When I first started blogging, it was mostly because I wanted to be like my friend Mary. Mary has an awesome blog and connects with readers from all across the world about issues she cares about: healthy living and weight loss. She posts life stories, records her struggles and successes at the gym, and for a while she even took pictures of the food she ate every single day. I loved following along with Mary’s life and felt like I knew her even better as a reader-friend than just as a friend-friend. I wanted to have the connections and community that Mary had, and I wanted to write.
To be honest, law school was kind of a bummer for my creative side. Don’t misunderstand — I absolutely loved law school. Taking extensive notes about why the law says this or the other and turning those notes into ever-shorter outlines to ingrain the knowledge in my brain is still pretty much one of my favorite things to do (don’t be a hater), but I needed a little free-form writing too.
And so I started a blog (now deceased) to write about what was going on and how things were going. I tried to make it about healthy living (because that’s what I was reading about, so that’s the only kind of blogging I really knew about), but it wasn’t a great fit for me as a writer. My lifestyle was (and still is) not healthy enough to provide sufficient blog content. I try to get a little exercise in and eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but I don’t exactly have a new and exciting gluten-free/low-carb/paleo-friendly recipe or gym routine to share every three days.
To spread my wings a bit, I started following more healthy eating blogs (and less exercise blogs), and then I started falling in love with food blogs in general. Smitten Kitchen, Yes I Want Cake, Dessert for Two . . . there were tons and my Reader was filled with photographs of beautiful meals. I jumped on this bandwagon for a while too: I’m a good cook, and I like trying new recipes, so it seemed like a good fit. I would re-create some fancy recipes I saw online and even created my own recipe once (it still gets a ton of hits, even two years later).
But, just like healthy living before, cooking adorable meals just wasn’t a big enough part of my life to create sufficient content for a successful blog. My life was full of school (now work) and studying (now advising, grocery shopping, avoiding laundry, etc.). There just isn’t enough time for me to live a full life and also purchase expensive groceries and create a fancy meal from scratch every day. I found myself purchasing groceries that went unused, feeling frustrated, and serving my husband a hot-and-steamy previously frozen pizza more often than I should admit. And then, when I did cook something fantastic, I would oftentimes forget to take a photo before we dug in, thus resulting in additional personal disappointment and lack of content.
My blog went dormant for a while (it wasn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last), and then I stumbled onto Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey and I saw a big part of my secret-inside-self in their writing. I started entering — slowly and carefully — the Christian faith blog community. These voices spoke to me again, in a different way. They spoke of pain and intellectual struggle and civil rights and equality and, most of all, love. For a while, I was only reading faith blogs and not commenting and certainly not writing about faith issues, but after reading so much it just started oozing out.
After a few months, however, I noticed that my voice didn’t exactly fit inside this community, either. That the story I wanted to write (my real life plus how it feels to interact with the hard questions of poverty-relief, justice, equality and how All Of That intersects with faith and politics) couldn’t be fully sustained if I stayed inside the faith blogging community. I needed to make connections across disciplines, because that is how my mind works and how my heart finds freedom. While faith issues are an important piece of who I am as a writer, that tiny piece of the internet world is not enough on its own. What you read is what you write, and I’m just not cut out for a one-subject career.
And so, for the next few weeks, I’m trying a lot of new blogs and searching for a good mix of faith, food, law, social issues, justice, fashion, feminism, otherwise smart and just plain funny. If you have a favorite, leave it in the comments so I can check it out! I’ll be updating my Blogroll at the end of the month to share my new finds with you. If this works out the way I hope it will, I’ll be working toward becoming a better blogger and a better writer. And if it doesn’t, at least I’ll have read some good stories along the way.