Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Pressure - Just Write!

Blogging is sort of strange, sometimes. I know, I should be wearing my Princess Obvious t-shirt if I'm going to say something like that with the assumption that it's breaking news to anyone. I'm fairly certain that the strangeness of blogging hasn't escaped anyone who's been paying attention.

I say that however, for a specific reason. Maybe it's just me, but it seems sometimes like what other people say about your writing might be a bit of a temptation to suddenly "perform", rather than just do what you always do and write the way you always write. If you think about it, life in general is sorta like this too. Let's say for example, you make the world's most incredible brownies, and everyone in your circle of friends knows it. Word gets out and suddenly complete strangers are asking for your brownies. You feel a sense of higher expectation of yourself because word got around that your brownies are great and you certainly cannot flop a batch!

Blogging can be like this too. You might write something that really blesses someone and they mention it at their blog (which happens to have... thousands of readers a day, give or take a few hundred). Suddenly you've got all this traffic coming in, expecting you to be Joe Insightful (or his sister Jane) with every keystroke. You might feel like you can't just let a rant rip, and go all out explaining why you're so tired of trying to explain the obvious, i.e., "no, young Christian, smoking dope and beating people up is not considered godly conduct". (For the record, I don't know any violent, dope smoking believers, I'm just overdoing it to make a point). You might also feel like you can't keep posting pictures of your cat, dog, kids doing silly things, sunsets or whatever else it is you post pictures of. People are coming because you're Jane Insightful, not because you have a cat, you dipstick!) You might even feel like you can't be completely open anymore and post things that confuse you, or befuddle you, or infuriate you - because you know now, that there are folks coming who think you've got it all figured out. Insightful people have it all figured out, right?

I write about this today because over the last week or so I've had visitors here (*waves to all the first time visitors and passes the bowl of cheetos around) that have never been here before. I honestly don't know what they're expecting (look at me, talking about you like you're not in the room, I'm so rude!), or which post they might happen to land on when they show up. Will they find something doctrinal? A parenting post? One of my earth-shattering pics of the cat sleeping on someone's school desk? It's hard to say. I'm a diverse kinda writer, and the menu of the day is uber-flexible.

doctrine, theology, parenting, tulips... life.

That's what it says in the description section of my header up yonder (yes, I say yonder in real life too, and I also say wee, and all the other goofy words you read here). That's the area where you're supposed to tell readers what your blog is all about.

This particular blog is all about the same kinds of conversations we'd have if you came over for coffee. What would we talk about? Well, we'd talk about doctrine and theology, to be sure. We might talk about the latest evangelical movement or trend, and we might talk about the book I'm reading or the book you're reading, or the last conference you went to, or what either of us are studying right now. Christians tend to talk about those things, and want to hear where other people are at in their Christian walk as well.

We'd probably talk about life as a parent, too. If you don't have kids you'd ask me why I'm not insane, since I have 7 of them, and I'd explain how that translates into day to day life. (Or maybe you wouldn't ask why I'm not insane, but ask how I became insane, either way). We might talk about homeschooling and public schooling and the highs and lows of each, and how parenting choices we all might have made at 30, we regret at 40.

We might talk about gardening, photography, dogs, cats, vacations, chocolate, birthdays, sewing, baseball, badminton, movies, music, coffee, family, hopes, dreams, fears, failures and successes. The first time I met fellow blogger (who turned into my dearest friend) Kim Shay, we sat in local coffee shop and actually fit all of those topics into a 3.5 hour chat session. We could have covered more, but those chairs were hard and we realized it was time to get back to our families.

So, when you visit Reflections of the Times, that's pretty much what you're going to find. If you've read really nasty things about me somewhere, you might come here and find out I'm not the Cave Troll-like person you've heard I was (unless we're talking about shopping, an activity that I loathe to the uttermost). If you've read super-wonderful things about me, you might also come here and find out that I'm not nearly as clever as some make it sound. Sure I can be funny sometimes, but I'm pretty sure I'm not nearly as funny as I think I am. Yes, I do laugh at my own jokes, I am very easily entertained. You might also find when you come here that I'm boring, or that I'm in a different doctrinal place than you are, or that some of the people I link to in the blogroll are people you link to as well and wonder how come you've never been here before! Don't you love it when you find a new blog where you feel right at home?

So, while blogging is strange sometimes, and you might feel a bit of pressure to write about certain things, or even change your blogging style (which is not always a bad thing, really), I think it's more important to just keep being who you are, and writing whatever's on your heart, no matter who is reading. Sometimes that will bless someone (and that's an honor) and other times you might flop the batch of brownies.

And that's okay too.