Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Some changes are a comin'...

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!

6 comments:

  1. Yup, easy to get sucked in, and can't satisfy all audiences. That's blogging -- come to think of it, that's most interactive activities. But if you are yearning to write, my advice is don't blog. Blog writing for the most part is unproductive as far as publication is concerned.

    Fellow Christians really bother you that your blog is too secular? Sheesh! Reason #45091 to be an atheist. No atheist has ever written to me demanding that I be more atheist in my blog. Non serviam, baby!

    Michael

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  2. Ah, relax my friend, sit back and put your feet up, as my friend likes to tell me, and grab a cup of tea:)

    This blogging thing is fun, but it can be a bit stressful too, if we allow it. Trying to find that balance can be hard.

    Just know that you are appreciated (whether or not you comment) and let God lead you, yes, even in this land of blogville :)

    Take care and have a great day :)

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  3. Thanks for the encouragement, Susan! I'll take a chill pill, as they say.

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  4. Michael,

    I appreciate the advice about the writing. At first I thought that blogging would somehow magically open a lot of doors for my writing, but it's something else entirely. I still enjoy blogging, but as far as developing my creative writing goes, I think I need to join a writing group and get some serious critiques of my work. Gosh, maybe one day I'll be published! I can dream, anyway.

    I have to set something straight about my comment about trying not to sound too secular on my blog. This is a burden I place on myself due to my own insecurity, not because another Christian blogger has ever said anything to me about being too "secular." Most of the Christians I know are mature enough to realize that not every sentence out of someone's mouth has to be dripping with religious lingo. After your comment, I realized that I may not have expressed this well enough, so I added another line to make it clear that these "requirements" are a direct result of my own insecurity.

    I can't say I think becoming an atheist is the answer to dealing with a few "annoying" Christians out there ... seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. But I know your comment wasn't meant to start a big religious discussion, so I'll leave it at that. I do appreciate your advice and respect your opinion, so as always, thanks for commenting!

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  5. Hi Cahleen,

    I'm glad you stopped by! I agrre with everything you wrote here...am of one mind with you about it.

    Adding to the meme's I also struggle with awards, which I'm thankful for, but really don't want to spend posts on telling about them. They have nothing to do with the point of my blogging, which is to say what God is teaching me...unless He's teaching me about how to receive awards :)

    Have you ever seen the old show aboput the man spinning plates? Well he has about 8 plates spinning on a stick and he runs around trying to keep them spinning or they will fall. I think the way you have laid out your priorities will keep you from feeling like you need to run around spinning plates. Does that make sense?

    I'll be back!
    Blessings on you, Friend!
    Holly

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  6. Crown Laid Down,

    I'm so glad you stopped by! You provide an interesting visual that illustrates my point perfectly.

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