Thursday, January 23, 2014

To the Bloggers of the World: Encouragement Matters

A friend reminded me the other day of just how long I've been doing this whole blogging thing. It's been almost 6 years if you are wondering. Honestly, it feels like yesterday to me and (while I'm being honest) it still feels like I have no clue what I'm doing. And that's okay. This whole blogging thing has grown and changed so much over the years it's hard to imagine that anyone can keep on top of it all. 

I don't know in which way the rest of the Internet world is headed, but I have decided it's time to figure out where I am headed. At one point, and maybe I'm over-generalizing but, I think we were all just happy to find that we weren't the only crazy people in the world with x,y,z problem so we shared our hearts, our day to day and all the little trivial tid-bits about ourselves in hopes of finding out we weren't "the only ones".

We made close friendships and read each others words daily. Now that we have that covered, I think things have been going in a different direction. There are so many people in this Internet world now. There are more bloggers, more readers and a lot of opinion givers. I no longer feel comfortable sharing the nitty gritty of my children's lives. I don't know if that has more to do with the fact that there are so many people out there or if it's more to do with the fact that really their story is not my own. But regardless, this blog will stay about me and my experiences because that is all I know. Of course the children are intertwined with that, but at a comfortable distance.

I also realize how many reading choices there are out there. We are bombarded daily with what Facebook recommends us reading or the numerous tweets and alerts telling us the hot topics that certain well known blogging sites will most certainly cover and soon be scattered around Facebook taking over the hope of ever seeing "real life" friends pictures and updates. We are filled with inspiration from beautiful Instagram and Pinterest pictures showing us how, if we wanted, we too could make life more picture perfect. 

We battle with doubts of self worth and the wonderment of if we have anything we could offer when all we can think about is that "she" could or has done it better. Why can't we do it all? Regardless, we all have our stories, our talents and our ways of sharing them. Maybe it's through pretty pictures, or projects, or tutorials or our words. Maybe it's by knowing how to share others stories with just the right person or, strange as it is these days, your physical presence in someones life. 

I may be getting off track or over thinking this a tad much, but all of this culminates to where I want this teeny, tiny blip on the Internet to go. Over the past year I've struggled with this very thought. It takes time and effort to keep something like this going. I have to sit and write and edit, take pictures and edit those, and do projects with tutorials included to make this blog go. All for free. That's right. I make minimally reportable income on this little old space that I've been keeping up with for 6 years which I'm sure makes a lot of you wonder "WHY?!?".

It's a good question.

One I've been asking myself a lot more lately as I feel smaller and smaller everyday.

So I've done some soul searching. I've chased the money train with this blog. I've tried ads and networking and "really putting myself out there" and I find it exhausting...and obviously fruitless (for me). I've tried to do this blog solely for myself without regard to anyone reading and I have found that it's an ugly place where I feel all "look at me!". I've thought about quitting, but I just can't. So I've determined that I'm going to do it for you. 

I do it for the person sitting behind their computer reading this who maybe has never even commented before that can read my words and relate. I do it for the person who hops onto one of my tutorials from Pinterest and realizes that they too can do something crafty or maybe make what's in their head come to life. More than anything I want to make sure this blog is for inspiration, thought and hope. I am not trying to sound noble, I just want to offer the inspiration and hope that so many of you have given me over the years. 

I was telling my friend that sometimes the silence around these parts really gets to me. It makes me feel like no ones out there and that doing this was all for nothing. But after I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I realized just how many times I had been the silent one. The one who read something powerful and never said a word but had it resonate with me throughout the day. The one who used a Pinterest tutorial to make a birthday party come to life without ever thanking the person who helped me make it happen. The one who had read heartfelt posts that literally had me crying on my keyboard and never said a word. The one who never encouraged the person who obviously so desperately needed it, but was thankful that they too were like me. 

This is not some crazy plea to have you comment on my blog I swear. All of this just made me realize that this little place can matter. Your little (or big) place can matter. You matter.

I've decided this year that I'm not only going to be more selective about the things I read or allow into my life, but I'm also going to be more selective about the things I share. I want this place to be encouraging and inspiring. I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing it for you because there are so, so many of you lovely ladies that do it for me every day. Some I have never even told. 

Encouragement matters. In a world of overly opinionated, overly stimulated people, encouragement for good matters. We are so quick to hop on the debates over hot topics, but we need to be quick to encourage. So that's what my hope is for this year. To encourage. To be encouraged. It's a wonderful little circle and I thank you for being part of it. You encouragers and inspirers of the world out there sharing your hearts and talents: keep it up! It matters, you matter, it's making a difference even if you have never been told so.

- Here's another post on a somewhat related topic from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary: Say Anything.

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  1. This is so well written and so true...we all need encouragement...even it's from someone a million miles away from the computer. I can't tell you how many times I can get a comment from someone I have never met in person that brightens my day. :)

  2. Encouragement absolutely matters especially in a world where negative thoughts come to the surface first. I'm doing Soul Detox right now and the basis of it is getting rid of toxic thoughts and toxic people: saying/writing life-giving words instead of toxic/harmful words. I'm working very heard to achieve this goal. You're a wonderful friend and blogger, don't stop being you and make of this blog what you will. You're doing great!

  3. Such a good post!! I've had the same struggles with my blog....and I've gotten so discouraged and have quit many times haha. But I find myself unfriending and unsubscribing a lot of the "noise" in my cyber life . ..mostly bc the noise in my real world is enough for any mommy, haha. So thank you for reminding me that it's a great place to show love and support and encouragement! Excited for you and the new blog direction!

  4. Such a good post!! I've had the same struggles with my blog....and I've gotten so discouraged and have quit many times haha. But I find myself unfriending and unsubscribing a lot of the "noise" in my cyber life . ..mostly bc the noise in my real world is enough for any mommy, haha. So thank you for reminding me that it's a great place to show love and support and encouragement! Excited for you and the new blog direction!

  5. I really liked this! I feel the same way... I started blogging for me, but also to connect with other people with similar tastes, opinions, seasons of life, etc... My husband and I often have a discussion about why exactly I'm blogging. If it was truly and solely just for me, I'd be lying, because if it were just for me, it would be on pen and paper in a journal. Right? I don't blog for 100 comments or thousands of followers. I blog in hopes that my words reach someone else out there. Like you said, the ones who don't comment, but listen. I've lost track on how many times people have privately messaged me, thanking me for being so honest about my postpartum depression. It's people like THEM that I blog for; and the feeling I get from that is for me. & it's priceless.

  6. Oh boy have we all felt like this before. I know I have! Great post and I'm so excited to connect with another Knoxville blogger. Will be visiting back often. Find me here-

  7. Love this! A little late to the party here, but it is interesting how blogs tend to evolve with seasons of life! I, too, have been the one that read something impactful and never commented - at times we are all looking for that encouragement! You are a wonderfully talented writer, and I've enjoyed keeping up with you via the blog! :-) looking forward to whatever comes next!


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