A recent Instagram that really has nothing to do with this post
Another six months of blog silence and I find myself wondering... should I write a new post? Publish one of the countless half-finished posts sitting in my drafts folder? Should I write my final post? Delete the blog entirely? Launch the redesign?
These questions lead to more thinking. What’s the point of Gathered Heart? It’s something I’ve asked myself on more than one occasion. Why keep up with this little slice of the web where I record and share pieces of my life with dear friends, total strangers, and perhaps some who are a mix of both. Do I to it to stay connected? Is it self-expression? Self-promotion? Why make it public? Why not journal more?
When blogs started years ago, internet culture was so different. I myself had a xanga (ha!) where I would pour my naive teenage heart out – paragraphs and paragraphs about movie nights with friends, recaps of mission trips, lists of albums that I was listening to, dreams of college life and the future. All my friends had xangas too, and we would comment on each other’s posts: I can’t believe Mr. Whetstone assigned us a seven-page paper, either! I love Hellogoodbye, too! Your new profile pic is so artsy!
Search optimization didn’t exist. Professional blogging wasn’t a full-time job. Social media (if you can call MySpace social media...) was just a blip on the radar. People weren’t constantly connected to the cloud or notified instantly when something was updated.
Things are so different now. Our culture is obsessed with internet fame and going viral. Blog posts need beautiful photos that are pin-worthy. Information must be presented in bulleted lists, 140 characters or less. Everything must be mobile-friendly. A successful blog could mean a freelance contract, a book deal, paid sponsorship, your own line of party supplies at Target. You need to find a niche (food! techie stuff! babies! design!) and cater to that market. Create fresh, unique content that readers won’t find anywhere else, and be sure to update daily to keep ‘em coming back for more.
Well, that definitely isn’t me. I tried to fit that bill for a while and quite frankly I wasted a lot of time. I am proud of a lot of my writing, but I also have to laugh at some of the things I shared (like the sad food styling in my one and only recipe post) and some of the things I spent time on but never posted. Someday I think I’ll share a post of all the silly things I took pictures of because I might blog about them. Those photos need to be cleaned off my hard drive anyway.
I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with Gathered Heart. I still love blogging and the blogging community, but my priorities have changed as a person. I’m no longer a fresh college graduate working part time at Game Stop. Pretty soon I won’t even be able to call myself “twenty something.” I’m constantly picking up tiny hair bows and stuffed animals and crumpled socks from my living room floor. I get really excited when I find a new one-pot dinner recipe that actually tastes good. I can’t justify spending a few hours drafting a post when I have a family, a full time job, a life to keep up with (totally not judging those who do, by the way! It’s just not me.)
All that to say: there’s still something so rewarding about publishing a post that I’m proud of. An illustration I worked on to stretch my creative muscles, a new set of goals I’m inspired to reach (even if I fall flat of those goals almost every time...), musings on motherhood, a recap of an adventure, a list of things I love... because, maybe, just maybe, someone else out there loves them too. Someone else out there is looking for a new adventure, inspiration for a project. I blog for many reasons: to collect and catalog my thoughts, to be inspired and in turn inspire, to polish my writing skills, to connect with likeminded individuals. So I’ll keep gathering all the pieces of my heart here and do my best to make this little slice internet a brighter place.