Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Care and Feeding of Blogs

I love to chat . . .
long rambling conversations on the phone with friends
brief exchanges in line at the store
heart-to-hearts over cups of tea

So when many authors started blogging a few years back, it felt like an easy addition to my list of "things authors do that support their readers and their books;" book launch parties, tours, signings, websites, newsletters, speaking engagements, teaching at conferences and . . .

. . . blogging.

I quickly learned from the collective wisdom of the sages that a good blog should have a theme, serve a unique felt need, be updated frequently, not focus on personal details that no one is interested in . . .

The list went on and on.

I also learned that it was important to build blog traffic, which meant lots of links, participating in blogrolls and events and blog tours, using various techniques to measure and build that traffic.

Hmmm....

If I did everything the right way, my fun side venture would become a full-time job.

So I'm making a public confession. I'm a half-baked blogger. And I'm not going to change.

Sometimes I have included book reviews and "toured" new novels of my friends - although there are so many other blogs that do that (much better than I) that I'd rather not do that very much.

Sometimes I write heartfelt devotions - which I'd love to do more of (but often don't have time to do).

Sometimes I forget to post an upcoming event until the night before, and folks don't get the info in time (by the way, I'm going to be part of a multi-author signing this Friday, November 7th, at 7pm at the Northwestern Bookstore in Maple Grove, MN).

Sometimes I go for weeks without posting. Sometimes I post three in one day.

I've accepted that it's not my priority (or my calling) to build up a large blog following.
God has (for now) asked me to focus on writing novels. I get quite a few visitors here. Sometimes I get a lot of comments. Often I don't - and that's okay.

I like having some things in my life that I recognize I'm not doing the right way. I'm a sloppy tennis player. My guitar playing is basic and inexpert. I'm an improvisational, forgetful, and sometimes disastrous cook.

As much as I agree with the heart-cry to create work of excellence for God, I have too often been caught in the bondage of accomplishment and perfectionism. So maybe it's good for me to strive for excellence in a few things and let the rest be a little half-baked.

What do you think? Have you been trying to "get it all right" in EVERY area of life, and feeling exhausted and inadequate? Do you joyfully celebrate a few things that you don't do well?

Oh - and the photo is from the TBN studio in Seattle, right before shooting a brief T.V. interview about The Restorer books. It was part of the Motiv8 tour in October. I get a kick out of the combo of blue jeans with baldric, sword, and cloak. :-)

Blessings!
Sharon Hinck

9 comments:

Barbara H. said...

No one can do everything well, and some of my favorite blogs are like yours -- just off the cuff, "whatever comes to mind as I have time."

I like multi-faceted blogs where you get a bit if blogger's personality rather than themed professional ones.

S. J. Deal said...

Sharon,

Yes, I blog pretty much the same way... Thanks for the encouraging post! I still check out your blog at least once a day to see if you've posted anything.

-Shane

Rabia said...

Since I use Google Reader, it doesn't matter to me how often (or not) you post. I have enjoyed reading your blog (Christian fantasy authors are few and far between, alas!).

As for me, my priorities are my family (I have three kids four and under), keeping up (somewhat with the house), spending time with my husband, church activities and writing when I can squeeze it in. I would love to be able to draw and crochet and do all kinds of fun artsy stuff, but that will all have to wait until the kids are older. I have no time and energy to pursue excellence in everything!

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

Sharon, I too am a half-baked blogger! Thanks for the encouragement to blog in my own unstructured way. I sometimes feel the "shoulds" pushing against me and that takes the fun out of it.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Sharon, I love how you are so encouraging and real. You give us-your readers- hope and smiles.
How wonderful is that?

Sharon Hinck said...

Thanks for sharing, everyone! I'm glad to hear others throwing off shackles of perfectionism, too. I'm also tickled at how God can use even a half-baked blog to provide smiles or encouragement. Makes me more excited to serve Him this week and see what He will do!

Valerie Comer said...

While I can see the use of a themed blog in some ways, I appreciate the variety of glimpses I get in yours (and other) blogs. Like they were written by real people, not Somebody with an Agenda.

My blog has been ignored a fair amount lately, as I'm unsure what direction to take it or if anyone cares. Hmm.

Sharon Hinck said...

Oh, Val. That's so true. I hadn't thought of it, but that whole "agenda" feeling really troubles me, especially when it seeps in to things like my blog.

I watched a movie about Mother Theresa last weekend and enjoyed seeing the FOCUSED nature of her "agenda" - pure simple service and love to the poor. Really convicted me about the distractions that pull me away from what I believe God has called me to focus on.

Of course for some, their blog IS part of their calling - and they do it beautifully. I just have to accept that it fits into a different niche in my life.

Judy said...

Sharon, thank you for your timely words! I'm about to dip my toe in the ocean of bloggers, and I'm sure "half-baked" will describe me well.

My ability to sing is more "raw" than even half-baked.

See you Wednesday!! Don't worry, I won't sing to you. :-)