Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rules For Bloggers. Really?

The road less traveled ...

I've been thinking about my blog, in terms of what the "experts" are saying about how to blog, what to blog, and all these rules suddenly popping up all over the Internet and in writing conferences across the country.

Hmmm. Here's a question you may have asked yourself. Am I an expert in anything other than my  personal journey? What do I have to contribute?

"A great deal," is my answer to that question.

After more than a decade of writing and publishing on a full-time basis, I've acquired a bit of knowledge. Often the road less traveled for me winded itself through communities of publicity and promotion where Michael and I blazed our own trails. Together, we cut through one swamp after another, climbed more than a few cold mountains, and cared less when they said "it can't be done." Or, "you shouldn't do it that way."

I've just come off a ten-day trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I spoke on three separate occasions. Driving to Franklin, NC, through a blizzard where dozens of cars slid into ditches and off the mountain, I said to Michael, "What are we doing this for?!"

"Because we're compelled to go," was Michael's answer to that question.

I've posted on Facebook about each event, but I can say a thread of brokenness followed me on this trip. I wept on more than one occasion, delivering my speeches. I could not help but think how broken I became before God could make something out of me. For me to deny my walk with God, to renounce my roots, the spiritual side of me--it would be like asking me to cut off my hands and hack out my heart. It's not possible. As much as my work is about the dark side of religion, I know there's a light in the midst of it. I know it as sure as I know the sun will rise in the east every morning.

My point is that my blog has always been, and will continue to be, one of inspiration. Occasionally, I inform and enlighten, but to inspire you--that is my mission. You see, without the struggle, the dark halls and the deep valleys, I would not have the inward fortitude to purse my dreams. Dreams so far out of reach that looking back now, it's nothing less than a miracle I lived through it. I've walked through the valley, and I've stood on the mountaintop, but in the valley I found my inspiration. Do you think, for one second, I will change my message to fit within today's rules for the modern blogger?

Something happened to me during those years, I became a different person. Stronger. Determined. My favorite quote, as you may know, is by Helen Keller. "Character cannot be developed in ease and quite. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."

This is the lifeblood of what I believe. My hope today is that you never have to walk those roads. But if you do, know that your journey is for a reason. Each step forward will present a truth about yourself that may be terrible to bear but the mold will break, resulting in a better, a stronger you. A goal reacher.

Today, I enjoy many blogs. Some of us are called to entertain, teach, make others laugh, and inspire. How you do that is up to you but more than anything, you've got to write your heart. It does not matter if you have ten thousand followers, or only two ... so what. Be true to yourself. And let those who make our rules ... live by them. You don't have to.

Blessings to you and yours.

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