitudes of people who shares my broad interests. A blogging community exists for every interest you can imagine. I would not be surprised to find a group committed to watching aliens land while running naked through the desert and eating sesame sticks.
I find it odd that I have taken so quickly to the blog sphere. In the past I have railed against so much online fraternizing because it often acts as a substitute for old fashioned, face-to-face fellowship, which I deem a superior form of socializing. I concede now that blogging, as long as it is not an addiction or substitute for people, is a great way to share one’s passions and learn from others.
Some people have figured out how to make money from their blog. I follow one blogger who makes over $500 month in commission when people access Amazon from her page. I tried that but learned quickly that unless I self-host my blog, I am violating the terms of service. I may return to money-making someday when I have the time and inclination to migrate my blog to another host. However, the more I think about it, I realize that I am not really motivated to make money from my blog.
More than making money, I am interested in the opportunity blogging presents for keeping journal writings in one, organized place. I have a box of old written journals and a few jump drives with odd collections of my writing. The blogging platform, where everything is organized by subject—or tags—keeps a scattered writer like me organized. My blog is basically a filing cabinet.
I have been writing professionally in one form or another most of my adult life. I can lay claim to writing scientific papers, corporate communications, newspaper articles, educational curricula, sermons, and much more. However, I spend precious little time writing for myself. My blog gives me a place to write for fun and having an audience who looks forward to reading my blog postings keeps me motivated to write more often. I really enjoy writing from a personal angle, in the past I have been too tired due to writing for a living! In the meantime, I have learned about a genre called “flash nonfiction”, which is an essay of less than 1500 words. That is about the size of a sermon and I find that size adapts well for personal essays and stories. I love blogging mostly because of the discipline and structure it provides for writing.
I blog also because of the people; I read other blogs and enjoy them immensely. I have discovered people interested in the same things that I love and have learned from each one. To date I have learned about van camping, light painting photography, running, secluding camping spots, travel, flash nonfiction, tiny homes, and youth ministry. I can feed my soul by reading poetry and enjoying photography. Reading other blogs can be especially easy if you use “readers” rather than rely on emails from your bloggers each time they post.
I regularly communicate with a handful of other bloggers, mostly campers and travelers. We do this by commenting on each other’s blog posts. I feel a connection to these folks but wonder if we would have the same kind of bond in person. I have learned before, during my short span in the world of online dating, that people never seem the same after finally meeting them.
As with all ventures, I do have some blogging pet peeves. I detest foul language and lame descriptions of someone’s last hook-up. I often wonder, after tripping across an X-rated ranting: who cares? I also dislike poor grammar, excess use of symbols like : ), and excess use of abbreviations LOL. And I speak for all bloggers when I say, I wish people would comment or like my posts more often. Comments and likes gratify the ego and when I get either, I feel like someone has patted me on the head and said, good job. Who doesn’t like that? However, I do understand that people are not reading my entries for my benefit or gratification; hopefully they are getting something concrete for themselves.
Despite my pet peeves, I regularly read through other blogger’s offerings and am enriched by doing so. Blogging is an enjoyable hobby, providing I limit myself to an hour or so a day and don’t take myself too seriously.