Blogging for nobody

I have discovered that I really do enjoy writing. Putting it on the web for others to read helps me to write better and analyze what I say to ensure it does actually make sense

Retro image of a journalist using a typewriter

I have been thinking about what blogging means for me over the last few weeks and am returning right back to the very basics, the underlying motivations behind my writing. Why write? Why put what I’ve written on the internet for all to see?

Over the last three years I have learned a lot about the technical aspects and ‘etiquette’ of writing a blog, discovering that overwhelmingly the goal of most writers is to gain more readers. The reasons why folks desire more visitors to their website vary, some want their art to be seen and noticed, others want to earn more money, some are seeking notoriety. Yet, more visitors is the goal, the measure of success, regardless of what specifically motivates the ambition.

When I first began writing blogging I would eagerly check visitor stats every day, wanting some sort of verification that somebody was reading my words. Gradually this need for validation decreased and cynicism overtook it – many visitors were landing on my posts in search of images or keywords which were not actually the point of what I had written. Then there are the numerous hits from spammy places such as Nigeria which don’t really count.

What I have discovered is that I really do enjoy writing. Putting it on the web for others to read helps me to write better and analyze what I say to ensure it does actually make sense to someone other than me. So this at least covers these two aspects – I enjoy the writing so am motivated to continue, and publishing it as blog posts makes me a better writer which in itself is a personal goal. While it is nice to have people read my posts, at this fundamental level I have reasons to blog regardless of who those readers might be.

Apparently even some of the more prominent bloggers have a similar viewpoint:

If someone were registering a blog for the very first time today, what advice would you give him/her?

I would tell him that he should blog first and foremost for his own benefit. I don’t mean for that to sound selfish! Here’s the thing: blogging can be a great joy if you are content to keep writing regardless of whether anyone else reads along. When you can do this, you can avoid being driven by the numbers of visitors and you can avoid the allure of writing very pragmatically, choosing what you write about only because you think it will generate buzz. If you can be content with blogging for an audience of one, you will find much more contentment in blogging for an audience of one hundred or one million. (4 Questions With Tim Challies by Mike Leake)

Loving God

loving-god

Over the last few months I have been slowly re-reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This week I read the final chapter and seemed to finally grasp what she is getting at. It now makes sense why Ann included a chapter about her trip to Paris and her response to a Rembrandt painting.

I could bless very God.
Not take anything. Not ask anything, demand anything, petition anything. I could simply give something to God. A gift to Him! (One Thousand Gifts, p216)

When we love someone it is a delight to give to them. I can bless my wife by giving her some thing she would like, or by doing work for her which relieves a burden from her, or by praising her – letting her know how I delight in her. This is powerful, to be given the gift of being deeply valued for who you are. When genuine and truly given with no motive other than love, such a gift goes deep into the soul of the recipient – an act of love.

This seems to be what Ann means when she writes:

God, He has blessed – caressed.
I could bless God – caress with thanks.

It’s our making love.

(One Thousand Gifts, p216)

A brief passage which has upset some folks. Yet deep spiritual interaction with God is what most of us are desperate for, even in our crazed pursuit of everything other than God. To find the core of what it means to truly live is a source of constant unrest, unease and anxiety because we know it is essential to find it.

I know this is what drives me – beyond all else I must know God. So when someone describes knowing Him in the closest way possible, I pay attention. Even if a word used forces me to reach for the OED to confirm the meaning as being: “communion between human beings and God.”

… this is intercourse disrobed of its connotations, pure and unadulterated: a passing between. A connection, a communicating, an exchange, between tender Bridegroom and His bride. (One Thousand Gifts, p218)

If God is saying, “enjoy Me”, I am a fool to not do so. Purposely being mindful of thanking and praising God for all He gives is a precious interaction with Him, the form in which we each do so is not overly important. I continue to write out my thanks to God, but am no longer numbering or keeping count as this can be a distraction for me personally.


Image: WikiMedia Commons