Reasons (Or, Final Words)
I enjoy reading things that make me pause and think deeply. It often takes me awhile to sort out those thoughts and I've found that if I don't write my first impressions down (however incomplete) I lose them. Putting pen to paper helps me take my scattered thoughts and organize them, make sense of them, and eventually articulate them. I'm simply mulling over possibilities and documenting my reactions and feelings. I'm typically not holding my thoughts to the standard I would if I was attempting to make a case for those opinions. That would require sourcing and suspending bias. If I was publishing something scholarly in nature, I would want to do those things, but blogging is not scholarly in nature, right?
Well perhaps I got that bit wrong, if only in part. After all, blogging and posting things to social media are essentially forms of self-publishing. A blog, I've learned, is a lot like a journal with an audience, but an audience that will hold your post to the standard of an article if they happen to disagree with your innermost thoughts.
Thoughts evolve. The more you learn, think, research, study, and reflect; the more you find yourself building views, beliefs, and opinions and altering existing ones. Publishing those thoughts can be a dangerous business. You may be held accountable for things you wrote years ago, for instance, or worse, your words may be misunderstood or hurt people that you love even if that was never your intention. The written word is impersonal in the sense that you cannot see your audience. You are removed from your audience. You may never know how your words made them feel.
I've spent months holding onto this blog, posting sporadically, unwilling to let it go. I liked the idea that it was here waiting for me, but I hardly ever hit publish, even when I spent hours writing and rewriting a post and am pretty proud of the end result. In truth, I write more consistently than ever, but I share less often than ever as well.
It has all come down to one simple question for me: "What is the purpose?"
Why am I writing this? What will publishing this post accomplish?
At one time, the purpose was engaging others in dialogue or, if I'm being completely honest, having a soapbox from which to express my opinions. I've since decided that this is not the best forum for either of those things. Most discussions are more productive in person and opinions are things people usually only want to hear when they ask to hear them.
There was one other purpose that I felt gave me my "why"---I found it to be encouraging.
Other blogs have been a source of encouragement and growth to me. I feel as if I've gotten to know complete strangers through hearing their stories. I've laughed. I've cried. And there are many bloggers who do this blogging thing so well. I also like the notion that perhaps I could be a little more "known" by sharing my story. I've been told that people have found encouragement here.
Still, after a lot of reflection and some pretty honest (sort of tough) conversations with John Paul, I've come to the conclusion that most of the people who find encouragement in my words are people that I can encourage in more tangible ways, while those who do not find that here just need me to be a better friend in "real" life.
I wanted this to be a short post, but I was unable to keep it brief knowing it would be one of my last. I felt compelled to offer some sort of explanation if not for some unknown reader, at least for my own closure.
My hope is that I will continue to find outlets for writing and perhaps that will even take the form of a new, more focused blog (I'm making no promises here). But sadly, I think it is time to let this blog go. These Mountains Are Mine needs a conclusion.