What’s my blogging goal?

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As I’ve contemplated my future in blogging, I’ve found myself wondering what it is I want out of it.  I’ve realized that some of my early goals are not going to come to pass–were probably not even part of the reason I was called to blog–and it’s time to let them go.  And that the process has led me to several outcomes I cherish.

REFINING AND DEEPENING MY JOURNEY

Every time I stop to reflect on my latest insights or to put my beliefs and my journey into words, I deepen my own understanding of this spiritual journey.  Every time I choose where to put my focus as I write a post, I support my intention to be peace, to be healthy and whole.

Because of the blog, I constantly examine my journey and my beliefs, looking for words of wisdom to share.  Now, I’m pretty deeply into self-examination so some of that would happen anyway.  But there’s an extra something that happens as part of choosing to write about my thoughts and share my insights.  It keeps me more mindful and aware.

For instance, as I’ve written my series of posts about using the ho’oponopono prayer*, I’ve become far more conscious of the many times and ways every day I can use it to heal myself and everything I see as a problem in the world.  I started with awareness of the prayer but only sporadically remembered to use it and I now say it many times a day.

FINDING A VOICE

I’d been writing “insights” and putting them up on a web site for some time before blogs were even a thing and eventually wove them into a book that’s still sitting here.  Although a recent re-read/edit of the book showed it to be better than I remembered, in general I felt like the insights I posted were stilted and pedantic.

Before I started blogging, shorter and pithier little essays started forming in my head regularly.  Exploring that in meditation I was told to start a blog.  I barely knew what a blog was but I researched, found WordPress and voila.

As I wrote these pieces I kept an eye on length and have maintained an intention to be succinct and keep it brief, though the average length has grown from my original attempt at 300-400 words.  Over time my writing style became more conversational and less formal and I found myself liking the things I wrote much better than I liked those older pieces.

I suspect that finding my voice as a writer was a big piece of the inner nudge to start a blog.

COMMUNITY: LOVE REACHING AROUND THE WORLD

The biggest unexpected surprise of blogging has been the great community of blogging friends I’ve found.  Every day I spend an hour or two absorbed in the deep journeys and thoughts of spiritual bloggers around the world and every day I feel the energy of our love and peace reaching out to enfold the earth.

I’ve gotten to meet a couple of bloggers and hope to meet many more.  The bloggers with whom I regularly interact inspire me, teach me, lead me to explore every day.  It’s hard to express how greatly I value what I receive from being part of this community.

WHAT IT’S NOT DOING

Since I’d finished my book not that long before I started blogging, my mind decided I’d been led to this in order to create my “platform” so I could show agents and publishers my big following and get the book launched.  The blog has certainly grown, but very slowly and I’ve finally realized that spiritual blogging is unlikely to provide me the kind of numbers I’d need to convince the publishing industry I can produce sales.

Over these years I’ve noticed that generally (by no means in all cases), spiritual blogs with big numbers tend to have an established name attached, whether of an institution (say, Tricycle) or a person (i.e. Wayne Dyer).  Unlike mainstream blogging, where great travel photos, parenting advice, recipes or snarkiness can “go viral” and draw big numbers, the spiritual journey of an unknown (i.e. not famous) person is unlikely to draw tens of thousands of followers.

I’ve tried to participate in popular “challenges” and events like NaBloPoMo, etc. but I’ve found that generally my blog doesn’t turn out to be the cup of tea for the mainstream bloggers who are the majority I encounter.  And I often have trouble bending prompts to fit the topic of spiritual journey (Sreejit is a big exception with his prompts that invite deep exploration — thanks so much!) as they’re generally not designed for inner searching or metaphysical thinking. I put in a lot of time and energy to participate and rarely grow my numbers by enough to justify it.

While musing about blogging I suddenly realized it’s time to let go of “platform building” as a goal.  The benefits of blogging have not been about the numbers but about the inner growth, the writing practice and the wonderful friends I’ve made.  By letting go of the underlying desire to see my stats going up, I think I can let go of a lot of time put in on activities I don’t especially like and just participate for the deeper, more valuable gifts I receive.


*For a post with versions of the prayer see here.  You can also click the Journey2Peace link at the top of the page and find many posts in recent months exploring this topic.

Blogging and the spiritual path

MP900341542 Microsoft ClipartI’ve posted a couple of times on the Scribblings blog about my thoughts on keeping track of blog stats (here and here).  In a nutshell, although I see that lots of people are caught up in second-guessing every like, comment and follow/unfollow, I can’t get that caught up in it.  Over time I’ve realized that when it comes to blog stats I’ve taken in the lesson “don’t take anything personally” very well.

It’s a place where it’s clear to me that people have so many complex reasons for the choices they make that there’s no point in trying to figure out why.  As Huna teacher Serge King says, “people are who they are and they do what they do.”  So I shrug and figure they’re gonna do whatever and it has nothing to do with me.  Some might call that learning detachment.

Blogging for me has also been an adventure in stepping out into the world as myself.  My progress has been very slow.  I began by posting twice a week but doing nothing to get readers.  For the first six months pretty much no one read my posts.  In some ways I felt relieved because I always secretly feared that if I expressed my deepest self people would hate me.  The well-publicized adversarial nature of a lot of social media led me to believe that if I revealed my deep thoughts I’d probably have to face nasty comments from anyone who disagreed.

Eventually I decided to see what I needed to do to actually have readers and take my chances on the negative comments.  Over time I’ve stepped out more and more.  The miracle to me has been that in this supportive, amazing, lovely spiritual blogging community not one person has ever left a nasty comment.  Every time I’ve put out a post with the fear that lots of people would take exception to it I’ve found support and encouragement.  (Since I don’t follow stats too closely I don’t know if anyone quit following…)

This has been SO healing for me.  In the last few months I have realized that I’ve stepped out much more not only in the posts I’m writing but in my interactions with fellow bloggers.   A transformation through blogging.

At this point I’m following lots of spiritual bloggers and I like that I spend so much time every day immersed in thoughts about spiritual life.  It’s helping me to deepen my thinking and practice and keep my mind immersed in new world thinking.  I’ve learned a lot from all of you.

There’s a challenging piece with which I’m still working.  I do bump into posts that seem unnecessarily negative or that express opinions I find offensive.  Since I feel everyone has a right to their opinions, however different from mine, I don’t land a negative comment on them–nor do I hit the “like” button.

I know enough to realize that anything that offends me in someone else reflects something in me.  But instead of instantly doing ho’ o pono pono to heal  in me what bothers me about them, I usually just back out of the post.  Occasionally if there are too many posts that disturb me I quit following the blog.  In my pursuit of oneness I can see that I have some work to do.

For all of these lessons I am so very grateful.  Have you found any spiritual lessons in the blogging world?

2012 Stats for Notes from the Bluegrass

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Wow, 16,000 views in the year amazed me!  Thanks so much everyone who reads and everyone who comments!  I’m envisioning you all having a peaceful and loving 2013.