Why I Love/Hate Blogging and Why You Should Too

Once upon a time I wrote a weekly email for all of my friends called “God Sightings.” This was long ago when AOL ruled the world and people ran to the store and back while their computers where “dialing up.” I’m not sure, but I think dinosaurs also went extinct during this period. By this period I mean while AOL was dialing up.

In “God Sightings” I usually told a story about seeing God in the everyday and mundane things of life. People really liked it. Or so they said.

Then someone suggested I write a blog. Being the faithful Lemming that I am I leaped into the blogging world.

Since that day I have had a love/hate relationship with blogging.

  • I love blogging because the written word is powerful

I have dreamed of being a writer ever since the day I read “Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman for the first time as a child. From that day forward I drowned myself in books. The written word has rescued me from loneliness, depression, and ignorance. Words strung together to form pictures and ideas have sailed me into new worlds. From the Bible to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” the written word has changed the world.

All this reading gave me an ache to tell stories that move others the way so many books have transported and transformed me.

I love blogging because it is to writers what a blank canvas and full palette of paints is to an artist. Blogging is my invitation to tell stories on screen.

  • I hate blogging because it saps the strength of the written word

There may be as many as 164 million blogs on the internet right now. Too much information. Thus we skim.

Skimming is sliding your eyes over a piece of writing looking for interesting or relevant ideas. By definition it means to not go deep. Most “how to blog” blogs claim this is how most readers interact with your blog. Therefore, they say, write short, easy to read blogs.

But skimming naturally promotes lower comprehension in the reader and a shallow development of ideas in the writer. I may have lost you already.

Blogging may be making both writer and reader shallow says Patricia Greenfield, from UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Center.

I hate blogging because the thoughts and ideas that have transformed the human race cannot be communicated in word “tags” or how to articles.

  • I love blogging for its easy access to an audience

Every writer knows, finding an audience is difficult. My wife is a faithful and honest reader of my work. But writing loses its appeal when only your mom and friends read it. There are over 2 billion internet users. That’s one heck of a potential audience. And blogging is free.

When I wrote articles for magazines or the Vail Daily my potential audience numbered only in the thousands. Plus blogging bypasses editors and query letters and–worse yet–rejection letters.

Blogging allows us to connect in ways paper communication rarely dreams of.

  • I hate blogging because the audience is an enigma 

I don’t get blogging. When I write for magazines, I know each magazine has a set and defined audience. One does not write a hunting story for a parenting magazine.

What do lurkers in the blogosphere want? I have no idea. And neither do the billions of experts blogging about writing blogs. Blogging is like fly fishing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Will the fish even see my fly?

Write short how to blogs, they say. Yet Lesley Carter writes one of the most successful blogs out there. It is often long, personal, and more of a story than a list.

And comments and the “like button” are no help. Liking may not mean the person actually likes your blog. They may actually be just fishing for followers on their own blog. Why, for example, did another blogger like my blog about God, when said blogger claims to be an atheist on their blog?  I hope it’s because of the content of the blog not just fishing.

Blogging is a daily frustration because slapping Tim Tebow’s name in my title gets me more hits than working hard on well thought out and well written prose.

I hate that.

I love/hate blogging because every time I post, I am already writing my next blog and at the same time vowing to quit blogging and write something serious. Like you, I post my blog and check my stats over and over because I love the instant feedback and responsiveness to the written word blogging provides. I respond to those who have taken my words seriously.

At the same time I castigate myself for my Lemming-like behavior and my addictive slavishness. I long for the simple days of just writing. Of taking an idea and shaping it and letting it go. But maybe that’s all blogging is anyway.

How about you? How do you love/hate this blogging world?


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9 responses to “Why I Love/Hate Blogging and Why You Should Too

  1. Georgie-ann

    Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
    1 “Cast your bread upon the waters,
    For you will find it after many days.
    2 “Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
    For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

    3 “If the clouds are full of rain,
    They empty themselves upon the earth;
    And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
    In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
    4 “He who observes the wind will not sow,
    And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

    5 “As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
    Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
    So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
    6 “In the morning sow your seed,
    And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
    For you do not know which will prosper,
    Either this or that,
    Or whether both alike will be good.”

    If we offer our work to God with a sincere heart, then the results are in His hands,… they are no longer ours but His,…

    Matthew 6:25,27
    25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, … 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”

    I think all of you do a great job, Eugene,… I have no idea who sees it, or who might also see/read it in the future,… If you’ve considered the best thoughts and advice on blogging, and also follow real personal interests, and trust in the Lord to guide you and your written words, what more can anyone do???,… Beyond that, once it becomes as “bread cast upon the waters” (of the human consciousness sea), it passes out beyond the ability to control its destination,… but God says/promises, “you will find it after many days,”… and we also know God doesn’t particularly rejoice over buried talents (Matthew 25),…

    • Georgie: Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder about casting our work on his waters. That’s really the truth of it.

      • Georgie-ann

        I’d be facing a real problem if I had to come up with catchy “conversation starters”,… I admire the way you all manage to do that, and to be novel and provocative so much of the time,… it looks good to me!

        Once you get the ball rolling, I’ve found it intriguing to “pile on”,… (-:

      • Georgie-ann

        & if just one person “somewhere sometime” manages to find something meaningful, it’s all worth it,…

        Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

  2. JPM MD

    Does skimming the New York Times on line make me less aware of what’s happening in the world? I don’t think so.
    I avoid putting comments on Face Book walls, so mindless at best, and I have been guilty. When I put something on my FB wall I link to an article in the media or a magazine that I have read and hopefully will contribute to the knowledge and bettering the information base of the reader. Over the past several days I have included articles well written, not blogged, on school nutrition, overprotective parents, material written to encourage and inform. My medical students rarely write anymore; all their notes are taken on laptops , their lecture handouts are on line, saving acres of trees, a very good thing!
    The buzz of the day is electronic charting (?medical blogging?) in the office and hospital wards, also a good thing but better connect with the patient and build relationships first.
    I am getting off the subject of blogging which I know so little about anyway. I do know that relational communication is critical in health care, less law suits, better compliance with medication and follow-up, “My doctor likes me and I like him/her because he seemed to really care about my chronic back ache. He/she didn’t ‘blog’ me during my visit, took time, sat down, looked me in the eye, and made a valid attempt to understand my values, thoughts, and feelings.”

    • John:

      Good point about the NYT. But I think there is a difference between being aware and knowing the complexities of any given idea or situation. And of course, some people are better skimmers than others.

  3. Barry

    I wish you still wrote for the Daily, Eugene. The pastor who currently writes for them for them is misguided (to state it politely).

    • Barry:

      I wish I did too. Writing for the Daily was fun and rewarding (though not monetarily). I too lean toward the well written and in-depth, though I am finding myself skimming too often and wrestling with a shorter attention span than I once had. I try for that in my own writing. Trout streams are a mighty temptation. I find my mind following an imaginary fly down a glistening trout stream too during sermons–and then I realize I’m the one preaching and snap out of it. 🙂

  4. Barry

    Too bad you no longer write for the Daily, Eugene. The pastor who currently writes for them for them is misguided (to state it politely).

    I enjoy in-depth, well-written articles and blog posts, even lengthy ones. However, when a sermon extends beyond a half hour or so, my mind wanders off to a trout stream somewhere.

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