God Told Me to Blog

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I started blogging because God told me to. It is a little weird, right, to admit that a feminist Christian blogger got her start at a Women of Faith conference but there it is. God told me to blog and I started doing it. I think that may have been the last time I heard from God directly. I started blogging, then reading blogs, then commenting. Like many, many before me I stumbled upon Rachel Held Evans, which lead me to Sarah Bessey, wish led me to Deeper Story and SheLoves. I switched blogs and started tweeting where I met Tanya and Esther in a now defunct writing community. I now count these women as two of my closest friends though I have yet to meet them in the flesh.

My faith has evolved and blogging helped it along and held me while I had nowhere to call home. I am so glad God told me to start blogging. Sometime maybe a year ago someone started whispering that blogging is dead, whispers turn to cacophonies in about twenty minutes on Twitter, and the echoes of those conversations have been ringing in my ears every time I sit down to write ever since.

Do I really want to do this? Am I practicing a dead art? Will this get me where I want to go? That last question betrays something deeper and maybe a little bit ugly, but not about blogging, about me. Blogging taught me that I was a writer. I wrote a whole manuscript with the help from my internet friends. Some of them made me get off Twitter when I was supposed to be writing. Others traded chapters for editing, still others sat with me on Skype when I didn’t want to edit alone. Everything I learned about publishing said I needed to have a platform; I needed readers; Twitter followers; Facebook likes. I had some, but not enough.

Blogging became for me a thing that I needed to do in order to get what I wanted, rather than a place to be with other people exploring our ideas. Blogging became more transactional and less communal. I don’t think I am alone in that. What started for many of us as a community of shared and different voices became a place of who is in and out, who got what and why and how.

I met Tammy in an Indian restaurant where she shared her heart about this space right here. She too had felt the wagon circle closed where there used to be open invitations, where there once was a chorus of people shouting for more space at the table, we now found ourselves looking around for a seat. Blogging felt a little bit like a middle school cafeteria. Tammy wanted more room. not just for herself, but for everyone. So, she made it. Who knows about seats at the table. Your mess is welcome at the Mudroom. I rediscovered community here, and again this summer when I was invited to participate in another project where we are showering love on a random person a week.

I remembered how fun it was to get to know other people. How you can say “Hey! She thinks that too! Cool!” instead of “HEY! I said that first!” I think blogging died when it became about what you could get from it. At least, I hope that kind of transactional blogging is dead. I don’t want to be just another follower, like, or commenter. And I don’t want to see the people who care enough to read my words that way either. I want us to share space well, to listen well, to love each other well. I want us to cheer each other on and engage thoughtfully. Will there be book deals and paid writing gigs? I hope so. And I still hope I get one. But I don’t want that to be what this is about. Blogging isn’t about what I am getting, it is about who I am doing it with.

Abby Norman

Abby lives and loves in the city of Atlanta. She swears a lot more than you would think for a public school teacher and mother of two under three. She can’t help that she loves all words.She believes in champagne for celebrating every day life, laughing until her stomach hurts and telling the truth, even when it is hard, maybe especially then.

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  • The perfect read with my coffee this morning, because I woke up thinking “Why do I blog?” I couldn’t name what I was feeling, but you are spot on, “transactional blogging.” I don’t want the thought of how to monetize to drive my words, then those words become empty. Thank you for writing and sharing. You have made my Monday much better! Wishing you a peace filled day.

    • You have a beautiful blog, Terri. 🙂

      • Terri

        Thank you Amanda for taking the time to visit and those words of encouragement!

    • Abby Norman

      You too friend.

  • Like both you and Terri are doing, I have asked why I’m blogging. It started out as a way to more broadly share my writing. Then I realized the publishing industry was telling writers they needed a platform if they ever hoped to be published; and, yes, while that is true, I also realized it couldn’t replace my initial motivation to do what I God gave me to do. I’m called to write, and blogging is a venue for sharing that, but my vehicle shouldn’t become the reason for the journey. Your post has inspired me to write something similar, at least for myself for now. Thank you!

    • Abby Norman

      I would LOVE to see it, tweet it at me?

      • I will. I’m seeing a lot of writers having similar feelings. Maybe it’s part of finding our way and meaning in this seemingly endless webiverse.

  • Thanks Abby. I am new to the whole blogging world, so I appreciate your sharing of wisdom. I too, felt like God told me to blog at a women’s conference. I felt like it was such a crazy request, but, hey, trust and obey. 🙂

    • Abby Norman

      I know so weird, but so real.

  • Abby! All the yes. So glad God told you to blog. I literally quoted you the other day when I was telling my husband that I’m not fashionable/good at clothes and he said “Yes you are, you always look nice.” and I realized I was playing a script of something that someone had said about me… in JUNIOR HIGH and it was time to hold my own pen and rewrite myself as a lover of tailored tops and cute jeans. Thanks for sharing your words, I love being in “blog-space” with you.

    • Abby Norman

      Me too friend.

  • Preach it, sister. So blessed to have you among my closest friends. I heart the Internet!!

    • Abby Norman

      Me too, and totally worth it if it only means that we get to be friends.

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Funny this theme is coming up in many places; the Holy spirit gave me pretty much the same words this week–lots of ‘sacred echoes’ out there. Well said! Pray God we heed them and keep our voices and open tables.

    • Abby Norman

      You too friend.

  • That’s really interesting to read. I am so looking for community in blogging and definitely have that middle school cafeteria feeling. I hope there continues to be room for newbies… even if they are older.