Sunday, June 14, 2009

What's so great about blogging?

So, it’s all the rage and everyone is doing it. But what’s so great about blogging?

That all depends on the reason for your blog, I suppose. I have friends and family members who blog as an ongoing family letter, akin to the Christmas Letter. These are fabulous for sharing with those that you don’t get to see often, and in today’s mobile society – a must to keep up with families that are strewn across the country. And even better, they have pictures and video, and allow the reader to respond quickly and join in discussions of posts. The added benefit is that it is a family history online, viewable by many. Some sites even allow you to have your blog printed and bound at the end of the year, which creates an archival quality memoir. All around win, I say.

There are also bloggers who wish to spread a message – political bloggers, for instance. They hope to capture an audience that will be influenced by their words. They generally have a specific topic or topics that they cover.

Some bloggers do so for their customers. One of my favorites is a photographer that did family pictures for my cousin and her family on Oahu. I checked out her blog to see their pictures, and LOVED it. Of course, she blogs about her photo shoots, which are always fascinating to me as a wanna-be photographer. But she also makes personal comments about things, and is very likeable. You can see her at Natalie Norton Photo

I see the application of this as I watch another cousin begin her landscaping business. She is always noting little things about certain flowers or plants for us…interesting little tidbits that just make me smile. For instance, did you know that pansies are a hearty flower? Then why do we call weak people pansies? It makes no sense! I love her little observations and her photography, and I think that a blog would serve her well to show off what she knows, her personality, and some of her jobs for potential customers. I’m considering my own business, and I’m still trying to figure out a fun blog for this purpose. It is a way of sharing your area of expertise and interesting others.

Probably the most influential blog that I have read is one by Rozanne Paxman of Scrap Girls. I originally began receiving the Scrap Girls newsletter because they always have digital scrapbooking freebies, and I’m cheap. I love the freebies to beef up my digital stash. I became addicted to the newsletter, however, because of the “muses” that Ro writes. She is a writer that has something to say on a variety of subjects, and usually with some sort of life lesson. Of course, this ties in with her business of selling digital scrapbooking supplies, as it inspires us to scrapbook things that we might not have thought of. Her blog is a continuation of that, in which she not only inspires, but offers solutions to organization and a variety of other topics.

It is this format that I chose for my blog. I want to write. I need to write. I love to write, and years of raising children and writing only technical manuals has taken it’s toll on my ability. I believe that we are given gifts to use for the good of the many, and if we do not use them, we lose them. I love to be able to write to touch others, and help them to ‘think outside the box’, if you will.

I try to pick a subject every day and write an essay. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it makes me think all of the time. I am constantly trying on new subjects for size, running them through the old meat grinder to see if they look good. I compose sentences and paragraphs in my mind all day, selecting those that seem to strike a chord, rejecting ones that fall flat.

What is really remarkable is that it forces me to think differently. I see the big picture in everything. How does this really affect my life? What is the lesson here? How can I use this to reach out to others? My greatest goal would be for RESONANCE. I would be thrilled to know that something that I said or observed made you stop and think…perhaps even reevaluate your views, your goals, your place in life. To see the big picture and not obsess about details, but embrace the glory that this life has to offer.

Ultimately, I would like to say something profound. It hasn’t happened yet, but if I write enough…I’m bound to hit something!

On a professional level, it retrains my mind to write. Because I have one day to conceive, compose, and post my thoughts, I don’t have time to produce endless drafts. I have to think on the fly. I have to pull it all together-- introduction, explanation, and wrap up—in a brief amount of time. Every day, it gets easier.

On a personal level, it reminds me that I DO have something to offer. You’ve read that I was recently paralyzed by my lack of self-esteem. I began the blog anonymously, quietly, so that I could see if it would work for me. As I’ve opened up and invited other readers to my blog, I have gotten some excellent feedback that has been so good for me! I have a ‘readership’ of sorts, as I see that each day, I get about 20 readers. Some days more, some less, but it’s somewhat steady. That means that some of you are coming BACK again, after reading my blog. You have no idea how much that means to me. It restores my faith in the fact that each of us has something to offer, and that I am not a complete failure and social pariah as I thought.

I know, I know, that’s dramatic. Unfortunately, that was my shattered mind. I cannot believe how far I have come…how far I had fallen. I am in constant gratitude for my return to health.

And as I noted when I began this blog, my hope is that my experience might touch someone else. I scoured the internet when my premature baby was born, looking for stories of others who had experienced this. I devoured every word, learning as I read. It helped me to understand my own feelings and struggles, and to realize that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I welcome your comments and love to hear your thoughts on any subject that I discuss. I invite you to share your own stories…whether you do so on my blog or in your own journals. If just one of you is inspired to write, to try something new, or gains perspective, then I have been successful.

And I gotta tell you, success is a beautiful thing!

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