When I moved my blog to this new location, I began to wonder if I wasn’t perhaps unconsciously looking for a fresh start. I think it’s too early to tell if that’s the case, but I do know that I’ve spent some time lately soul-searching about what blogging means to me.
In my early blogging days, I didn’t think much beyond writing on subjects of interest to me. Much of my attention was taken up with trying to make sense of Blogger templates and learning several new acronyms, like ‘html’. Oh the struggle! Then I began reading other blogs, something I really hadn’t done before starting my own blog.
This new and fascinating world of blogging was a revelation to me. It seemed as if I was making new blog discoveries every day. My view of the world underwent a subtle change as I found myself no longer thinking in terms of foreign countries, but rather in climatic and garden zones. Even if I was unable to understand the language a blog was written in, I could always look at the photographs. They had a way of telling me the story.
One of the most refreshing things about the blogs I read is that people were doing their own thing with their blogs. With the world of blogging being relatively new and uncharted, there is a sense of freedom in experimenting with it. Many of us seem to have started in much the same way, and as we have gained more experience with the technical side of blogging, have begun to try different things, like adding video or sound clips. Most of us are not professional writers – we just have something to say about things that matter to us.
Some of us keep our blogs focussed on one subject area, like gardening, while others, like me, talk about a range of subjects. No one has seemed to mind overly that my blog goes from discussing flowers to knitting and then saunters off to painting, dogs and fiddling.
It wasn’t until several months ago that I read an article stating that blogs should be kept to one subject area. I began an email discussion with a blogging friend who encouraged me to keep on doing what I was doing, so long as I was happy. At that point, I decided that I would adopt the same philosophy with blogging as I did with other creative pursuits, namely that it was something I never wanted to feel obligated to do or, more importantly, to do in a certain way. If I feel as if I must be out gardening, fiddling or now blogging, I stop myself. These areas of life are too important for keeping my soul nourished. From experience, I know I begin to lose my interest if I feel something is becoming a chore or a duty. I know the importance for me too, of staying true to myself.
This isn’t always an easy or straightforward thing to do. Recently, I signed off a garden blog directory site because I found my view of the blogging world differed too much from that promoted on this site. While I may not have as many readers to my blog now, that’s fine. I wasn’t comfortable trying to fit into a competitive environment. It felt a bit too much like trying to conform in high school and I wasn’t about to continue doing something which wasn’t good for me. Since this experience, I’ve realised how I cherish the sense of community I experience in my blogging world, especially the gardening one. I’m now back to using my Google Reader to keep up with the blogs I love reading.
What’s important to me is knowing that I’m doing what’s right for me. This is who I am. Having people read what I write is an added bonus – I love when people stop in and comment. I’ve made many good blogging friends in this way. I was drawn to their blogs, too, because I connect with them on various levels.
And what I truly love is the variety of blogs in existence. When other bloggers come along and suggest what it is that we ‘should’ be doing with our blogs, might I make ‘a gentle plea for chaos’, along the same lines as Mirabel Osler did in her book by this name? Although Mirabel Osler was writing about gardening, I think the same can be applied to blogging.
I hope that our blogs grow along with us and that our individuality will continue to shine forth. As with everything else in life, people bring different life experiences and interests to blogging. It is this diversity that makes the blogging world such a dynamic and interesting one. No doubt there will continue to be ‘experts’ exhorting us or merely suggesting how we should be blogging.
I hope we all continue to d0 our own thing and keep blogging from becoming bogged down in rules.