Blogging is dead? Whatever.
What do you even say in a blog post after you haven't blogged in years? Do I go back and try to recount everything that's happened? Do you just start writing like nothing ever happened? And WTF, didn't we all decide that blogging was dead?
In a multi-year conversation I have with a few of my closest friends, Laura, through giggles, says, "Guys, it's 2018 and I'm going to start a blog." We all giggled back at her self-deprecating humor, because we were all part of the blogging boom of the early 2000s, before it turned into "Influencer Marketing" and feeds full of advertisements and brand partnerships. Between the four of us in the group conversation, we probably published tens of thousands of blog posts during our tenure as "mommy bloggers." Anyway, Laura starting a blog felt very vintage when we were talking in the moment, which seems silly, since it wasn't that long ago. But after the reminiscing, we enthusiastically praised the project, saying it was the perfect medium for what she wanted to do.
That was months ago and the conversation never really left me alone. Then, on Twitter & Instagram this week, I mentioned that I missed the good ol' days of blogging, when we just wrote about mundane things in our lives, when we wrote without the pressure of making a point, or throwing a punch. When we shared (and sometimes, overshared, regrettably) about our kids and marriages, where we posted pictures from vacations and outings. It was the moment in the lifespan of the internet when we all managed to push "record" on our lives at the same time - the lovely, the messy, the beautiful, the hard. We peered in on each other's blogs - living rooms, or front porches, as we liked to call them - to catch glimpses of how each of us parented, decorated, dressed, worked, stayed married, survived divorce, went to church, left the church, traveled the world, gave birth, grieved death, and everything in between.
A lot of us started writing because we were at home with babies and very small children and it gave us connection during nap times. Some of us wrote because our workplaces were a drag and it was an escape during the lunch hour. Some of us wrote because we were writers, and it was the best way to practice getting our words in front of people. Sure, there were a lot of negatives, especially when monetizing our displayed lives became a thing. But, for a lot of people, myself included, it was a magical time. Some of my very best friends - the friends you call when your world completely blows up - came from those blogging years.
But on top of all the connection and friendship that came from writing on the internet in those early days, blogging was a place to simply write about your life. You didn't always have to package it, it could just stand as a moment in time, a piece of a record book in which you could look into years later and reminisce.
I missed it. I missed having a place to stretch my proverbial legs and let the words fall where they may. I miss writing out the stories behind photos. (Sorry, novel-length-Instagram-caption-writers, if your caption is more than 3 sentences, I scroll past it.)
Like I mentioned earlier, I posted on Twitter and Instagram that I missed it. The response was overwhelming. Mega-bloggers of yore commented & sent me messages, telling me how much they missed the joy of it. Readers of all stripes encouraged a return to the mundane writing of daily life. I was talking that same day with my good friend Nate, and I told him, I think we get too pigeonholed into lanes these days, that we forget that we're all multifaceted, that there are these other rich areas of meaning and life that inform our work & our perspectives. Sure, I write about politics and policy and I co-host a religion & politics podcast, but I'm also a mom to two young kids. My youngest is about to start kindergarten, my oldest will be going into third grade. We just moved from a big city to a small town. We're an adventurous family - always rafting, camping, biking, skiing, exploring. We've been through huge changes in our faith over the last couple of years. There are a lot of things in the background of my life that matter just as much as what I say publicly about politics. To me, they matter 1000x more. So why not write about them, even if it's just for me?
So, here I am. Blogging may be dead, we may have moved on, and that's fine. But, I feel like I still have more to say. At the very least, I have some things I want to remember about this moment in my life, so I'm going to write them down here.