Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't blogging supposed to provide one with an outlet for their writing? I love blogging, but I have been going nuts trying to strike a balance between keeping up with everyone else's blogs and maintaining my own. To be honest, I didn't really know what I was getting into when I opened this here can o' worms! Of course I'm happy that "the can" has been opened. I've met so many new friends from all over the world, all thanks to blogging. But there are a few things about blogging that stress me out. Let me share them with you:
1. You have to work to get people to read your blog! Before I started blogging, I was blissfully unaware of the world of technorati authority, stats, feeds, and search spiders. I thought "html" was an acronym for ... I don't know what for, actually. And what's more, why do I even care about how widely read I am? But for some reason, you just get sucked into it.
2. Sometimes it's hard to come up with material. For one thing, I have a very diverse readership. Some of my students read my blog -- well, can't say anything too negative about Taiwan. Some of my non-Christian friends read my blog -- now I have to be true to my beliefs without sounding "preachy." Some of my Christian friends read my blog -- better try not to sound too "secular." Some of my family members read my blog -- darn, there goes that post about how so and so scarred me for life with a certain comment at Thanksgiving 1998. And even complete strangers read my blog -- how can I anticipate what they're going to want to read? Of course, no one has actually emailed me yet complaining about my posts -- these are all pressures that I needlessly place on myself. I'm learning just to be myself, and I even posted about it a little here. But even as I'm beginning to be more comfortable with my own blog "voice", I still struggle to come up with new material sometimes. This is partially because I've decided to keep my blog relatively free of "fluff" and memes. So unless I feel like I have something to say, I tend to keep silent.
3. Blogging involves a lot off reciprocity, which is both a blessing and a burden at times. I love reading other people's blogs, but sometimes I long to be a lurker. This is solely because I'm just so darn busy! It takes time to read everyone's posts, even more time to comment, and by the time it's all done I'm often too tired to write a post of my own. I make an effort to visit everyone that visits me, but it's tough. I work full time, I take Chinese classes, I spend time with friends and my husband, and I correspond with family overseas. I used to read books, lots of them! But now, I spend most of my free time doing what I've begun referring to as "blog PR." Not blogging as in writing, mind you, but "blog PR." This is where I respond to all the comments made on my blog, email all of the people who visited my blog for the first time, visit the blogs of people who visited me, and so on. Wow, is this how I'm supposed to glorify God with my blog? Don't get me wrong, I love encouraging my new blog friends by commenting on their posts, and I don't just visit the blogs of people who visit my blog. I just feel so drained sometimes when I look at the clock and realize I just spent two hours of my life reading and commenting on other blogs.
Please don't take any of this the wrong way. I love my new blog friends, and I don't think it's bad to do the whole meme thing. I like reading blogs, and I like commenting on posts, but I need to make some changes. For one thing, I'm going to do a bit of RSS reader cleaning. By this I mean I'm going to unsubscribe to a few blogs that haven't updated in awhile, or that I don't feel any deep connection with. I want to adapt the same blog friend philosophy that I use for my real-life friends -- a few close friends are always better than a ton of acquaintances. I'm going to start alternating my writing days and "read and comment on other people's blogs" days. So hopefully, I'll be posting every other day now. And lastly, I'm going to write a comment and blog correspondence policy, more for the purpose of setting a few guidelines for myself.
So there you have it. If a day goes by without a post, it means it's an "RSS reader day." If a day goes by and I don't comment on any of your posts, it's a day when I won't open my reader and I'll just focus on my own writing. Wow, to hear me talk, you'd think a million people were reading and commenting on my blog! The number is probably more like five or six people, but I guess I just get overwhelmed easily. Anyway, thank you for understanding!