Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lessons Learned (2): Blogging Helps


Here's a bit of a confession: I've never really seen myself as a blogger. Not really.

When I first started Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity (AVS) I saw this whole endeavor as a way to organize my thoughts and challenge myself to embrace a path that was, ultimately, inevitable. The process was solitary by design. The back and forth interaction between author and commenter and that strange, yet infectious camaraderie that thrives between fellow bloggers were always secondary to the main event: learning to live a more simple, purpose-driven life.

A year later I can't help but see things a little differently. In all the ways that matter, the collective experience of literally hundreds of people has actually guided some of the most important decisions highlighted on this blog. More importantly, I have been genuinely inspired by other bloggers, some of whom I have met personally and now call friends.

And isn't that the whole point? I've always been uncomfortable seeing myself as a blogger precisely because the term has always felt sterile and antiseptic to me. I scoff at others who seem to live their lives through online interactions, always looking to increase their blog hit count, press for more and more comments and otherwise derive a great deal of their self-worth from their life online. I have come to value blogging because I've been able to transform my online interactions into real-world relationships and because I have been flexible enough to be challenged by others who might actually know more about life than I think I do.

THE ANTI-BLOG
If this blog has been successful it is because it operates as the “anti-blog.” I don't really give a shit how many hits I get. I don't really care how many people comment on it. I continue to avoid the press and have no desire to market the blog beyond the four corners of Blogger. And through it all, I have followed two cardinal rules: (1) blog ONLY when there is something meaningful to say (hence my 7-8 posts per month), and (2) be brutally honest.

But, as much as I might see this as the “anti-blog,” it is the interaction with my readers that has often made all the difference.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is how I see it--Many people blog because they are self absorbed. Your blog is not that way at all. Your blog allows other to share in your journey, as you worked through all the thoughts, conflicts,etc.

It's a totally different feel.

Todd

Debbi said...

If anything, your blog shows how much potential we have to connect with other people we might otherwise never know about through online means.

Some people use blogs to write garbage, some don't. Many actually use them to provide interesting information. The same could be said of Twitter. Some tweets are better than others.

Rather than seeing yours as an "anti-blog," I tend to see it as an exemplary blog--one that serves a particular purpose and does it well. And in doing so (whether or not this was intended), you've created a memoir of sorts. One that many people have enjoyed reading--and continue to enjoy, as you keep us apprised of your journey (both geographic and spiritual).

And if you're learning lessons from commenters, I think I'm safe in saying the feeling is mutual.

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

I like blogging...

I don't give a rat's hooey if I get a lot of comments, little or none at all.

I don't care if people think I'm self absorbed or not either...

It's all masturbatory... every blog I've read and even my own :)

I love meeting new people and making connections... what better way then a blog? And I've met a few of my "readers" as well... can't say any of it was a bad experience, only good :)

Anonymous said...

Dana,

GREAT POST!!

Your attitude is fantastic...and yes, I've read your blog.

:-)

Todd

Kenneth said...

You've gone 'Road Blog'. Perhaps it's a new genre.

Keep up the great work,

Kenneth

Anonymous said...

Jack - your blog has changed lives, whether intentional on your part or not.

You are on a deeply personal journey, but honest enough to share your successes, failures, personal goals and inner demons (maybe too harsh a word), and you should be proud of how you've touched everyday people from all walks of life.

I check every day to see how you're doing and look forward to reading more about your journey.

- Buck16

Anonymous said...

Something I love about your blog is your honesty about yourself. I have struggled with this; what to share, how much to share. I want to present myself as I am, warts and all, and sometimes that's scary. Even though for the most part people who read my blog don't "know" me outside of the virtual world, some do, and I worry what they will think of something I write. At the same time, I think if more people were honest about who they are, we would all benefit.

I definitely don't approach blogging as some sort of popularity contest--I tend to get nervous if I start getting lots of comments--probably the opposite of most bloggers. But at the same time, it is encouraging to see that others "get" what you're saying, or that others appreciate your particular way of looking at the world. And it's humbling to think that total strangers give a rat's ass about your journey.

All this to say I think you are taking the exact right approach with your blog and I'm glad you blog, whether you see yourself as a blogger or not ;-)

amy

Jack said...

@Todd,

Makes me happy to hear you say that.

@Debbi,

Memoir is a good word. It is probably more of an interactive journal than anything else.

@Mile,

I somehow knew that about you. Here's thinking good thoughts on your upcoming wedding.

Jack said...

@Todd,

I agree. She has a great blog.

@Keneth,

A bit I would say, though it is temporary and I'm always striving to keep it topical, outside of the bike trip.

@Buck16,

Thank you for your kind words. Nevert be a stranger.

Jack said...

@Amy,

Maybe that's the best attitude: to be wary when you are getting alot of comments in the first place.