Monday, November 7, 2011
I found both when I started writing Midwestern Girl. It didn't matter if anyone ever read what I wrote (though I've now discovered that the whole process is a lot more fun when people DO read and follow and occasionally comment on what I write); documenting our family's experiences, on both Wiggles and Midwestern Girl, made me feel like I was contributing - in a small way - to the success and strength of relationships within our immediate and extended families.
I figured I'd give it a few months, then reassess to decide if blogging was really a worthwhile way to spend my time. Now, today, after 100 Midwestern Girl posts and a brief reassessment, I've decided I'm in.
Let's be honest - I'm not making any money. And that's alright, because I'm not blogging to make money. But because I'm not making any money, the benefits associated with blogging need to be pretty significant in order for me to justify spending 7-10 hours a week on writing and photographing for Wiggles, Midwestern Girl, and the Red Cross. Luckily for me, the benefits rock.
Blogging connects me to family members, friends, and networks of women, mothers, writers, and now Red Crossers in ways I could never have imagined. We live thousands of miles away from nearly all of our family members and close friends, and blogging allows me to share our children and experiences with those we love. Additionally I've found information, guidance, reassurance, and support through the blogs of other women, mothers, and writers who are working and/or playing in this crazy world of internet connectivity.
Blogging creates a beautiful - even when it's not - chronological picture of our lives.
- (IMO) Blogging tells a more accurate and truthful story than journaling, at least in my case. While I enjoy reading my journal entries from high school and college, the pictures these entries paint in my memory are never complete. I journaled frequently when I was in angry or sad (break-ups, friend troubles, family crises) but very little when life was good, so a quick skim through one of my journals reminds me only of the heartache - and not the joy - I experienced during a particular time period.
- (IMO) Blogging tells a more accurate and truthful story than baby books and scrapbooking. Both highlight only the cheerful moments and milestones reached, and are the opposite of journals (or at least my journals) which highlight the rocky roads traveled. I'm not all that interested in the "sugar-coated" version of life, and when my kids and I look back on their youth, I want the words they read, pictures they see, and videos they watch to be representative of their entire lives, not JUST the parts that were all sunshine and roses. Will should understand how difficult it was for him to join his first soccer team, and appreciate how terribly hard he had to work to learn how to swim. Hallie should read about how she used to destroy everything under the sun and know how we ALL struggled when she said goodbye to her sucker. Childhood can be joyful without being perfect, and I want to chronicle this beautiful and messy ride just as it played out.
Blogging adds depth to my days. I now look at and absorb my day-to-day experiences differently than I've done in the past, knowing that every encounter, conversation, and outing could turn into something more. My eyes and ears are more open to and appreciative of the world around me.
Blogging is a step - a small step, but a step none-the-less - in a new direction for me. For eight years I dedicated myself (professionally and in some ways personally as well) to the Red Cross. And while I'm still incredibly committed to the organization and its mission, as evidenced by my new partnership with the National American Red Cross blog, I know and have accepted that I will very likely never find what I had at the Ann Arbor Red Cross here in College Station. I'm not yet ready to define this new direction, but I am willing to say that writing here and for the Red Cross are baby steps down the path.
So like I said, the benefits rock and I'm in. For 100 more, 200 more, wherever this thing takes me. Thanks for reading, for following if you feel so inclined, and for your support.