Since we are on the subject of blogging, I thought it time to write the post I’ve wanted to write since the blog’s beginning.
In this post, I want to ask one thing of you.
Please. Don’t call me a blogger.
This is denial at its worst. If one publishes posts on an online platform called a blog, it’s only a matter of time before readers and the English language label that person a blogger. I am silly and naive to insist otherwise.
But I have no desire to be a blogger.
In my circle of friends, the offline friends I have because we share childhood history or church connections, I’m one of the few with a blog. This makes me uncomfortable. I do not like appearing technologically edgy and progressive. I have never, ever established a fad in my life, and I don’t wish to start now.
I’ve also made a habit of avoiding fads. About twenty years ago, a new fabric manufacturer called Tropical Breeze swept into the Mennonite world with a dizzying array of new choices. From my young perspective, it seemed like Mennonite women collectively pounced, and before long, my friends waltzed into school in lovely Tropical Breeze dresses, many of them wearing the same print in one of the various colors offered.
I sniffed and declared I would not wear a Tropical Breeze dress, because everybody wore them. If there ever was a case of reverse snobbery, I had it. It took over a decade before I willingly bought Tropical Breeze material, and then only because it was cheaper and easier to care for than other fabrics—and I was a busy mother on a budget.
What Tropical Breeze is among Mennonites, blogging is on the world wide web. In February 2014, there were 75.8 million WordPress blogs, and that was only for WordPress. The world doesn’t need another blog, and when I signed up with WordPress in May 2014, I became (approximately) blog # 75,800,001. Exhilarating to someone who would rather be different than fit in.
It took me four months to publish my first post. And during those four months, I told only one person what I was up to.
I found the whole situation mortifying. I still do.
Why then do I blog?
The Mennonite world has limited publishing options. While I do submit pieces to several magazines and periodicals, I write much more than I can sell. Some of what I write does not comfortably fit the criteria of those publications. I write to communicate, not to stick it in a drawer. Blogging allows me to share the words I cobble together.
Blogging also creates mini deadlines. I process life through writing; without it, I’m not sure I could cope. But writing does not quite have the urgency of eating or sleeping or do-I-have-clean-underwear, and sometimes I would procrastinate writing certain pieces because I had nowhere to publish them. What was the point of committing time to something I would put in a virtual drawer? But now, I have a place to publish and a few readers, so those pieces get written.
Because of the mini deadlines, I write consistently. A writer improves only when she writes. This accomplishes another goal of mine.
Blogging is connecting me with readers. Without readers, online or offline, I do not exist as a published writer, online or offline.
Not that this blog is solely for self-expression. When I sit down to write, I aim to serve you, the reader. C. S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.” I want to share stories here that offer hope and healing, even if it means showing you my wounds. I write for someone like me who struggles to find God in the hard stuff (except when I’m producing navel-gazing expositions on why you shouldn’t call me a blogger even though I am). In His Word, God used story to reveal His greatness and power; I hope I am able to do the same with my much less inspired words.
If I did not believe my writing here is doing some good, I would quit today. If my writing does any good at all, it is because Christ has first done a good work in me. Without Him, I am nothing. With Him, I am still nothing; His life in me is the only good I can claim.
If I could find another way to accomplish what this blog does—sustaining a regular writing habit, building reader-writer relationships, serving with honest story—I would choose that over blogging. In the future, I hope to write more than blog posts, but for now, blogging works.
So please, don’t call me a blogger.
Call me a writer who publishes on a blog.
It may be denial, it may be splitting hairs, it may be ridiculous to care, but it matters to me.