There are blogs about everything…literally…everything, just as there are books about everything. But a blog, much like a book is generally best served by having a central idea, theme or focus. Blogs may have a bit more freedom to deviate from their theme than a book does, largely because there are no editors axing your beloved content from your blog before it’s published, but nonetheless, a blog should have some central idea. This is in part so that readers can know if they want to follow your blog, just as a reader will see what a book is about before deciding if they want to read it. It also helps you, as you write, to focus your writing and content on a general objective—it gives your writing, and your blog, purpose.
I realize lots of blogs are probably done without having consciously thought this through, but even those blogs will find they too have a general theme, simply because a blog is a reflection of its writer and each writer has certain biases and tendencies that will show over the course of time. I came across this quote from Virginia Woolf in college and have always loved it; it speaks to this idea.
What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.”
I love something in this idea of a blog being “loose knit,” but “not slovenly” (which is where the idea of a theme adds some assistance), elastic enough to “embrace anything” that strikes my fancy to record. I should like to hope that readers would find it is, in fact, “transparent enough to reflect the light of my life”…and I desperately hope that transparent reflection will reveal that the light of my life is in fact the LIGHT of all life, Himself, and nothing less.
I think, however, that I shall choose to diverge a bit from her statement, “write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard.” While I agree with her on that in regards to my personal journal and I too like to look back find the significance “to lie where I never saw it at the time,” for a blog, I rather prefer to be a little more intentional.
Which comment brings me back to the pressing question of my purpose in blogging.
I tried to think through things I like and don’t like to read in blogs. I like to laugh, which is partly why I love Missy’s blog so much – she’s funny. I like things which make me think, which are well written and intelligent (um…so this is another reason why I like Missy’s blog). I like inspiration. I like to learn about the Bible and be challenged in my faith to be more like Jesus. I also really like beauty and creativity (which is why I like some of the DIY, home décor and photography blogs). And I like things which feel purposeful.
On the other hand, I find there are things I don’t care for. I don’t really like to read endless detail about someone’s day or family, unless there is something purposeful and inspiring or challenging about it…or funny. I don’t like things that are crass. I don’t like endless opinionating unless possibly it’s really intelligent, but really I prefer that it be based in and supported by God’s word. After all, what do all of our opinions come to anyway when compared to HIS?
I have a few concerns with blogging. Ok, well, I have had a few concerns about blogging, I know I have – but right now only one comes to mind. The biggie: I think blogging can lead to being very self-focused. All about me, what I think, what I like, what I read, what I look like, my pictures, my family, my, my, my, I, I, I,… and I, for one, don’t need to feed that beast. I would rather learn to be more focused on “loving the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and my neighbor as myself” (Luke 10:27-paraphrased). And in so doing, I would like to find that I helped others do so as well.
I write for Shepherd Project Ministries, and I love that. But I find that I have a lot of things I’d like to share or discuss, that don’t necessarily lend themselves to full-fledged articles, (at least not yet), and I need an outlet for those ideas which are backlogging my desk and cluttering my mind. I also think that, while I don’t want this to be “all about me”, nonetheless, I find that often people do want to know more personal things. Things I wouldn’t share in a more professional “article” necessarily, but which would fit in a blog, perhaps. And I too have a longing to share some more personal thoughts on occasion.
Above all though, I want to write things that encourage others in their walk with Jesus…and while the articles at Shepherd Project provide a beautiful venue for that, I still want more.
So what to call this purposed and intentioned hold-all? I don’t want it to be a life-style blog, or a hobby blog, or a humorous blog (because I’m really not that funny), though I do want it to be lose woven enough to accommodate posts like that on occasion. Today as I was getting dressed it came to me. Matt Chandler has a question that I love, “What are the things that stir your affections for Jesus and what are the things which rob you of your affections for Him?” (or something like that, anyway). Suddenly, the idea of blogging has a purpose for me – to not only challenge myself to live in a way that focuses more on the things which stir my affections for Christ (which can be SO hard when it means letting go of things which rob me of my affections for Him, things which I really do love and really seem so innocent), but to also write in such a way as to help readers do the same.
This means I get to share creative things that inspire me, because God is a creator. I get to share humorous things, because God created humor and delights in it. I get to share things about my life, because God created life and relationships and because he shared HIS life with us, by coming to earth and living among us, sharing his daily life with mankind. It also means that I get to share ideas about books and stories and movies and such and how they seemed to either stir or rob me of my affections for Christ. But in ALL things, I am not really the purpose or the point (whew!)—GOD is. The point of it all will be about loving Him more, as it should be.
So there you have it. My first post which drivels on about my endless agony of decision making about this blog…one of the things I said wasn’t my favorite thing in reading others blogs. Ugh! I guess I see why the other bloggers do it! Truly though, I do hope and pray that somehow someone is blessed and encouraged by reading about this part of my journey toward blogging.