Hi, gang. Happy Sunday. I know, since last April, we’ve been keeping our chats mainly Tuesday and Friday affairs, but I hope you won’t mind my coming in today with one extra post because, mostly, I’ve got something extra to say. I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging.
Thing is, I’ve been blogging here at Food Loves Writing since 2008. Some of you have been reading here that entire time (Hi Jacqui, Kim, maybe Lan?); some of you found me through another site (like the beauties Not Without Salt, Honey & Jam, Cranny and Me); some of you had a friend who recommended the blog; some of you get nutrition consultations from my husband; some of you just came here for the first time today, through a Google search or Pinterest picture. In every case, hello. I feel honored that you’re spending a few minutes here, and I hope you’ll stick around long enough to say hi. I really like it when you say hi.
So when I say I’ve been thinking about blogging, I guess what I mean is that I’ve been thinking about the value of blogging. As in, Is blogging valuable? And of course, yes. When I recite to myself the long list of intangible benefits that come from this beautiful online community you and I share, I can’t deny its power.
Today, just about an hour ago actually, I was talking with my friend Joanna on the phone. Joanna lives in Iowa. She’s a magazine editor. I’ve mentioned her here before. I love Joanna. Joanna is the kind of person that breathes fresh air into a room. She’s big smiles and deep thoughts and disarming vulnerability, and when I tell her about some struggle I’m facing, she empathizes and thinks and then pulls out off-the-cuff advice that is both encouraging and the sort of thing to make me stop. And I wouldn’t know her if I hadn’t had a blog.
While I’m typing this post to you, in the other room right now, Tim is sitting on our sofa, legs stretched out on one of our T.J.Maxx tufted ottomans—the first big purchase we made in married life. For lunch today, we ate leftover roasted vegetables in beef broth over a two-hour conversation about the differences between grace and law and how to apply those realities in life. Yesterday we pointed the car northwest and ended up in Clarksville, a sleepy town with antique stores and a shopping mall and the beautiful Dunbar Cave State Park, which is where most of the photos in this post are from. And this man I share my life, and this blog, with today? I wouldn’t even know him if I hadn’t had a blog.
The blog community is wildly enriching! My friend Holly, whom I met through blogs this year, talks with me about this almost every time we talk. And while we trade book recommendations or discuss hard questions like what makes us dislike people, I look at this girl sitting there, across from a table or in a living room or at a coffee shop with me, and I think how this easy conversation, this thought- and perspective-changing interaction, was only made possible by blogging.
In fact, there are few things in my life that haven’t been shaped, at least in some part, by blogging, from my job to my book club to the four-by-six-foot paper photo of me and Tim hanging in our bedroom (tutorial here!). Blogging changed my life. Blogging changes my life. And I’m so grateful for it, saying I’m grateful for it sounds cliché.
But here’s the thing: Blogging takes time. Blogging takes discipline (even if that discipline only means coming back here again and again, with months in between). Blogging connects you with kindred spirits, yes, but, unless you go super pro about promoting products and using affiliate links and charging for sponsorships and posts, blogging doesn’t make (much) money.
And this is something I’m wrestling with right now. I’m wrestling with the very real needs of my little family and our little future and how I can and should contribute to it. I’m wondering if spending 10 hours a week (give or take) on this beloved space is a wise investment when I could be pitching articles or creating products to sell. Or to put it another way, I’m wondering if there’s a way to also bring in a (small) income from a space that’s already brought me so much non-monetary blessing. I’m wondering if that’s fair to wonder. I’m thinking about a TED Talk I watched last week and how the future of the arts, from music to blogging to authorship, could be becoming more and more deindustrialized as people believe in supporting crafts they find valuable, and I’m wondering if that means anything for me.
I guess I wanted to tell you all this, today on this Sunday, to explain part of the reasoning behind our new Etsy shop and the ebook and the sidebar Lijit ads and the Amazon affiliate links we have now. We’ve tried other things that didn’t feel right, so this is where we are now. I think some of you feel these same things, and I want you to be encouraged that it’s normal. I also wanted to put this out there, to the community of people who have always made it safe to be vulnerable, in order to ask you for advice. I know in the audience of readers this site has, someone’s got to know something about a more efficient, yet non-gimmicky way to keep this place running for all of us, so I welcome your ideas.
I love having you out there, reading. I love even more when you comment or email or stop me at a coffee shop to say you like the site (Hi, Sandy!). And I love knowing I can come here and chat with you and let us both feel a little more known.
Thanks for letting me make this little interruption, guys. Our weekly schedule is still on for the rest of the week, but the Tuesday/Friday posts may be a bit abbreviated this week.
Oh, and also, PS, speaking of the Etsy shop, we have a new 8 X 10 print available, hand-lettered and printed on cardstock, with a quote that I’ve been meditating on all week: “To create is to reflect the Creator and delight His heart.”