the importance of “this”

IMG_0112edOne hour and eleven minutes. That’s how much time I have to get this post written before midnight. That’s how much time separates me from posting once every three days and once every four.

What’s the big deal? some people might say. Blogging just seems like a lot of work.

Well, yes . . . Yes, it is . . . and yet it’s not. It is because there’s pressure to post regularly and to write well. As a writer, I hope to continue building my blog and that, someday, writing Shift will lead me to bigger and better things . . . It’s not, on the other hand, because writing is what I LOVE and interacting with readers makes all the effort I put into my blog worthwhile. (You, dear readers, mean everything to me.)

But, wait a minute — wait just one minute. A bunch of people you’ve never met mean everything to you? How is that possible? They’re not even your real friends!

To which I would reply, “Now you hold on a minute! My blogging friends are too my real friends! Some of them are closer to me than my real-life friends, most of whom don’t even read my blog!”

Well, hmph. I still don’t get it. You write and edit and worry and spend hours in front of your computer so you can be friends with people you’ve never even met. Wouldn’t you be better off to invest that time trying to make more real-life friends?

“I see where you’re coming from, but, no. The truth is, my blog is about ideas. Here, I can write anything I want, and those ideas attract readers who are interested in similar things. We can engage and discuss and disagree and harrumph — and skip all of the introductory phrases required when meeting someone in person. Here, we already have a common interest. Here, we can dig right in and be free to be who we are.”

But what about your real-life friends, then? Do you even have any? How can you if you spend all of your time blogging?

“You don’t. You don’t spend all of your time blogging. You find a balance. Life is all about balance . . . There’d be nothing to write about if all I ever did was sit in front of my computer!”

But then how do you make sure you post consistently? It’s not like you’re getting paid for all the time you’re putting in. What if you get a new job? What if you do make new real-life friends?

“Well that, my friend, is a good question, and one I am currently trying to address. You see . . . For a long time my blog was all I had. It was my connection to the ‘outside world’ — a world who seemed to feel my yearnings and understand my questions. It was a beautiful world — one I related to better than my ‘real’ world, in many ways — and, yet, it was incomplete. I’d made wonderful friends in faraway places, but at the end of the day, it was still just me. I was all alone with my thoughts . . .

And so it was that I went on a trip and discovered yet another world. In this world, I saw old friends and made new ones. I challenged what had been a somewhat static equilibrium and, because of this, found the need to create a new one . . . It is because of this that, now, I am shifting . . .

No matter what, though, I promise you: There will always be room in my life for my blog and my faraway friends. I will always have time for . . . this.

.

How do you explain to your non-blogging friends what your blog means to you? Is it important to you?

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84 thoughts on “the importance of “this”

  1. prewitt1970 says:

    Such a good point, balance is key… Well if you have RL friends. I have two.. Both who are as or more broken than I am so… This here to me is my connection to your world. I write I paint I travel. Ppl do ask about why I blog or what I write about. I simply hand them my card and assume they can read ;) then send them on there merry way. Happy blogging, writing and finding balance Jessica.
    Namaste
    Benjamin

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Benjamin. I’ve been meaning to create a card with my blog info on it. That’s a good idea. And broken isn’t bad! We’re all broken in one way or another. At least I know I am.
      Best, Jess

  2. john zande says:

    You do write well, very well, and i for one am pleased you share it.

  3. Yeah, I think that people that don’t blog can’t really understand it and I don’t even try to get them to. Even if they like my poems in real life, blogging just seems like a lot of effort for something that isn’t “real.” But, that’s ok because I love it anyways. The kinds of friends that we have online – all ages, sexes, races and religions – is nothing like the people that we would normally hang out with in real life, where people’s mere appearance becomes grounds for instant compartmentalization into the not friends category. It is a special meeting of the minds that you get over the internet that you won’t find anywhere else. It is not a replacement for flesh and blood friends but it is something uniquely special in and of itself…

    • Jessica says:

      I agree with that wholly, Sreejit. Can’t argue against any of it. And yet, for me, many of the things that matter to me most — things I mull over and ponder and question — come out on my blog. In conversations in “real life,” I often find myself referencing my blog. “Yeah, I actually wrote about that in ____ a few weeks ago…” I feel bad because it’s not like I’m upset that so-and-so hasn’t read my post already, and yet, if they *had*…

  4. I don’t try to explain my interest in blogging to non-bloggers. If you don’t like to write you won’t get it, I think. It can be a form of therapy or sanctuary in this crazy world. Nice post my friend!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Andy! The trouble for me is that my blog really has become a big part of my life, and it’s hard not to reference it when talking to my non-blogging friends, especially those closest to me. And when meeting new people (including guys)? I often feel tempted to say, “Hi, I’m Jessica. If you *really* want to get to know me, read this!”

  5. What a great question. Some of my real life friends have read bits and pieces of what I write, but I put no pressure on them to read more then they feel they want to. My blog and writing mean that I have a lot of practice at expressing myself and being creative. That for me is the best part, thinking something and then expressing it. It has helped me in so many ways with dealing with “real life” people. It never ceases to amaze me, how much kindness and support there is in the world. The online community is much nicer than the real world. :-)
    Great thought today. Write when you want and remember it is supposed to be fun!!

    • Jessica says:

      I like that thought, Jonathan. I’d agree that my blog has been great practice for my writing, and, yes, also for my people skills! I fully agree that the blogging experience should be fun. Part of why it’s fun for me is that I love to write. The other part is the people and the ideas shared. I wouldn’t trade my blog for anything!

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

  6. I have maybe three real friends that read my blog. I prefer it that way because my blog readers are like a family that my family doesn’t know. Something like that. :)

    • Jessica says:

      I can see what you mean, Johnny… I’ve definitely found a little family here on WordPress that my family and “real” friends can’t really understand. That family definitely makes my real life richer and bigger than it would have been otherwise! But… Still. Some of the things that really make me me come out on my blog. I’d like to share that with *everyone* I know, or at least with the “real” people close to me!

  7. I’ve had a difficult time resolving the whole blog idea. I was convinced to start one because of a friend. She said it would be good for me. So I did. At first, it was just a place to throw ideas at but now it has become something so much more. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it is sort of like it becoming an addiction. Blogging is hard. Blogging is fun. I want to keep at it and meet more people like you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts this day!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Matt! I know exactly what you mean. I started my blog while abroad to share my thoughts and experiences with people back home, but it has definitely become so much more. I’m very glad to have met you through this blogging sphere!

  8. Simon says:

    A new equilibrium? oooh that sounds good! Your trip seems to have ignited a spark that was kindled prior to the journey. I trust this new flame will burn brightly and light the way for new adventures.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Simon! Yes, the spark has been there for quite some time. There’s just this period of flux between the old and new during which everything feels unsettled and, until a new rhythm is found, makes me uneasy. I don’t want to lose all of my great blogging friends like you!

  9. Vincent Mars says:

    “There’d be nothing to write about if all you ever did was sit in front of your computer!”

    It’s true in theory, but not in practice. Nevermind me.

  10. I just explained to my Mom what my blog (and blogging friends) is all about. Funny. You have echoed some of the exact same things I told her, one of which was “Journaling is extremely healthy Mom; it puts you in a more objective less subjective frame of mind, frame of reference; at least to me it does!” But that is simply the personal (selfish?) benefit of Journaling/Blogging — once you realize that much of your own journey is SHARED by others, you are SO FAR from being alone!” And there I find the “Connectivity” with other amazing brilliant people — struggling or succeeding — which from a scientific Quantum Mechanics level I so totally understand…like you point out Jess: is the discovery of the evolving balance!!! A wonderful sort of paradox isn’t it? :-D

    • Jessica says:

      It *is* a paradox, Professor! I guess this is something many bloggers relate to, which is what I would have expected; still, it’s nice sometimes to be able to get what we already know to be true out. Cheers! :)

  11. 1stpeaksteve says:

    Blogging is important to me. I was in a bad situation when I came across a blog and for once I looked at the blog itself as compared to the content. I decided that I could do this too!

    The great people who have responded have been the icing on the cake. Sometimes not every post will be a home run. But when you create one that people understand and respond to; it is a good feeling. There are many people out there that share the same experiences or share the same feelings about their life.

    It is good to know you are not alone!

  12. they don’t even read it if I don’t send them the site’s adress. so, the best thing to do is to make them think that someday i will earn some money from this kinda work. so that way, in thay of a building entrepreunership i can ‘really’ have some money from it. and other important things too, as well; yes…

    • Jessica says:

      I see what you mean… I really do hope to make money through my writing someday, so the entrepreneurship piece is a good one! There are some bloggers who’ve done really well with their writing, and it all started with their blog. Maybe someday that will be you and me, too!

      Thanks for sharing!

  13. Another great post Jess!

  14. tiramit says:

    I like the dialogue style, having a conversation with yourself. You’ve given me an idea for a post – this is what blogging is about, sharing with others. Thank you….

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so glad! It really just happened. I didn’t plan it at all. But the dialogue/interview style can definitely be effective… I agree that blogging is about sharing. I look forward to your post! :)

  15. dalo2013 says:

    This is a very open and accurate post…another shift for you in life. I like it :-)

    Blogging is a message that you want to get out, but it does not have to be structured to fit your friends/family/work ~ but can take on the flavor you feel & want without worry, as if you are lucky (which you are), there are people out there that get inspired. That is pretty cool.

    • Jessica says:

      I agree with everything you said, Randy. I guess that’s why I like blogging — it *can* shift along with me, and so far, all of my blogging friends have been willing to shift with me, too! Hope you’re having a great week!

  16. twdyen says:

    The amount of time taken to blog reflects the passion and the commitment you have for your dreams. I am doing it for software development and poetry writing. English poetry doesn’t have a representative format of its own. Sonnets are Italian and haikus are Japanese, both imported from foreign languages. It’s about time to create one for English. An initial attempt is included in my most recent post here (http://simplyjet.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-heart-of-poetry/). You can skip the first two paragraphs if you find them irrelevant.

    I am happy that you finished your half marathon and are now back to blogging. You owe us poetry, which is what this blog is about. Don’t be lazy. ;-)

    • Jessica says:

      Twyden, I believe you mean well, but shouldn’t *I* be the one to determine what this blog is about? I cannot create poetry as in a mill, and I don’t owe you—or any of my readers—anything. I put time into and am dedicated to my blog because I love it, but I started it not to write poetry but to share ideas. My poetry sort of came by the wayside, and if I try to force it, it will not turn out well, and that’s the truth.

      I hope you’re having a good week.

      • twdyen says:

        I was joking. I actually thought that you’d love poetry that much based what you had said about having the first 2 key verses, which decide whether a poem would make it or not. Maybe you’ll change your mind after reading my post. I checked the stats. You haven’t read my post yet up to now.

      • twdyen says:

        If you don’t want to read it or you feel that I am being bossy, then don’t oblige yourself. I don’t like anyone to be angry.

  17. just be yourself. =) when you are yourself, the breath of your life spills out, and onto your blog, and people get to have a small glimpse of who you are.. and that’s pretty special. =)

    for me, i don’t have many friends who read my blog, 1 or 2, here or there, but it’s not much, so i guess it’s not as important to me (explaining the reason behind ‘the blog’).

    i used to have a stronger community back on xanga; unfortunately haven’t found that on wordpress yet. i’d say you’re my first friend on WP whom i would consider a friend who i’d like to meet IRL! you’ve been a huge encouragement to me (in writing inspiration and overall encouragement) =)

    • Jessica says:

      Aww, Sophia, I’d love to meet you in person, too. And, yes. I *will* just be myself, and you be yourself, too. I am so inspired by the caring stories you post on your blog… Have I mentioned how much I love your blog’s name? I do… And I’m glad to know you are inspired by my stories, too. Hugs!

  18. I don’t explain. I don’t believe most of my real life friends know I have a blog. My music blood brother knows, though. I don’t have to explain anything to him, because he already knows. Guess I’m lucky that way.

    • Jessica says:

      I only feel the need to explain when I meet someone new… Someone who might turn out to be important to me… And you *are* lucky to have your music blood brother… Are you a musician? How did I not know?

  19. I can relate to all of this, soooo much!

  20. My recently found second job is truly teaching me balance… Everything rises and everything falls with or without it. Very well written and post Jessica.

  21. Mabel Kwong says:

    A very meaningful post, Jess. I like how you can strike a balance between blogging and going out there in the real world and doing real world things. It is very challenging a lot of the time, and I applaud you for this. You write very well, and this is one of the reasons I keep coming back to your blog.

    For me, I don’t try to ‘explain’ my blog or my blogging to anyone. It is a part of me and I just tell it like it is. My blog is very important to me – I can say anything I want without having people telling me to my face to stop talking. And of course talking to people like you :)

    • Jessica says:

      Aww, and a very meaningful comment, Mabel. I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding a balance lately, I’ll be honest. I used to easily spend an hour or two every other day (or so) trying to keep up with other bloggers’ posts. Lately, there just hasn’t been time for it. I guess I’m seeing that I’m just going to have to keep my closest blogging friends closer to me and worry less about the others.

      I try to explain my blog to people close to me because it is a huge part of my life. Even if I don’t mean to, I often end up referencing it when talking to others… But I can’t imagine anyone telling you to stop talking to your face! You have a wonderful mind and wit and thoughts. I’m so glad you blog!

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        Thanks for the nice words, Jess. Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a blogger.” Balance is always hard to find. I also find spending an hour or more blogging each day quite, well, lengthy. It’s hard when we have other things to do.

  22. I love this post, Jessica. For so many reasons, on so many levels. And the humor that runs through it, adds such the perfect touch. You have a beautiful community.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Kendall. That means a lot. I *do* have a beautiful blogging community — and that includes you! The humor was really an accident. I’m glad you liked it!!

  23. No better place for the word.

  24. You got me by the name of your blog. Strong!

  25. I agree:-) And the pleasure is all mine, its nice to meet you to Jessica.

  26. Mark Kertesz says:

    Hey Jess, I can really relate to this post. Most of my friends and family are aware of my blog but few follow or comment, it’s just to foreign to them. That’s too bad because it would be great to have them along for the journey. Most of the blogs I follow are photographic in nature, yours is one of the few I follow that is not defined by photography. I enjoy the departure and change along with the thought provoking ideas and style you have. Have a great day.

    • Jessica says:

      Aww, thanks so much, Mark. That means a lot. I *try* to create interesting, well-written content! And I vary it up. Not every post is the same… Also, I don’t post even close to every day. I know that they say that doing so is the way to really build your blog, but I just don’t have time, and I myself can’t keep up with bloggers who post every day, anyway! I love your photography. Definitely have a lot to learn from you! Cheers! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. :)

      • Mark Kertesz says:

        We all can put much too much pressure on ourselves to post more often. I would love to post more often but alas like you life is so hectic that I cannot post nearly as much as I want to + I’m way over critical of my stuff so that keeps me from doing more but at least I got one in today, after all it’s a rainy day in Toronto. Speak to you soon

  27. Sofia says:

    Oh ofcourse I can relate to this! :) Very few of my real life friends read my blog. On one hand, I also made the blog so that my real life friends wouldn’t have to look at my blog and read my ramblings and photos. On the other hand my blogging friends are real people with real feelings and thoughts, so I think now I don’t consider my blogging friends as “readers” or “bloggers” but as blogging friends. Just like in real life I have my piano friends for example :) Once in a dinner with some “real life” friends they were discussing how its a torture when a friend decides to show you their pictures of a holiday or whatever, and you have no interest in looking. See, so my real life friends don’t need to look at my blog because they might not be interested at all! Cheers.

    • Jessica says:

      I guess in the end we just have to write for ourselves and whoever reads and can relate will! We can’t ever make everyone happy, anyway… It’s really nice to know others can relate! Thank you so much, Sofia!!!

  28. You’re awesome, Jessica! “I see where you’re coming from, but, no.” <- I love that.
    I've never really explained blogging to anyone, but I'm aware of the confusing elements of it that others may not fully understand if they don't blog themselves.
    Perhaps, I'm kind of in the grey world of blogging, so even for myself I may not fully understand it. I suppose I like to enter and exit as I need to, balance for me means random breaks here and there.
    What I do know is I really dislike when other bloggers attempt to criticize your blog for not being like their blog. I find I come across this a lot with "couple bloggers" who can't seem to understand that although I'm married, I'm the only one who's blogging. Matt has no interest in it whatsoever; a fellow blogger actually said to him "you're not mentioned near enough"…What? I didn't know there was a quota on what I was supposed to mention on my blog. Just that kind of usual small minded/judgy crap that I dislike whether in the blogging world or elsewhere!
    Great post, gave me lots of food for thought! :)
    ~Andrea<3

    • Jessica says:

      Oooh, and your comment gave me food for thought, too! That is CRAZY that people would criticize you for not having a “couple’s blog.” Really? Blogging is a very personal thing (even when we try to make them impersonal) and who cares if Matt isn’t interested in blogging? What’s cool is that YOU are!!! So I totally get where you’re coming from… I’ve definitely had one person in particular telling me what I should and should not be posting on my blog, to the point of being really insulting. I’ve pretty much just brushed him off, but sometimes you really have to wonder about some people…

      And, yeah. As far as “outsiders” go? I’ve had friends I know in “real life” say to me, when I’ve told them how many followers I have and friends I’ve made through my blog, “Wait, so people you don’t even *know* read your blog???” Umm… YES!!!

  29. Sam Han says:

    Hahaha, Jessica, cyber or blogging friends can be as real or as fake as RL friends simply because we are real people too. It is not as if your audience is a computer. We share your joy and fear and wish you on birthdays and festive seasons whereby some RL friends do not have the time. We mingle quite frequently, some RL friends dont even keep in touch for months (and then turn into years). We help give it other moral support in some ways as we understand that sometimes, we speak more freely here than we could with Rl friends without the fear of being judged, without the fear of being a “disappointment”. You write beautifully and you should let your voice be heard and your work be shared (whether you get paid or not), your work should be seen and heard :D I blab too much! Happy belated Halloween. See, it’s late but the greetings still come through, lol…

    • Jessica says:

      So true, Sam!! You are so right. Bloggers are real people, too, and just like real friends can stick with you or let you go… Bloggers *do* tend to mingle often — at least in my experience — and it’s a nice little community, for sure! (I love it here, and I agree with your thoughts about moral support and the lack of judgment, which is so nice!) I recently met a cute boy, though, and his acquaintance is in part what inspired this post. I was having trouble explaining to him why my blog was important to me. After all, we writers don’t *look* any different than anyone else!

      But thank you so much for your kind words about my writing. That means so much!!! And Happy belated Halloween to you, too!

  30. Shoes Summerfield says:

    Great post, thank you for writing!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much, and thank you for reading! It’s wonderful to meet you. And sorry for my delayed response! My laptop is in the shop…

      Hope you’re having a great day!

      • Shoes Summerfield says:

        My pleasure to be a follower, and an avid reader of your blog! (no weird, “i’m your number one fan” stuff though…lol)

      • Jessica says:

        Phew! That’s good to know! Lol, I’m really not that popular. Just a girl sharing her thoughts. I’ll be sure to drop by your blog soon, too! I already did once on my iPhone — was impressed by what I saw! Now if I could just get my laptop back…

  31. JMC813 says:

    I couldn’t have explained this any better if I tried. Not even if I blogged about it. LOL.
    Well said and written.

    • Jessica says:

      Aww. Thank you! So glad my blogging friends can relate!

      • JMC813 says:

        I certainly can relate. I also just finished that “Bike Race” piece I mentioned in a comment on your most recent post. Sort of a life’s metaphor piece. Feel free to drop by and look around if you like. And if you do, Yes that is a pic of me doing a tremendous amount of suffering in the name of sport. Individual Time Trial style. Gawd racing HURTS!!! anyway….
        Keep inspiring

      • Jessica says:

        I checked it out. See my comment. Love it! Never done time trial stuff, but it looks awesome! You keep inspiring, too!

      • JMC813 says:

        Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Glad you liked it.

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