The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Blogging

My Most Important Blogging Lesson

We started our Lisses to Lebanon blog while we were fundraising before moving to Lebanon back in 2013. In the past 4 years of blogging I have learned so many things. The most important thing I have learned is not new or creative.

Know Your Audience

Know your audience. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that from English teachers in writing projects in my 30 years of life. I heard it so much I thought I knew what it meant.

Only recently have I realized that I don’t truly follow that wisdom. I don’t have a clearly defined audience to write for, so I often sit down to write and feel stuck.

What Will My Readers Say?

This thought is a plague that eats away at my writing, motivation, and will power. And when my husband says, “Who is “They”?” I just get annoyed. Of course he doesn’t understand, he isn’t trying to whip out 20,000 words a day about everything important in life!

This is a gross exaggeration, and I love my husband very much, but this is what lies do to us.

The lie is that I have thousands of people reading my every blog post and criticizing me as a person.

The truth is I have a smattering of friends and family and a few people brave enough to join the email list who don’t know me personally. These people read the posts that relate to them, just like I do with the blogs I follow.

And if someone doesn’t like a post they rarely criticize. Usually they just stop opening the emails.

The second lie is that I am trying to write so much!

The truth is that I am enjoying a life of being a mother. I am spending great lengths of time with my family, and I believe this is the correct and right thing for me to do.

Now That I’ve Stopped Taking Crazy Pills*

Overthinking what people will think of me keeps me from writing. When I sit down and pray about what God is telling me to write I usually end up with month long series posts or a challenge and my writing goes well.

I was reading through old posts and ran across one that blew me away. What’s Stopping You? This post was written with a joy and exuberance that I have inside of me but rarely share on the blog. I don’t think even my family knows that feeling is inside me most of the time. Don’t I want to share it with the world?

I may not become the next huge blogger. I may not do much more than continue to share my thoughts with you all and gather a small group of people who love me. For me, that would be enough.

*I don’t take pills other than my daily vitamins: C, Fish Oil, B, and Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc/D3.

Community

I am in the process of finding who God wants me to be, to belong in my own skin. And in this quest I am discovering a gaping hole in my life for community. This blog provides small doses of that. Anything I do to grow my audience will be with the goal of growing my community.

I hope you have good things to say in the future, and I hope the changes I make in my blogging life will bless and encourage you. I hope my joy can start to pour out onto the pages, and I hope you can share your own lives with me.

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I Can be Happy!

My Imaginary Friends

In junior high and the beginning of high school I still had imaginary friends. I knew I was too old for them, so I had released my imaginary ducks in the middle of 6th grade. But I kept 3 imaginary blue aliens from the planet Pluto in my head. These imaginary friends lived in my heads much like the emotions in the Pixar movie Inside Out. When I got to college I did not admit having imaginary friends, but instead moved to the idea of a good side and bad side arguing in my head (instead of on my shoulders). The idea of a shadow version of myself worked itself into conversations a lot in those college years.

The reality is that I am likely to think negative things about myself, and there is no little voice, alien, shadow or other self doing it to me. I am the one with the negative words and thoughts about myself 99% of the time. And it has to stop. I don’t think negatively about my kids like this, but I am teaching them to think about themselves this way by modeling this negative behavior.

I Want to Belong in my Skin

This year my word of the year is Belong. I have a dream of Future Annie, a lovely woman I would want to be best friends with. I imagine spending the next year getting to know her, and then looking in the mirror and realizing she is me. I want to love myself the way God loves me, so that I can love others the way I know God has called me to love them. I have truly struggled with the Golden Rule because of self-hatred, and it is going to change this year!

Guilt, Irritation, and Other Lies

I have struggled with guilt to the extent that I think it has become as natural as breathing. I rarely make it through a day without getting annoyed at someone in my tone, sighs, or stares, even if I am trying to hold it in. I have decided this year that those things will not define me. Every mom has to undergo a learning curve of our lives changing dramatically. My body, my time, my meals, my romantic life, my relationships, my family, and every other aspect of my life have been altered by the entrance of kids. This can be hard, but I am doing good as a mom, and I am going to continue to obey God. If I make a mistake I am going to say sorry and pick myself up to keep moving forward. In this way I am going to learn to be happy and to hold onto the joy that is promised to reside in us as Christians.

Choose Happy, Dream Big

I have not been a dreamer until recently. I did not believe I could be happy. But God told me in a prayer time that I can be happy, and I chose to believe Him. I didn’t read a few books and seek counsel, I just decided then and there that I believed him and would spend the year chasing after the dreams He has put in me, knowing He is going to make me happy this year! I claim the promise, and will wait on the Lord as long as it takes.