Joe Haward sums up a lot of what I was feeling about blogging at the start of Lent, and still feel to a large extent now:
So I'm checking my blog a lot, reading other people's blogs and spending my time like this. I've noticed that it's starting to have an impact on my prayer life and spiritual health, so it is a problem. Therefore I'm going to have a break from all things blog. I need to have a spiritual workout.
It was noticeable how many bloggers were reviewing their blogging around the start of Lent: Doug Chaplin and Maggi Dawn decided to change their patterns, others quit for the season, I left it open about whether to resume or not.
And to be honest I'm torn. In the 'against' column is everything I wrote 7 weeks ago, plus a few observations since then:
- It feels like I have a lot more time than before
- It feels like I have more energy, and am less preoccupied than before
- Resisting the temptation to opine on things was quite a test, but a good one. I don't
suppose anyone noticed the world ceasing to turn.
- I'm getting to bed a bit earlier, and with less on my mind, because there's no longer the wondering of whether anyone's left a comment during the 10 o clock news. On a couple of occasions I've had awful nights after getting a critical comment or two, and spent hours stewing over them. Not good. Nick Baines notes in his Radio Times column this week (well worth a read) that you have to have a bit of a thick skin to do this. I don't have one of those.
But there's a 'for' column too:
- I enjoy it
- Blogging gives me the chance, and the challenge, of interacting with other points of view and processing my thoughts. Writing stuff down helps me to work out what I think.
- It's a way of continuing conversations begun elsewhere, occasionally sparking off comments on Facebook, or people from other local churches chatting about something I've written, or once in a blue moon actually printing it off for their church leadership to look at.
- With 85 Google Reader subscribers, 490 Twitter followers, plus other links in sidebars and on Facebook, there's a reasonable network/audience linked here now. It doesn't mean that that many people read this thing - I'd be concerned at the waste of time involved if they did. But it does mean that the blog, sometimes, can be a useful signpost, or part of a campaign. Perhaps it would do better at that if I got back to the original goal of this thing, which was to be a place for resources and discussions about mission. It seems to have splurged all over the place a bit!
- One or two comments here, and people I've spoken to, have said how much they appreciate this blog.
- The election: though the overload of verbiage which accompanies it probably won't be any the better for me hopping aboard the bandwagon.
It's a tricky one. I remember a saying 'the good is the enemy of the best' - we're tempted by the things which seem good, but sometimes they get in the way of something better. I don't really want to lose the greater peace of mind, sense of time, and easing in skittishness which the blogging fast has given me. The issue is whether I've the self-control to engage in blogging at a lighter level than before. This is my 1500th post. Is that a good place to stop, or just a good place to take stock?
PS if it's an April Fool you're after, the Guardian has a cracker on Labours new election tactics.