Bloggingyourpassion.com estimates that 500 million (500,000,000!) current websites are considered blogs, and between five and six million new blog posts are published every day.
I had to sit with those numbers for several minutes before I could continue drafting this post. How in the world could there be half a billion people believing they have something interesting, unique, and/or helpful to add to the world’s dialogue? The article queried, “Hasn’t it all been said before?” then answered its own question with “No!” Since the site’s business is to train would-be bloggers, they proclaim we all have something to share.
Gary Dekmezian, a contributor to HuffPost.com, listed ten reasons one might want to enter the blogging business. Here are the bottom six on his list, all of them of no interest to me:
- Make money online
- Build a professional network
- Earn more exposure
- Become an authority in your industry
- Build an on-line portfolio
- Market your business
I can’t imagine making money on my website, and my interest isn’t in marketing anything. The first four, though, sounded more like my reasons for joining the multitude:
- Express yourself and share your passions
- Make a difference
- Share your knowledge
- Refine your writing skills
These come close to the reasons why I started my blog in April 2020. I was ready to hone my writing skills. Most of all, I was ready to trust my own voice.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I can remember my three-year-old-self standing before a chalkboard, scribbling away, not yet literate, but understanding what writing could be. I also recall my slightly older-self figuring out the relationship between reading and writing. I knew that the path to writing a book about Ireland, the country my grandma had led me to love, was to, first, read numerous books about the Emerald Isle.
From those early days I progressed to the writing required of a high school and college student, the demands of a teaching career, and the dabbling I’d do with a journal and letter writing. For several years I wrote a column for a library newsletter, and for eight years I composed a column for Channels, a newsletter for United Methodists in the Pacific Northwest.
During my eight years as PNW Conference Lay Leader, I delivered an annual address. People would laughingly say (or say with a bit of a grumble), “Here comes your annual book reviews.” The book seller at the event would ask for the titles in advance, so there would be copies available for purchase.
My writing was a paste-up of others’ thoughts and ideas. My words were just the glue that stuck them together. It felt presumptuous to say “this I know, this I believe,” especially when writing or speaking to those I considered more informed, more credentialed than I.
I hadn’t found my voice, hadn’t yet been able to hone my personal beliefs into a piece of prose. But I was learning.
After much pondering, I named my website “So It Seems.” I know that phrase can be a heard as a snippy retort: “Well, so it seems, but let me tell you how it really is.” That was not my intent. I use the title to mean “Here’s my best thinking, here’s how it is to me. And, friend, how does it seem to you?”
I still pepper my writing with book references. I love a good quote and including a just-right scripture is always appropriate. (“Now I know in part, then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12b) In increasing measure, my writing is my voice, not an accumulation of others’ best reasoning.
My website joined the millions of others on April 17, 2020. I can’t imagine more fertile ground for reflection than our life during the set-apart time of Covid-19, the fury over the death of George Floyd, and the abysmal final days of the Trump presidency.
Preparing this piece, I spent time revisiting the posts I’d written. More than any journal I’ve written, my moods—both raw edges and gratitude—were evident. I had applauded famous heroes such as Anthony Fauci and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand. I honored not-yet-heroes like teen-aged Darnella Frazier and her brave use of her iPhone camera. I lambasted our out-going president and welcomed with relief and hope Team Biden/Harris.
I found myself sharing poet Mary Oliver’s commandment: “Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.” I celebrated moments of joy. Some of them, like Amanda Gorman’s performance at the inauguration were shared national moments. Some, like the yellow rose I was given while walking Zuanich Park, were personal. All were blessings.
As I revisited the string of messages I had created, I noticed recurring prods to action. We are called to live our best lives, to sing our best songs, to take our next best step. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I’ve told my truth as best I can.
So it seems
Dear Reader, thank you for reading this introspective piece of writing. Every word, of this piece and of all the others, were written with you in mind. You know the thoughts of my heart—or, so it seems.
I think this is one of your best blogs, reflective of how you’ve gained your voice and saying so in a graceful, intelligent style. Yes, I’m your biased wife, but I’m also a truth-teller, and what I’ve said is true.
Well, I do know you as a truth-teller, so thanks for the good words!
I agree with you, Linda. This post makes me want to sing and dance. Finding our own voice is not easy (speaking from personal experience) but such a worthy goal. You are an inspiration to me, Amory, and your posts will be among the one-in-five-million I will keep reading.
WOW — five million posts to choose from and you chose mine. Thank you for reading and, especially, the kind words.
love this, but it almost seems as a “good-bye” post. Sure hope that isn’t true.
Oh my, no! What did I say that made it seem that way?
“So it seems” reflects all our gentle offerings. i look forward to reading the next, Amory.
“All our gentle offerings” — what a lovely phrase. Thanks for reading/responding.
Once again, thank you, Amory. I delayed reading this because I waited for a quiet time, unhurried, to see in your mirror, if only dimly. Your posts never fail to take me to many wonderful moments. (I note that 1 Corinthians begins with “speaking.” QED.) It was worth the wait; back I’ll go this evening to my Mary Oliver collection.
Thanks again … and okay, I’ll cop to trying to build a network, but I like your choices better.
Dick, your comments always boost me up! Thanks for your ongoing support. Hope you enjoyed your evening with Mary Oliver.