On the fourth day of the Ultimate blog challenge as I find myself inspired by people who use their blogs for higher purposes than I, I find myself needing to reaffirm what brings me here, day after day, sharing thoughts which may or may not be even be seen by the outside world, despite their being where anyone with a computer and an internet connection could conceivably stumble onto them. Why have I spent over four years sharing whatever pops into my head, and more, what has driven me for more than six months, now, to come here religiously, almost every day, to drop a few stones down the well? If I haven’t gauged its depth by now, will continued effort yield additional information, or am I just killing time?
As I mull over the answers to this question, I realize that, not only are there many, but that they have changed since I began. Or have they really?
My early blogs were an attempt to exercise my writing muscles, and to do so somewhat publicly (at the time, as Notes on Facebook, only my friends could actually see them) in order to make me accountable for writing regularly. Although I set the intention, I was vague about it and thus, my writings were inconsistent and unstructured. They were also a place to dump a lot of my thoughts and feelings in preparation for the book I started but eventually put aside as it wasn’t going where I wanted to go with it.
More recently, I still blog to keep my writing muscles working, but the book I started is set firmly on the back burner which has finally been shut off as simmering wasn’t really making a better soup any more. It was just making a pot of tasteless mush. It’s not that I don’t still want to write the book, but I need to figure out what direction I want to take with it. But the 18,000 or so words I did write, mostly just for my own eyes, accomplished something I wasn’t expecting. They brought me to terms with my feelings. my grief and the self-blame I was carrying around. It gave me an understanding of why my parents made the choices they did: what drove them, why they were here and why they left, even though I will never know all of the reasons. I’m comforted by what I do know or believe and have used the knowledge to both understand and stop trying to control other areas of my life which are not mine to control.
Writing my blog has taught me the value of forgiveness, acceptance and asking for help when I can’t figure something out by myself. It has brought me friendships I value and treasure beyond words.
Beyond all of this, and the biggest reason I continue to blog is that I now publicly and clearly set intentions and because I do so, I have been able to grow and evolve faster and more completely than I could in my quiet, insulated world.
When I publicly set an intention to make a change in my life, I feel like I am accountable, not only to myself but to my readers to make it happen. And with that accountability comes encouragement, suggestions when I am struggling, even a hand up when I stumble. When someone tells me “I look forward to reading your blog every day! I like to read it with my morning coffee!” In my mind, I hear “you can’t disappoint someone who is being so loyal to you!” And so I blog, even if I’m exhausted and it’s just a few lines.
I learn from my readers’ comments whether here or when I link it to Facebook (where most of the comments have come). Everyone faces challenges in their lives and sometimes, the answer to our dilemma comes from someone else’s experience. So I put those dilemmas out there and solutions have come, many times from unexpected places!
I put interesting and provocative dreams out here because I believe that if I remember one in detail long after waking in the morning, there is a message I am meant to derive from the dream. Sometimes those messages are blatant, but more often, they’re buried under a lot of often irrational details. Again, assistance in finding the message has come from unexpected but very welcome sources.
I’ve never been concerned over using the right key words so that search engines will find me. Sometimes they do, but it’s purely accidental. ( Most days I get anywhere from 15-60 hits, but one day I got several hundred!) It excites me to see that my blog has been looked at over 5,000 times which probably seems like nothing to those who blog to attract an audience, but for me, it means that at some point, I’ve written things which interest people enough to come back and look more than once.
But the ultimate reason I blog is because, somewhere in the back of my brain is the idea that, if I sit down every night and write (although right now I’m writing on my lunch hour), and can regularly write 3000-5000 words at a sitting, I will be ready to start my first book because I will have established a habit which is conducive to so much more! I’ll be ready to dedicate more than an hour or two a day to the craft I have, according to someone who has known me that long, aspired to since I was about ten years old!
My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful to everyone who encourages me in my writing.
2. I am grateful for new opportunities to expand my skills.
3. I am grateful for people who are willing to share their experiences.
4. I am grateful for thoughts which nag until they are recounted.
5. I am grateful that I’ve taken another challenge to move me along my path.
Love and light.