On this day, in 2008, I launched my first blog (go here to read that post). I had spent years reading blogs and wishing that I, too, could be a blogger. I spent lots of time thinking about the kinds of writing I would do. Still, it took me some time to take that leap.
And it did feel like a leap. What worried me?
I worried that my blogging might impact my professional future. Academics everywhere seemed to be discussing how blogging and Facebooking and living a more public life might come back to haunt us. Would a possible future employer look badly on my blogging? Would said employer wonder why I didn't focus on more formal writing, the traditional forms that academics are expected to master?
I worried about my current employer. What would my boss say about blogging? What about my colleagues?
So, I took the precautions you'd expect. At first, I tried very hard to not say too much about work. Then, as I got more comfortable blogging, I tried not to say anything that I wouldn't say in any other public space. As I blog, I try to be conscious that anyone might read my writing, and I try not to say anything hurtful or to talk about anything that might land me in court.
And frankly, I don't have that kind of life. Not much goes on that I can't write about here. But I'm still cautious, especially when it comes to pictures and to talking about other people. Just because I'm living a more public life doesn't mean that everyone I know wants to be part of that process.
I also worried that my blogging would take me away from my other writing, and that has happened to some extent. Time spent blogging is time I'm not spending writing poems or short stories.
But blogging has opened up doors that wouldn't have been opened to me otherwise. I had sent material to The Lutheran magazine before and been rejected. When I wrote this blog post, an editor for The Lutheran wrote to me to ask if I'd reshape the material for an article. I said I'd be happy to do that, and I've gone on to write several more.
And my blogging led to an invitation to be an official blogger for a Lutheran website.
Even if my blogging hadn't led to these opportunities, I'd still be glad that I started. I write down ideas, and often, when I need inspiration, I go back through my blogs and find some. And my blogs serve as an interesting journal. I tend to save my paper journal for times when I won't have computer access or for a place to sort out my feelings about things that aren't bloggable.
I think my comfort with eBooks comes out of blogging. I love that a blog can do things a paper journal can't do as easily: it's searchable, for one thing. And I love adding photos (which I plan to do when I venture into eBooks). I love being able to link. I love the community that blogs can create. I love the connectedness.
I still wrestle with the fact that my time for creative pursuits is limited. In any day, I have choices to make: will I blog, will I write a poem, will I cook, will I take my camera out into the world, will I paint, will I work with fabric? I can't do it all--oh, but how I want to.
There are people out there who would encourage me to go with what's likely to bring me the most money--but I tend to go with what will bring me joy at the moment. I'm lucky; I have a job that pays the bills, so I don't have to consider the money angle as much as some do.
But I've also found that following what brings me joy can often lead to money and other types of opportunities.
My approach to creativity reminds me of my approach to investing. I have held a variety of jobs, and thus, I have dribs and drabs of money in a variety of retirement accounts. Some investment specialists would advise me to roll over all those dribs and drabs into one super account that would make me more money. I haven't done that for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I'm lazy and terrified of making the wrong decision.
Happily, that decision--or lack of decision--has paid off. I've found that when one account is down, the others are up. My hope is that at retirement, I won't have lost too much, and I'll be happily surprised to discover that my benign neglect has resulted in surprise returns.
I have the same hopes for my creative projects, that some will go nowhere, and others will surprise me with the doors that open. But my most fervent hope is that I can continue to be creative every day, to have that joy every day, to feel that yearning to do more, but gratitude that I can do what I can do.
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