During a recent lunch conversation, one of the most attentive followers of this devotional series asked me, “Do you blog?”
Well, I thought, you of all people should know that I do. The question definitely got my attention!
“Yes,” I began. “Sort of. I mean, I know that true bloggers work very hard at starting conversations that are on trend. They link all kinds of other sites. My blog I see as more of a website. It’s rarely a two-way process when I post. I get about two comments per year.” (Actually, the true number is much higher – more than ten times that!) #LaughingAtMyself
You guess right if you think this conversation sent me running to look at my WordPress statistics. Not counting today’s post, I’ve published 51 articles since launching the site in June 2015, so 51 posts over 3.5 years. Total comments 101. That’s an average of 2 comments per post. More statistics for you numbers nerds follow as a P.S. to today’s article. But, let’s get back to the “Do you blog?” conversation:
My friend seemed to agree that my Called-Out Life activity doesn’t “feel” like a blog. He said, “My idea of a blog is a platform where people promote themselves and their books.”
Good to know.
“Precisely!” I answered. “That definitely is not how I have been spending my time.”
Called-Out Life in its infancy. For those less familiar with Called-Out Life E-devotional, it started as an email list, and I was sending a message every week. Later I reduced the frequency to “as led,” and it was one of my daughters who ultimately convinced me to put my efforts out here on a viable web page, where the frequency of posting has remained “as led.”
In further answer to the loyal follower of Called-Out Life who raised the question of whether I blog, I elaborated, “I get some of the basics of what true, dedicated bloggers do, and I’m not interested in spending my time that way right now. They pull in relevant links, they post daily or almost daily, they read and comment frequently on other bloggers’ pages, they spend a lot of time on Facebook and on Twitter, and many of them probably pay third-party services to boost their visibility.”
I am well aware that you are supposed to go to school for this. You read free articles. You attend seminars. You study:
- How to blog effectively
- How to reach the most people
- The top 7 things to avoid
- How long is too long for one post? (I skipped school that day. However, today’s post weighs in at about 1,400 words, and that’s not “too long” according to some experts.)
If I’m not blogging, what am I doing?
Interruption: I must stop right here to emphasize that I am in no way implying disrespect for “real” bloggers. On the contrary, I am highlighting how drastically I separate my meager online activity from theirs. While recognized, professional bloggers have been achieving online success in terms of both performance stats and name recognition, I have been:
- working full time
- keeping some semblance of an orderly home
- offering my time to Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild as editor of their monthly newsletter
- and, basically, trucking along in patterns consistent with the life of an introvert who happens to find more pleasure in rereading “comfort books” by bedside lamplight than in discovering trending authors on a laptop in a coffee shop
The above account of how my time is spent doesn’t cover going to church every Sunday, accompanying my husband on occasional business trips, playing with granddog #SweetTimesAndSoTherapeutic, sleeping (which is a miraculous gift if it occurs in greater than four-hour stretches without a great deal of tossing and turning), or pretending to keep up with the accounts I follow on Instagram.
The above rundown also doesn’t include a certain project that has received an astronomical investment of time and effort over the past 6 years, namely writing two novels that are about to be published as a series…which brings us right back to talking about having a blog so one can promote oneself and one’s books. Rest assured that Called-Out Life E-devotional is not going to become a book promotion and sales website in spite of the fact that several of my earliest posts in June 2015 were about the writing of the first novel, A Stranger’s Promise. For the purpose of directing interested parties to the web pages where either print-on-demand or e-book formats can be found, I am starting out using primarily my Facebook page and Instagram, as well as word-of-mouth. More later on this huge development in my writing life, assuming it all “comes off” as promised, possibly sometime in January. For now, you can visit Facebook or view a short list of “books by” on the About page here on Called-Out Life.
So… Called-Out Life is, arguably, a blog. And I appreciate every comment my articles prompt. But I also get that anyone who takes the time to skim, wade through, or even share one of my posts has a very busy life, the same as I do.
Are introverts comfortable with a web presence? Blogging is neither my career nor my driving passion. This, I believe, hinges on a certain word I used earlier in this post. It begins with the letter “i”. Did you catch it? As an introvert, I don’t eagerly count the days until the next event that requires me to stand for two hours mingling in a large ballroom or in a crowded reception hall. So it’s no surprise that I also don’t enjoy scanning the email horizon for links to the latest conversation on Twitter or on some successful blogger’s blog that is going to bombard me with long opinions, stuff I will lie awake at night unable to stop thinking about, and four-letter word choices that also will get stuck in my head.
Caveat verbosus (my attempt to say “posters beware”). I have had negative experiences calling in to radio shows (ancient history I wish I could forget), and I have made ill-judged online comments a time or two on local news stories – comments that served no one well. This social media stuff warrants “pulling back” now and then and keeping the whole, big picture of life and “impact” in perspective. Posting and commenting can be risky business. It gives a whole new meaning to scripture verses about taming the tongue (James 3:1-12), self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and not causing another person to stumble (Romans 14:13-23).
For those who like numbers: more Called-Out Life statistics
I launched Called-Out Life E-devotional on WordPress with a “welcome” post on June 26, 2015. The site has been up for 3.5 years, almost exactly 42 months. In that time, I have posted 51 articles, so about 1.2 times per month. Followers 74. Total post likes 30. Total comments 101.
Most comments on a post
8 on “The greatest victory over the worst trouble” (an Easter message dated March 26, 2016)
Runners-up for most comments
7 on “Clogging: not a plumbing problem” (when and how I stopped biting my fingernails)
7 on “How a poet says ‘sunset’”
6 on “I am that baby” (it includes a cute picture of me at age 3)
Low numbers: poor performance?
Some self-respecting bloggers might look at such low numbers and decide to cut their losses, shut their sites down and save the yearly fee they’re paying for web space. A professional appraisal of my performance as a blogger would probably include the words dismal, inconsequential, and neglected. Let’s look at these:
- Dismal. How about gratifying instead? #GlassHalfEmptyOrHalfFull I am very thankful this site has 74 followers! If you are one of them, thank you so much for applying your confidence toward the content published here.
- Inconsequential. No. Never underestimate the impact of a message, short or long, that even one reader finds encouraging. I like significant much better than inconsequential. I wouldn’t spend so much time writing these articles if I didn’t believe there was valuable consequence to doing so, including what the contemplative process does in me.
- Neglected. This “blog” site is neglected only if the level of activity on it goes against my established goals. So far, it doesn’t.