walls are for head-banging

elephant

Some days I feel like this — especially when I’m writing poetry!

When I created my blog, it was to share ideas. To share ideas and experiences, and to engage with others — yes, that includes you. I detested blog posts that were simply daily journals or gripes or complaints or even inspirational photos or quotes. To me, those things seemed empty: Unless I know you personally or have established a relationship with you, I don’t want a recap of your day, I want a point. I want something that makes me think, or smile, or that catches my attention in a meaningful way.

The trouble with that line of thinking, though, is that it’s the same kind of thinking that makes me cry when I hear songs like “Message In a Bottle,” which I talked about here. It’s me being “Little Miss Intense,” the one who can’t stand “fluff” and could turn even the silliest situation into an internal philosophical debate. “To bake the cookies, or not to bake the cookies — that is the question.”

. . . Kidding!

But seriously! The trouble with me is that I’m suddenly finding myself incapable of meeting my own expectations. I want to build Shift. I want it to be big, good, great! I want to write every day all the time. I want to share with you the thousands of thoughts (I’m not exaggerating) that run through my mind every day. But at the end of the day, Shift is just Shift, my beautiful blog that doesn’t pay squat . . . It can’t always be my priority, and (banging my head against the wall) sometimes by the time I get to it, my well has already run dry . . . But how do the good bloggers do it?

And so that’s my question today, my question for you: What role does your blog play in your life? How do you do it? And also, what attracts you to a blog? What makes you read?

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Note: The good news is that my computer is back and good as new. Hurray!
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57 thoughts on “walls are for head-banging

  1. Dan McGaffin says:

    I write just about every day. I sincerely believe that words and thoughts are for sharing. To me, pages of poetry and short prose are useless if they just sit in notebooks or computer files never to be seen by anyone else. You never know when something you write will have an affect on someone else. For example, I posted “And to my friend I went, offering everything of myself and expecting nothing in return.” back in 2011. It actually inspired one of my friends with how she was dealing with one of her relationships. A fifteen word random thought that popped into my head which I shared meant something to someone. So that is how I approach my blog. I make time to write because it is my passion. I make sure to share a lot of what I write because it cold be worth reading to someone else.

    What makes me read blogs. For the most part, short and sweet grabs me. I am a very to the point person (unless I’m emailing someone or making a comment on your blog, then I’m a rambler). Most of what I read online is poetry, so a couple of stanzas is fine. I’m not interested in huge poems most of the time. If it’s long, it better be damn good.

    Blogs like yours I like because you have something to say. You have a point to make or a thought you want opinions on. You write well. The quality of your writing keeps me coming back. If someone with less ability tried to do the same thing I would probably pass.

    Now I’m going to put on my big brother hat and share some thoughts with you. You need to decide for yourself how important your blog is to you. I’ve been following you for a while now and writing seems very important to you. Obviously you have high expectations of where you want your blog to go and what you want it to be. It seems to me the answer is to set aside some time for yourself every day to write or post what you have written. If writing and blogging are as important to you as I think, you should make it a priority. Maybe not at the top of the list, but in the top five things of what you want to accomplish in your day.

    Another thought. Carry a notebook with you so you can jot down thoughts or ideas. That way when you do sit down to write, you won’t have forgotten as many of the things that pop into your head. I can’t tell you how many times at work or in the car I have stopped to write part of a poem or just a line that came to me. Hell, “A Hobbits Life For Me” was written completely at work.

    Good luck on figuring this all out Jessica.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Dan. Your thoughts are good and your comment means a lot.

      I’m with you that something long better be really good if I’m going to read it. Most of my posts are 600 words or less — on purpose. I don’t think you need a lot of words to make a point. In fact, you’ll likely be far more effective if you keep things short. I wish more bloggers understood this.

      I also agree that poems and other writings aren’t meant to be kept hidden away out of view, and that our writing can affect others in ways we might not expect. I wrote a very personal poem a while back, “Carry On,” and couldn’t bear not to share it for that reason. I have resonated with many of your poems and am grateful for them.

      Truth is, I write every day, if not on paper or computer (although usually I do), then in my head. The notebook idea is a very good one; I think I will try to incorporate that into my life more often… I guess you could say that my life has recently gone through quite a bit of shifting that has made me reevaluate my blog’s importance to me. I can easily spend hours writing a single post, and there just isn’t time for that — and for keeping up with one hundred other people’s blogs — in “real life”… So here I am.

      I think you are right that my blog needs to be one of my priorities every day. And it is. It will take me some time to find the new balance, but I will find it. I and Shift aren’t going anywhere.

      Thank you so much for your loyal readership and support. It means the world!!!

  2. expatlingo says:

    My blog keeps me sane and gives me a space to think, write and laugh. But, I did decide to cut back to once/week post in order to spend more time: (1) studying Chinese; and (2) writing for other purposes.

    • Jessica says:

      Yeah, I think that that’s what I need to do, too. Two or three times per week would be ideal, but even that takes a lot of time. I spend A LOT of time crafting my longer posts… My hat is off to you for your dedication to learning Chinese. I really wish that I knew more!

  3. Myles says:

    Your well never runs dry, but sometimes you’re simply too tired to draw from it. One of my writing professors once told me, “Just write, even if you think it’s bad, write.”
    I disagreed with him then and I disagree with him now. If I’m going to write, I want it to be meaningful. But what I’ve come to realize is that what might not be meaningful to me, is meaningful to others. Still, I have to get something from it, one spark, one nugget, one tiny thought or feeling I can relate to. If I find that one thing, then I can write it.
    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or just me.
    Look for your nugget.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Myles. I think I agree with you more than with your professor, as well. My writing is so much better when my thinking is clear, before the end of the day when all of my emotional energy is “done.” Writing takes it out of me, it really does. I also agree that what each of us finds meaningful is going to be different, and that it is the spark or nugget that you speak of that makes writing great. Last night, I could have written about a million different things that might have had greater meaning than banging my head against the wall about my blog. But had I tried to write any of them, they wouldn’t have turned out well. I said what I needed to say, and it at least sparked a few thoughts with my blogger friends. What more could I hope for?

      Thank you again.

  4. charlypriest says:

    I´d like to write more but that ain´t happening when 2 or 3 days out of the week you don´t have a computer or paper and pen, can you believe that? Unfortunately true.

    What attracts me to a blog is simple, I follow people that write about crazy funny things that don´t make you think but laugh. I follow people that write about more serious things that make you think. I follow people that write poetry, because I like reading it sounds good and I don´t have a clue how to write poetry and most of the time don´t have a clue about what the hell they are writing. But I always take something from them that can be useful to me, just writing a comment will make me really think about what I just read, and thinking is good, got to grease my little brain.
    Why do I write my blog, because I have fun with it. That simple, something I enjoy doing. I sit down and write whatever comes to mind, I don´t come prepared with an outline nor do real editing, I just write, if feels good and is fun. It sometimes make people laugh, other times makes people think, and that´s that.

    • Jessica says:

      Our lives need variety, Charly… I agree! The blogs you choose to read and the things you write obviously reflect that need, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! I definitely get the need to laugh. I am too serious too much of the time and have always been attracted to “the funny guy” for that reason! But yeah, thinking is good, too. I honestly wish more people would think a little bit deeper below the surface more often. I think it would do our world a lot of good.

      Hope you’re having an awesome Friday!

      • charlypriest says:

        There is a saying that goes, rationality will not save us.Robert MacNamara said really, `Fog of war´ documentary I recommend it. Meaning for example J.F Kennedy was a rational individual, Castro was rational,Kruschev was rational (all deep thinkers) and the U.S came that close to getting into a nuclear war and really changing the world during the Cuban missile crisis.
        I´m a funny guy we should meet…(wink wink, I´m winking at you but you can´t see me.)
        It´s Saturday 7 a.m Spain time and I´m up and running working,so my Friday was pretty lame, hope you had fun.
        Stay Frosty.

  5. matt says:

    I have a folder on my Skydrive which contains most of my drafts. I think I recently posted my 67th blog post, but there’re at least that many drafts on things I thought I wanted to blog about. And as I got those thoughts written down, I realized they might just be whining or uninteresting for others to read. So they sit there… thought exorcised, but not good enough to share.
    If getting paid to write on your blog is your ultimate goal, I don’t have any real advice. Otherwise, I simply say what others think be damned — Shift isn’t their blog. It’s not about what I want you to write about; it’s about how you choose to interact with us, your readers.
    Whatever it was that drew us to your blog in the first place, we’re all still here because we’re interested in hearing what you have to say.

    • Jessica says:

      Yeah… I get the drafts thing. I’ve definitely had a lot of ideas during the time I’ve had Shift that haven’t ever seen the light of day because I wasn’t sure how to spin them. I do agree that just getting stuff on paper can be helpful for us personally, though.

      And, nah. I’m not saying I’m looking to get paid for Shift. It’s mostly that, if I could, I would easily turn Shift into a full-time deal to make it the way I want it, but that’s just not feasible right now. So instead I’m looking for a new balance between it and my “real life.” I can easily spend HOURS working on a single post, or responding to comments, or trying to keep up with friends’ posts, and there just isn’t always time for that!

      I do agree that the interaction on Shift is what makes it unique from some other blogs I’ve seen. I love the discussion generated here, and it’s been awesome to get to know some of my blogging friends over this past year. Thank you so much for continuing to tag along… Hope you have an awesome weekend, Matt! Also, I’ve been meaning to say this on your blog, congratulations on getting married!!!

  6. 1stpeaksteve says:

    I like a wide assortment of blogs. I like the ones who have stories, make points, and some that offer tips on things I like. I draw the line at the “I will make you a million dollars from your simple blog” sites. I guess I like to see something real from the creator.

    I just blog when the whim hits me. Sometimes I dot over the structure. Can I make it more interesting? Even after I hit “post” I get some epiphany on an angle that could have improved it. I guess that is the joy of blogging!

    • Jessica says:

      Like I said in a comment above, yes, our lives need variety. Different bloggers excel at different things and have awesome blogs for totally different purposes. I too like a variety of posts, I guess I just like them to be short and sweet and to the point!

      Blogging when the whim hits you is probably the best way to go. That’s what this post was — a whim. If ever I try to force a post, it always comes out that way — forced. The best writing comes from passion and personal experience, of that I have no doubt.

      And I often think of ways I could have improved my posts, too, after the fact. Oh well. You’re right — that is one of the “joys” of blogging!

      Hope you have a great weekend, Steve. Glad you made it back safely from your trip!

  7. So here’s the truth about the Toad’s writing habits: I sit in front of a computer all day at work, doing the same thing over and over again, ad infinitum. The blog is my escape valve, something to turn to for a break in the middle of busywork, open and waiting for an idea to strike. On rare occasions, I’ll write something on a weekend or a day off, but mostly it’s a peaceful harbor in the midst of workaday madness.

    As for attraction to new blogs, again, lots of free time, peaceful harbor, welcome break. That, and I’ll try anything once. I keep coming back because I’m captivated, by a worldview, a way of thinking, a spark of genius, an eye for beauty–anything that screams “I have something to say.” Which, all flattery aside, is why I keep reading your stuff–you most definitely have some things to say, and you do it well.

    I have to work hard to keep myself from writing something all the time, every day. The problem with blogs like that is that, too often, they don’t really SAY anything. So cut yourself some slack, Jess. You’re doing an excellent job, and I have yet to read anything on this blog that doesn’t make me think, or that doesn’t add something of value to the human conversation. (This is not heaping praise; it’s just the truth.) And the fact that you don’t write all the time just makes it more exciting to see a new post when you do. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that…

    It’s not quantity of production that matters; it’s quality. And you have that in spades. :o)

    • Jessica says:

      I blush. Thank you, Vance. I don’t think I could write the posts I do (or that you do) during the middle of a busy work day. At least not my longer or more meaningful posts. A post like *this* I could pull off in my sleep.

      Cut myself some slack. Hmm. I do agree that it’s not a bad thing to have a few days go between posts. I honestly can’t even keep up with bloggers who post every day. I guess I have been frustrated lately because there are SO many things I’ve wanted to write about but just haven’t had time. I don’t want to post about things and not do them justice.

      I also agree that the best writing is not writing that rambles on and on but rather makes its point quickly and clearly. My favorite writing book ever, “On Writing Well,” by William Zinsser, says that, in a sentence, every word needs to be doing new work. If it’s not, it doesn’t deserve the reader’s time. I really like that. I think about it all the time in my writing.

      Anyway, thanks again for your kindness — and for just being you. Hope you’re having a lovely Friday!

  8. john zande says:

    It helps hone an idea. A simple word doc becomes transformed when published and that enables me to see the work in a completely different light. I don’t know how this works, but it does, and i like it.

    • Jessica says:

      I totally get that, John. I don’t write my posts on word documents very often, but I *do* write them in my head. Putting them “on paper” makes them come to life in a whole new way, and in an interactive way on my blog. I like that, too.
      Happy Weekend!!

  9. Frank says:

    I first intended my blog to get me out of a writing slump that I was in after recovering from depression. That part has worked for me and I have started back on my novel and short stories. One thing that happened that I was not expecting was the enjoyment I received just from reading and commenting on other blogs. It is more of a community of people that you can share ideas, thoughts, even your daily routine. For me it has become a stepping stone to my recovery from whatever is ailing me.

    In your post you said, “But seriously! The trouble with me is that I’m suddenly finding myself incapable of meeting my own expectations.” I find that if I am incapable of meeting some kind of goal or expectation, I keep on tweeking it, changing it until it does meet my goal or expectation. Be careful not to go too far though you just might lose sight of your ultimate goal.

    It sounds like another “Shift” is in order for you and your blog.
    Take care Jessica.
    Peace and love be with you!!!

    • Jessica says:

      I read your story on your blog, Frank, and was very impressed. I too have been very surprised by the community I’ve found on WordPress. It’s an awesome place and hard to explain to my non-blogging friends. That’s something I talked about in “The Importance of This.”

      I agree with what you say about tweaking your goal or expectations until it’s something you feel in line with again. That is definitely something I’m working on now. No, I’ll never lose sight of my intentions for Shift — it’s a thought launching pad, really — but I do need to find a balance for it in my life. During this past year when I really started building the blog, it was all I had. Recently I started dating someone and my “real life” has taken a few unexpected turns. Now I need a new equilibrium, and that’s not a bad thing.

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Frank. Peace and love to you, too. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

  10. James says:

    If you are truly writing for the sake of the reader, then you should let the reader be the judge of your writing. There’s nothing wrong with putting your best effort into something, but there is something wrong with letting a silly perfectionist streak prevent you from doing anything. (P.S. I just became the greatest hypocrite on the face of the planet by posting this comment!)

    • Jessica says:

      Haha, dear James. I *thought* that it was you when your comment notification showed up on my phone!

      Yes, not writing at all because it might not be “perfect” is not okay. I’ve learned that, and learned that even imperfect writing can make an impact. I’m writing for both the reader *and* me, though, because it is only when it is for me that my writing can have any impact on the reader at all. The best writing comes from the heart.

      Cheers, dear friend. I hope you are having a lovely Friday.

  11. I must say Jess that I have been very impressed with the number of posts you have pumped out on a weekly basis…and always thought provoking stuff! Big respect to you and all the writers who keep up that momentum. My brain is completely fried for at least a week after just one post! Although, the photos and finding the story do take a fair amount of effort and time! I have decided to do what I can manage and that is a post every couple weeks. Also I think the regularity of posting depends very much on the inspiration we are feeling.

    With Mozambique plunging back into unrest, I’m hesitant to full up my blog with the thoughts and feelings I am currently experiencing now. Not to say I wont be blogging about it, but I’ll limit the number of posts opposed to flogging my readers with scary African ordeals!

    What do I look for in a blog – blogs with depth whether it be through writing or photography.
    Blogs that make me question, sob, laugh or gasp with surprise – blogs with punch, balls and oomph! Blogs that stimulate :-) And your blog, Jess, does just that:-) No pressure though. If life is too busy now to be pumping out blogs every day, just do it when you can!

    • Jessica says:

      I understand your hesitation to share your thoughts on the unrest in Mozambique, Lianne. That is smart, I am sure. I always look forward to your posts, whenever you get them out, and I understand feeling fried after creating one. Something non-writers don’t seem to understand is just how much writing takes out of you!

      I think you and I look for the same thing in blogs. I love your blog and am flattered you enjoy mine. :) Thanks for the encouragement… Also, I’m so sorry to hear about Jody!!

  12. dalo2013 says:

    I am attracted to reading something I can relate to, but cannot obtain. New experiences and perspectives. Through the blogosphere I can stumble onto some amazing stuff. Creativity from others can inspire me… reading great material is uplifting. Whether that inspiration means I’ll have another cup of coffee or gets me thinking about a new photo project or work project, is irrelevant. It just gets my juices flowing.

    While I’d love to blog more, I can’t…just not who I am. The blogs I enjoy seem to post a couple times a week, which is enjoyable as they are usually quality posts. Day-to-day dribble loses me which is too bad, as the writing is often quality writing. I enjoy quality…and amazed at how much is out there. You definitely are quality.

    • Jessica says:

      I understand what you mean: being attracted to something I can relate to but not obtain. And yet… The posts I read (like yours) just get my juices flowing and tell me never to settle! Never to give up my dreams! (So, thank you.)

      Day-to-day dribble loses me, too. I don’t care if it’s really great writing. You post the perfect amount. I guess we all have to find what works for us.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend!! :)

  13. Stephen Cyphers says:

    Jess, just keep writing, whatever, whenever, and however you see fit. No matter if it is daily or weekly or monthly, as what you write is always above and beyond worthwhile. The greatest writers have never published every day or every week.

    • Jessica says:

      I don’t know about that, Dad. G.K. Chesterton wrote VOLUMES!!! Every single day almost of his entire life. But, thank you. You know I’ll never stop writing.

  14. Pat . says:

    I need an Executive Summary for all those comments and replies… :-)

  15. Mabel Kwong says:

    Seems like we are in the same place. I would LOVE to put up more posts on my blog and read and comment on others’ blogs. I have dreams of building a bigger blog…if you know what I mean ;) But at the end of a work day, tiredness eclipses my body and it’s hard to concentrate on writing or even worse, creative juices just aren’t spinning in my head. Maybe someday I will live my dream. Maybe, maybe not.

    I don’t believe that for someone to be a good writer, they should write every single day (I’m sure some do though. I respect that.). What draws me to reading a blog is not the amount of posts per week, but the honesty that shines through the words. Quality over quantity. Reading your posts, I feel you are telling your stories with your own voice and aren’t afraid to express what you believe in. I think that’s what draws people to your blog :)

    • Jessica says:

      I think you’re right, Mabel. You and I are actually quite similar in some ways! While I don’t think writing every day is a requirement to be a good writer, I do think writing often helps improve our skill. Also, even if I don’t post every day, I write every day through emails and even responding to comments like I am now. That counts!

      I must say that, since I’ve started following your blog back when you were freshly pressed, I’ve really seen you grow as a writer. Your personality comes out through your writing now. I love it! And yes we are alike, too, in the amount of posts we put out. I agree that quality takes precedence over quality — every time.

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        Definitely – consistent writing helps us writers improve our skills. And just as much as we produce, we need to consume in moderation as well, that is read and read widely. I am a firm believer in reading and learning and getting inspired from others.

        Thanks for the nice words, Jess. Freshly pressed…that was so long ago and you still remembered :O I still think I am writing woodenly to some extent but am working on it. Hope you had a good weekend :)

  16. TedG says:

    My blog is sort of a journal, but it was intended to be an interactive one. I used to share spring phenology observations through a mass email to my friends and family, and they would share their favorite signs of spring, and I would incorporate those into other emails throughout the season. The blog was intended to be a way to do that on a larger scale (perhaps to a larger audience) and to include photos and maps. I have been only moderately happy with it. What it is morphing into is more of an outlet for those thoughts that I don’t want to keep in my head or my journal. It is also a place to try out essays and things that I have written, to see if people comment on them or even just like them. I am viewing my blog as another writing outlet, one that almost (but not quite) replaces my physical journal and which puts my thoughts out there to whomever might want to read them. That’s what motivates me to keep a blog. How I do it is sporadically, just like my physical journal-keeping.

    What attracts me to read and perhaps follow a blog like yours is the chance to learn what others are thinking or seeing or feeling. I want to experience a broader spectrum of perspectives, and I want to see if anyone out here in the ethers shares my joy, angst, wonder, or pain. It is the only form of “social media” I am engaged with. It is not always fulfilling, but it does provide a compelling search.

    • Jessica says:

      I think we all started out with an idea for our blogs that have gradually morphed and changed. I know mine has. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more we blog, the more we get the hang of it and for writing for an audience and seeing what makes people (and us) tick. My early posts on Shift are not nearly as good as the ones I write now, and hopefully the ones I write now aren’t nearly as good as the ones I write in the future. I think having a blog as a writing outlet is good. Journaling can be healthy, but when you’re able to share your thoughts with the world, and when the world relates to what you have to say, it makes you feel less alone. And that’s a good thing!

      I agree that one of the best things about blogging is coming to see others’ perspectives. In my opinion, getting outside of one’s own head and seeing the world from a bigger point of view is the best thing one can ever do!

      Thanks so much for sharing, Ted. Hope you’re having a great weekend. :)

      • TedG says:

        Just one more thought. I keep this quote on a sticky note above my computer. Maybe it’s relevant to what you are writing about here. I think you are an advocate.

        “Writers who wish to do more than bear witness to human suffering or add to the overburden of entertainment have a responsibility to advocate for justice, humility, and compassion.” — Alison Hawthorne Deming

      • Jessica says:

        Amen, Ted. That is a FANTASTIC quote, and the way I want to live my life. I want to HELP, and the best writing comes from personal experience, anyway… Thank you for sharing! Think I’ll be holding onto this one myself and sharing it myself — hope you don’t mind!!!

        Really, thank you.

  17. Dan Antion says:

    When I started writing No Facilities, I didn’t set a schedule. I had a weekly work blog and I didn’t want do pressure of another weekly blog. Now, I find that I’m writing more than once a week, but still when I feel like writing. I keep a list of ideas in Evernote. That way, I can update from any device. I do omega mess write drafts but I don’t usually return to them right away. I do enjoy reading logs that have something to say, like yours. Keep it up.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Dan! When I first started my blog, whoa. What a difference between now and then. My posts were not nearly as well put together, and I had difficulty getting more than one post written per week even if I wanted to. Now, I really do think I could post more often than I do — if there were time!

      Thanks for the encouragement, and I’ll have to look into some of the devices/programs that you mention. I need a way to be able to take my writing with me (besides a pencil and notepad) more easily. Best wishes!

  18. Hi, Jessica. I always check your blogs to see what it is about (as I do with all blogs). Sometimes I’m interested and sometimes I’m not and over all I quite agree with you that daily tidbits are not all that interesting. I don’t know if my input will be of any value to you, but I wanted to try as I remember how kind you were to me early on when I began blogging. And that is my first point, you have a good heart and you are a good writer and I hope you won’t stop blogging because as a writer I also look for those who can express themselves for inspiration! As a writer, I couldn’t exist without writing every day. I am still learning by the way (advice is always appreciated ). Here are a few things I have learned. Readers want something of the writer in the blogs they read, not necessarily specifics of what you are doing (with the exception of what you are drinking at the moment; my blogs go up incredibly with mention of my coffee or a coke.) What they seem to want is to feel the emotion the caring or your interest in what you are presenting. The other thing of course is to know what you are writing about, not so much brain knowledge as knowledge that gets you excited or concerned. It is amazing that this can come through by the written word, but you know that it does. I have found ways to include myself in what I say that I would never have dreamed of doing before I began blogging. You take care of yourself and let me hear from you. Good luck and God Bless!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Marie!

      Aww, I very much remember first checking out Garden Girl. I like your new name, Upward Bound. Perfect. (Following!)… As for the rest, well, I blush in that I do try very hard to be “good”! Growing up, I was always a “goodie goodie” — not a teacher’s pet, but one who definitely hated getting in trouble! I tried to do everything right (unless I felt my rights were being violated, lol), and to this day I feel an overwhelming love for mankind and a sadness at the state we have gotten ourselves into… I will never stop writing because, well, writing *is* me, though lately I’ve not been able to post as frequently as I’d like… I appreciate your tips about what you’re drinking or cracking jokes, and absolutely the passion with which we present our material matters! I just checked out a few of your recent posts and really like what I see! It’s fun to grow as a writer, isn’t it?

      Thank you again, and God bless you, too!
      Jessica

  19. What do I look for in a blog I read? I look for a writer who is genuine. It’s rare enough that it is obvious when you spot it.

    • Jessica says:

      Hmm. Well I *have* been called genuine, and I’d like to think myself so. I’d have to say you’re pretty genuine, too, Lucas. Maybe that’s why I like you. :)

  20. Shoes Summerfield says:

    What do I look for in a blog? Inspiration. (and entertainment, let’s be honest)
    Why do I want to create in my blog? Inspiration, and yes, even simple entertainment, but most of the time it’s just to let things out. I’m a former ‘wanna be’ writer…a lifetime ago it was who I’d hoped to be when I grew up. Life had different ideas, and other things took priority, but I think, down deep, ‘that guy’ still exists…and here I am trying to find him again. Trying to find that voice, that *gotta* that keeps me up in the middle of the night to write…

    • Jessica says:

      I’m glad “that guy” still exists. I know “that girl” will always exist for me. I don’t expect I will ever be able to make a living by writing (even reporters have a hard time doing that), but I know that I will always write. Blogging has given me a platform to share my thoughts — thoughts which formerly bounced around endlessly in my brain — and in so doing has connected me to some amazing people (like you!) and enabled me to feel a lot less alone… I think we all need entertainment — gotta laugh to get through this life! — and inspiration, too. I can’t disagree with you there, either.

      Thanks so much for sharing, Shoes Summerfield. :)

  21. Heath Capps says:

    Speaking only for myself, I think if you can’t devote every minute to your writing, it must mean you are out there soaking up more life experience and being a good friend, daughter, etc. Few folks get to write and call it a trade that puts food on the table. Do it because you enjoy it. And you do make people think, don’t doubt that! God’s peace!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much, Heath. I think you’re right, and I’m finding that proper place for writing in my life, most assuredly. There will always be a place, but it can’t fill *all* my life. And I’m glad to know I make people think!

      Also, it’s good to hear from you! Haven’t seen you on WordPress in a while. How are the little ones? I know you’ve been busy!! :) Jess

      • Heath Capps says:

        Busy with the little ones for sure! Also wife, work, coaching. It adds up. All worth it! Shifted gears on writing–I do that more for myself, and on a bigger ‘project.’ The elusive novel. Don’t have tons of time, but what I do have, I devote to that! Reassessing the blog… :)

      • Jessica says:

        I’ve been doing the same. I have no idea where I’d find time to write a novel if I were continuing to write my blog — and do everything else that you’re trying to do. More power to you!

  22. Jess,

    I have often wondered this same subject/question — what is the purpose of my blog? How can it serve me and more importantly its readers, especially since it won’t pay me any monetary value of time, valuable time spent? Of course not everything good in life can be measured by a monetary amount so what is it then?

    I may have answered my question: Connection.

    Human connection. Some days/posts, I will have something worth contributing to the blogosphere that on a Soul-level enriches another Soul (hopefully more) and the connection is AC as opposed to DC; i.e. alternating current (two-way) versus direct current (1-way). That sometimes (often?) doesn’t include the “fluff” or “ranting” you mention because if internalized too much, it will anger & become unhealthy. However, it has its place. Fortunately, I can choose when to allow it into my being. A balance, a multi-faceted balance should be the goal in my humble opinion.

    But it is the profound connections that draw me, that I feed from and they from me. THAT is the purpose of my blog and the bloggers (like you Jess) I willing & enjoyable follow.

    Just my two cents. ;)

  23. Grammatical correction! Apologies! That should’ve read: “…bloggers (like you Jess) I willingly & enjoyably follow.” Sorry.

    • Jessica says:

      Lol. No worries. I hate it when I make grammatical mistakes in comments, too. Not being able to correct a mistake kills me!

      As for your original comment, I couldn’t agree more. The human connection I’ve found through my blog was completely unexpected but always leaves me wanting more. My blog and others’ (like yours) is my thought pad, and it’s incredibly rewarding when others can relate.

      I hope you have a lovely weekend, Professor!

  24. I ran into this feeling as well, Jessica, I can relate. The want to make my blog into more, but the feeling that what I was doing was my all. So, then I took a month off and did a bit of thinking about the whole thing and I decided that I’ll only blog for as long as I truly enjoy doing it. As much as I love people reading my stuff, I recognize that it’s much more about my own expression of whatever it is I need to express on a week by week basis.
    So, if I express nothing, that’s part of it also. I can’t manufacture the words.
    Side thought, but I kept a diary from the age of 5 – 21, and in my late teens I always wanted to be the person who could write an entry everyday. Every night I would try and force myself to just fill in a page, and in the end I realized I was producing a lot of garbage that I didn’t really care about.
    So, whether a person posts or writes everyday isn’t the issue, the issue is do you love what you’re writing? If the answer is yes, then continue doing exactly what you’re doing. That’s how I see it for myself anyways, as long as I’m happy doing it then all is good! :)
    The distinct feeling I get when I read your posts is that you’re happy with what you’re writing, your heart is clearly in it and you’re blog reflects both of those things vividly.
    ~Andrea<3

    • Jessica says:

      That is such good news, Andrea. Yes, my heart is always in my writing, otherwise what I write comes across as dull and is, in truth, not worth the effort in the first place. My frustration recently has been finding the time to put out my heart-felt posts. I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head all of the time, but often by the end of the day the creative energy I need to share those thoughts (at least if I want to do it well) is gone!

      I really like your blog and agree that we shouldn’t write just to write. Because if the meaning for *us* is not there, what will be the meaning for our readers? You can’t fake passion, and writing falls flat without it.

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