Blogger’s Guilt

It’s hard not to feel guilty.

Following the A-to-Z Blog Challenge I took during the month of April, my new goal for this blog was to publish a post two or three times each week.  But I’ve failed … miserably.

Truthfully, I think about writing on my blog every single day. In fact, it’s never that far from my mind.  Writing is a cathartic hobby for me, a pleasure which never feels much like work. Because of this, I am always eager to find a few moments in which to sit down and write.

It’s actually finding those few moments that is so very hard.

Image from Pixabay
Image from Pixabay

Ten days ago, three of my five children returned home from Germany. I’ve loved having a loud, chaotic house again.  Cooking for a tribe, tackling Mt. Laundry each morning, sorting out disputes, being the chauffeur to five people who apparently have busier schedules and more places to go than myself … it’s all part of the fun and games and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Two weeks ago, the baby I keep each weekday decided to begin to use her walking skills on a regular basis. Suddenly, everything has changed! “Miss E”  is able to quickly get into a lot of things she is not supposed to get into … and I’m remembering things about toddlerhood I had long forgotten. Whew! There really is no sitting down with a toddler in the house! These little people are work, and nap times are just as much for moms as they are for the sweet child.

Most days I am trying to figure out how to fit in time to read my Bible and exercise, much less have time for personal hobbies. My daily schedule isn’t filled with vast amounts of free time. Just like everyone else on the planet, I’ve only got 24 hours a day. The hours are limited, and I’ve got to use them wisely.

It’s during seasons like this I must remember there will be days when writing, even if it is writing for God, must take a backseat on my priority list.

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Last week, I came across this lovely blog post:  Seven Reasons Bloggers Don’t Blog.

I can relate to all seven reasons given by the author of that freeing blog post.  (1) I do not want to post fluffy content on my blog. (2) My biggest desire is to  write encouraging and helpful words for my audience.  (3) Writing is tiring, and time consuming.  (4) The 40% of me that is somewhat introverted needs time to quietly process life before I can write about it publicly.  (5) I’m writing a book …  but I’m only about halfway through the first two chapters. I am discovering it is a painfully slow process to write a book.  (6) Big and wonderful things are happening in life.  My family is preparing to become a foster family. I’m excited and scared and very busy with getting my home ready to take on another child. (7) Finally the biggest reason of all … blogging is not living.

I love my blog. I love to write. But my biggest responsibility is to be the godly wife and mom God has called me to be.

I realize that according to the experts, if I am to ever have a “real” career as a writer, I need to have a platform, build an audience of 5000 or more readers,  and post three or four times a week on my blog. But I’m not there. I admit that many days I wish I was because I think I’d love nothing more than a fantastic contract with some big name Christian publishing house and a couple of books on the shelves  down at the nearest Lifeway Book Store.

Yes, God called me to write … but He simply asked me to write for Him, not for a publishing house or for a set of standards that He didn’t give to me. So that’s what I am going to do … write for God.

And He also asked me to be a wife and helpmeet to my husband Jon.  God called me to be a mother to five wonderful teens and tweens, who are growing up so quickly. They won’t be home with me for very much longer before they leave to start their own lives. God asked me and my family to open our home and share His love and our lives with children I don’t yet know through fostering.  He asked me to be a good neighbor to the lady next door who is dying, and to be a listening friend in real life, not just on the computer screen.

I’ve got just one life to live. While writing and blogging is very much a part of my life, it’s not all that I do. And so today, I’m setting down the guilt I put upon myself for not blogging on some made-up schedule. I’m laying aside the burden I’ve carried around for the past two and a half months for not keeping up with an insane blogging schedule, as well as tending to the realities of my life.

Instead, I’m asking the Lord to help me be faithful to do all He requires of me for today, and nothing more. I pray a lot of those days include writing for God.  I think they will.

But whether they do or whether they don’t, I’m done with “Blogger’s Guilt.”

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  ~John 8:36

A to Z Blog Challenge … Reflections Upon Completion

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

 

I honestly didn’t think I could do it. The challenge seemed insurmountable. How would I ever manage blogging twenty-six times in one month when I hadn’t managed even twenty posts in the entire previous year?  I had a feeling that my one moment of impulsivity was going to drive me absolutely crazy.

And yet, it didn’t.

In fact, writing practically every day in April turned out to be rather enjoyable.

Going into this challenge, I had no idea what to expect. I imagined hours of sitting around, beating my head against the computer screen, while my five kids ran rampant around the house. I envisioned dishes stacked up, laundry piled up, and school projects left unfinished. I figured before it was done, I’d give up, unsuccessful and unfulfilled as a writer.

Thankfully, my ideas and concerns are not God’s. And what He had in mind for me during April was something I never would have imagined. Through daily writing, I learned more about God, His truths, myself and the process of writing.

So what are my A-to-Z take-aways? There are many, but here are the 3 most important ones, along with a new writing/blogging goal I derived from each.

1. If God called me to write, then I definitely need to write … daily.  As a mother to five children, all of whom are homeschooled, I have a busy life. It’s not an excuse for me to neglect to do what God has asked me to do. Generally, I feel like I don’t have what it takes to take care of my family and write, but in April God reminded me that if He has asked me to do something for His purpose and glory, then He will provide everything I need to get the job done. This does not mean I will post daily to m blog.

As a result, my new goal is to write half an hour each day, and post to my blog 3 times a week.

2. Good writers employ many writing aids, including prompts. In the past, I’ve been hesitant to write to a prompt, simply because I felt as if it couldn’t be a spirit-led sort of writing. I would wait until an idea hit me and then I would write, but considering that I wasn’t practicing daily writing combined with a hectic life, writing ideas happened infrequently. The result was sporadic blogging and random writing. It wasn’t so much because God was speaking to me, but rather because I wasn’t attuned to listening or taking advantage of opportunities to write with the help of prompts. What I discovered about a prompt (even one so general as a letter) is my thoughts were pointed in a direction, enabling me to find inspiration I wasn’t otherwise aware of and a place to start.

In addition to writing daily, I am going to utilize prompts for days when I do not have another writing idea.

3. Writing is communal. Typically, I think of writing as a solitary activity. It’s not. Writers, like all humans, need community. Writing is done best when I am connected to other writers. Perhaps the biggest blessing of the A to Z Challenge was discovering new blogs and connecting with other writers, especially those who blog about their faith. Connecting with other writers is beneficial to help me apply writing skills to my own writing as well as gives me to opportunity to encourage other writers.

It makes me happy to introduce to you a few of my favorite new blogs I found as a result of the A to Z Challenge:

1. The Artistic Christian

2. True Beloved Blog

3. Praise, Prayers and Observations

4. Everyday Moments of Worship

5. Whims and Wanderings

I hope you’ll take the time to check out these blogs.  Leave a nice comment, too! They are great writers … and they have been a blessing to me, so I hope you will join me in encouraging them as well.

In order to hone the craft of writing, I am committed to being actively involved in encouraging writing communities, both online and face-to-face, as well as participating in writing challenges or classes.

April might be over, but I think the A to Z Challenge will stick with me for a long time yet to come. I’m already planning to participate in next year’s challenge. Meanwhile, I’m going to put into practice some of the lessons I’ve learned and see where God takes me on the writing journey to which He called me.