Blogging into My Second Year

Can you believe it has been almost a year? In a few weeks, I will mark a year at blogging. It’s been an education and a revelation. The education part includes everything from blogging software like that of WordPress to writing catchy titles and attention grabbing first sentences to figuring out what I want to write about. The revelation part has been how much I enjoy putting into writing my thoughts, reflections and reviews on books I’m reading and connecting my own life narratives to the narratives of others.

I have also learned a tremendous amount in dialogue with those who read and comment on the blog. When I’ve written about growing up in Youngstown, I’ve been reminded of memories buried deep but that are part of the fabric of my past that shape my present. When we dialogue about issues or books, I’m made to examine my own take on things and go deeper still. And I kind of hope, reader, that we have done this together.

I’ve been amazed by the exploration of working class and the tremendous interest from many Youngstown friends, and the awakening sense that how growing up in working class industrial cities shaped people in particular ways. As I go forward, I want to keep blogging about these things as well as to continue to explore and share some of the books I’m reading and thoughts about literacy in what seems to be an increasingly visual age.

My faith does inform my writing yet I hope not to be “preachy”. For some, my faith might not seem explicit enough in what I write. My own sense is that Christian spirituality touches all the ordinary and extraordinary things of my life and I hope shows through not in the “preachiness” of what I write but simply that the goodness, truth, and whatever beauty I can muster point to the One who I believe epitomizes these things.

My faith also challenges even how I think about blogging. I’m on a kind of retreat right now and it has struck me that  blogging has become too big a thing in my life at times. I’ve become compulsive  about writing daily. And it is easy to become compulsive about checking one’s numbers of followers, views, comments, and likes. So I’ve reached a couple of decisions. One is that I will take a blogging “sabbath” each week. Sabbath has actually been a life-giving practice in my life and my compulsiveness to write every day has encroached on this. So I won’t be posting, or checking the blog at all on Sundays, the day I usually set aside to sabbath. And second, I’ve decided that I will check the blog twice a day for comments and views and that sort of stuff–once in the morning, once at night. More takes away from other things that matter including time with my wife.

So I definitely want to respond to comments. And I wouldn’t be a writer if I wasn’t interested in knowing whether anyone is interested in this stuff. But it’s time to define some boundaries that keep it from becoming an inordinate thing in life. I actually hope that all this helps me better serve the craft of writing well.

For my blogging friends, how have you dealt with the compulsions that are peculiar to blogging?