That’s the way we used to begin. We used to open our laptops with trepidation, like the internet was some honorable, holy thing. We’d click out our humble opinions with some anxiety. Why should anyone hear from little ol’ me? But what if they don’t?
Those days are gone. I’ve been blogging for over a decade, guys. Blogging has been around long enough now that there is such a thing as old-timey blogging and modern blogging and a lot in between. Gone (for the most part) are the link-ups, the comments, the feeds. Blogging is, for many people, a full-time business now. Stay-at-home moms pouring out their hearts from behind clunky monitors and homeschooled girls getting bold and wordy from their attic bedrooms are images from the past. Few and far between are the nice, personal posts about cabbages and kings or whatever else is on your mind today.
I feel like it’s a necessary disclaimer to say that I don’t think it’s wrong for blogging to be your full time job. As a matter of fact, it’s an amazing result of progress. I have dipped my toes into SEO, ads, associate programs and paid-to-review gigs. It’s kind of thrilling and some of you are gifted at it. I actually plan to contribute to two other sites this year and, in so doing, be paid for my work. It’s glorious to get that kind of affirmation and there’s nothing shameful about it. I still click on blogs with ads or posts with names like “8 simple ways to make your life a million times better” and there’s no shame there, either. But I miss the old blogs, too.
Over the years, my blog reading diet has dwindled considerably. I lost touch with a lot of my blog-friends and many people quit blogging or changed styles. My interests and taste changed, too. One of the blogs I do read these days is called Golden Hours. You may know Lanier and Laura already—as a team, they are pure gold. And their somewhat eccentric lifestyles aren’t the only old fashioned thing about their blog. It’s the good kind of old school. I eat it up.
Recently, Laura wrote a New Years’ post about anti-resolutions. She asks why we can’t prioritize the rituals that really feed our souls, the things we actually take pleasure in. Writing, for one. She loves it (I love it!) but it doesn’t fit into our categorized to-do list, so it’s a no-go. (Unless, of course, writing is your Full Time Job.) Laura writes:
“Writing fits in the murky in-between, along with slow-braising and planting pansies. What if self-care doesn’t always mean a hot bath or another Netflix episode? What if radical self-care can also be about being truly engaged, finding what puts us in a zone where time stands still but zooms by unnoticed?”
This may seem like a simple notion, but it nearly brought me to tears. I miss the old ways so much it hurts. I miss receiving fat, frivolous letters and rushing up to my bedroom to reply. I miss long, frivolous walks for the sake of the walk. I miss the old ways of blogging very much.
Last year I published two blog posts here and they were both pretty heavy. One was about the crucifixion of Christ, the other about my baby brother being ripped from my arms—ahem, moving away. That was all I could muster last year (except for a couple pieces for Kindred Grace—shout out to my very patient and forgiving leader there.) 2017 wasn’t hard because 2017 was “a horrible year.” Much good came out of that calendar year for me and I’m thankful. 2017 was hard because there was so much happening in my home, head and heart that I couldn’t possibly blog. The things I wanted to say were too intimate and untimely and the only other things I could think of to say sounded trite in comparison. So 2017 was for journaling.
And I’m not here to apologize for that. That would be such a modern blog thing to do. And this is an old fashioned blog, forever and ever. Old fashioned blogs are about real life (even if it’s real life happening in my head) and in real life, we go through times of pondering and praying and times of sharing and engaging. So what if I lost some of my readership in my absence or missed a big opportunity? Honestly, I don’t count my readers and I’m learning I’m more into being faithful to my craft than seeking big breaks.
And speaking of big breaks, I have absolutely loved being a self-published author and do plan to publish two more books this year. No promises, but hope and hard work. I may still pursue traditional publishing again one day, but I don’t know. Independence is nice. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll continue (get back to) sending out newsletters. In a way, that felt very much like old fashioned blogging itself. We’ll see. No New Years’ resolutions here, just permission to use my stuff the way I like.