Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Traffic Jam

There has been a very great struggle in my heart and mind while at Relevant. Such a conflict exists for blogs.

I hear the keynote speakers reminding us to keep our priorities right and to remember that we can't get these days with our family back. I hear the call to be intentional and without masquerade, and the plea to do it all for an audience of One.

Then, in the next breaths I hear ~

How do I generate traffic? How do I keep my readers engaged? Is my blog what my readers are hoping to see? Is it enough to keep them coming back? How do I handle social media like Facebook and Twitter? What about affiliates and sponsors and branding? Advertising? Getting published? Finding and keeping a niche? You are getting the idea, right?

All of these things seem to be on bloggers minds. I've heard these kinds of questions in every session at Relevant.

Can I admit something to you?

This is all very confliciting to me. These are not the questions I am asking. I can't read the hearts and minds of those who are asking - so I'm not pointing the finger at them - just honestly sharing what is going on in my heart.

I've shyly admitted numerous times that I don't have ads, don't have a Twitter account, have never Tweeted and don't know what Tweet Deck is. I don't vlog, don't have a niche, no sponsors, no branding, etc...

And, you know what? I'm ok with that - what works for me is not going to be right for everyone else - but if I added those pressures and fillers into my life, I think there would be some serious kind of traffic jam between my blog and my real life.

I'd rather drive out on the back country roads and see the hidden sights of our world than to be on the interstate with life flying past me a million miles an hour.

I noticed on my way home - driving down the interstate, that on the borrowed GPS - a little traffic button popped up. Green if traffic was good and at one point, it was read with a "21" next to it. Referencing a 21 minute delay due to traffic up ahead.

Some traffic jams are not of our creating. We happen upon them and we have to sit patiently in the midst of it and wait for the cars in front of us to inch ahead so that we can inch ahead to the other side.

In some cases, maybe we are alerted through the traffic button on our GPS that there may be traffic ahead and we can choose another route instead to avoid the congestion.

Still other times, perhaps God nudges our hearts to show us certain decisions are not right for us as they may cause "traffic jams" in our lives.

This goes so much farther than just relating to our blogs. When we make decisions - let us seek Him in knowing if it will jam things up in our lives or keep us on the smooth and steady road He would have for us. And, when we come upon a traffic jam - let's ask Him for wisdom and patience to get us through to the other side.

Is there a traffic jam you could avoid today? Ask God to show you before it comes or if you are in the midst of it - how to persevere to the other side.

47 comments:

Lisa said...

WONDERFUL post Monica!

Catherine said...

Thank you, Monica. I so appreciated this post. "Real" life - real heart life, is so much more worthy of our seeking.

Lecia said...

I love this post! Thank you for the reminder that these days will be gone before we know it and we can't get that precious time back.
While I love to blog because I love to write I know that it really doesn't matter how many people read my blog. What matters is how I spend time with my own little family.

Leanne said...

I love that you don't have ads on your blog. I also love that I feel refreshed and blessed when I daily read you (which I think is going on FOUR years!)...just keep being who YOU are! and sharing your heart...the rest of us will follow:)

Crystal said...

Struggling with the same things you are. Thanks for the post.

Kathi @ A Mother's Prayers said...

I have read a dozen or so posts now on Relevant...and you are the only one...THE ONLY ONE...who mentioned that anyone really cared about blog traffic, vlogging, followers, etc.

When my husband and I talked about it months ago...we came to the conclusion that your posts was about.

I want to thank you for being honest. I also want to thank you for your blog. I'm struggling with what to do with mine, and I appreciate what you had to say in this post, and will be thinking about it.

P.S. I don't know what Tweet Deck or Niche even is...

Susanna @ frecklesandlace said...

thanks so much for sharing your heart Monica...and if you are conflicted, definitly go where the Holy Spirit is leading you!

Tasha said...

Monica,
Your blog is perfect the way it is! I don't do twitter, got FB out of my life and the ads on my blog too. It feels more like a personal blog to me. And that is how I like it.
Keep doing what you are doing. I like the old country road ride. :)

Bonnie said...

Just wanted to say that people will come back to your blog, we DO comeback! Your blog has long been one of my favorites, you teach the beauty of making everyday things a celebration, you encourage us, share your struggles and victories, you demonstrate crafts, post recipes, and encourage the art of hospitality, to guests and most importantly to your own family. You are not about promoting yourself as a lot of what I will call "Super-Bloggers" do. I tend to dislike those because they always seem like "Look at me look at me! Aren't I great and don't you want to be like me?" Your are about promoting family, your faith and sharing your God-given talents in a friendly and humble way, that makes you approachable and human. I think we could all honestly call you a friend, though many of us have never met you, and that my dear, in my opinion, is far more important than tweeting and playing who has the most followers.
Blessings on your day Monica, as you have so often blessed mine!
Bonnie

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing this, Monica. Love you AND your blog--as is!

Simple Life said...

Very good post! An honest heart!

Bevy said...

Amen and amen! I didn't go to Relevant... but I've been feeling these sorts of vibes - already. I don't know that I could've said it any better then you just did.

I love the analogy of the traffic jam.

It's a matter of being real... open and honest. Just to be yourself.

And that's what makes your blog (and everyone's for that matter) stand out.

Ruth said...

Monica, thank you for the honest, from your heart post. You are so right!
My blog is young. It is a result of my husband desiring us to leave FB. I too do not tweet. My blog has two purposes, to bless with encouragement from the Lord, and for family and friends to be informed with our lives. Someone suggested that as a SAHM, I could use my blog to earn money. Monica, I really do not want to feel as is I have to write certain posts, or even write at all if the Lord has not placed something on my heart.
I agree with everything you said. We must always keep our focus on the Lord, and on Him for direction. Your blog is a gentle encouragement to me. Keep up the good work!! :)

No Ordinary Me said...

Monica,

I think you have a lovely blog. I appreciate you and just the way it is.

I always say that I would rather have one reader that is full of encouragement than 10 if it will cause me a headache.

LynnMarie said...

Monica,
I so appreciate your honest heart - that is why I come here. Finding balance is always hard and putting God first is and has to be top of the list. Everything else will care for itself.

being molded said...

What a huge blessing to read, Monica! I pray your blog never changes to head in that direction. It is a huge blessing to visit with you here and glean from what you share. I see enough ads and bright lights during my day ;-) I love the simplicity of your spot in cyberspace.

flyonthewall said...

This is a very well thought out journal/blog entry. I would strongly encourage people to properly evaluate their reasons for "blogging" or whatever technological social outlet they are using. My own personal belief is that there is no reason to be concerned about drawing the crowds or having sponsors, etc... if what you have written is to be used in someone else's life, God will lead them to your blog - without using all the bells and whistles this world has led us to believe are necessary. And, as it appears to be the case of this particular blog, if your purpose is to chronicle your own life and spiritual journey for the benefit and edification of your children (and others who get to "look over your shoulder"), then what other sponsors could you need? Only your spouse, I would think. (-: It's so important to evaluate why we do what we do.... is it to bring attention and glory to our Lord and Savior...or to ourselves. And I will emphasize at this point, this is my personal conviction, and I am NOT condemning others for their choices. Monica, thank you for always sharing so openly from your heart. You always help to keep me focused on what wonderful things our God has done and can do in our lives...and where priorities should be.

Tina Leigh said...

I decided after my grand daughter came into the world that some things were just not as important. I love to blog!!!! But it is very time consuming....working full time, having a farm, and now my grand...well I just cant do it. I post when I can. Do i have readers anymore...no so much, but that is OK. I love to look at other blogs. The inspire me often.

Follow your heart.

CountryMama@The Cozy Country Home said...

Great post! I feel the exact same way. I have a blog, ad-free, don't really know what a "niche" in the blogosphere is (while I know what my niche in life is), have never Tweeted; don't even know what Twitter is actually, and I'm probably the only one out there not on Facebook! If people want to read what I have to say, they'll find me. My friends and family know where I am. And that's good for me. No one to answer to (sponsors, etc.), except for the ones that matter!

Bridgett said...

Great Post! I love your realness!

Shannon Miller said...

Monica - I so, so agree! I use to feel so envious of those bloggers who had big, popular blogs with billions of followers. But that's not what I'm called to do right now. My blog is more a scrapbook than anything:)
I'm so glad that you blog. I get tons of refreshment and wonderful ideas from coming here. But I'm also glad that you chose not to try to make it "big". You don't have to turn your home into a Bed and Breakfast to be hospitable:)

Branch Of Wisdom said...

This was beautifully written and pours out your heart...the reason, I believe, is a special factor in blogging :)

Thank you for keeping it "real"!
~Tamara
www.BranchOfWisdom.com

Wendi said...

Great post! I like your blog just the way it is. One of the things that pulls me in is the honestly and simplicity. All of the ads and such seem like clutter to me and certainly don't lead to a feeling of simple living.

angie said...

And I think your readers sense your commitment to authenticity. None of your photos are staged, you don't purposely ask a teaser question at the end of each post to elicit comments, etc. We appreciate that your blog chronicles your spiritual, family, homemaking, and crafting life. All of which would happen even if you didn't have a blog.

I think we all struggle with the "back road/interstate" decision at some juncture. For me, it is the decision to work or stay at home. My kids are in school all day...my organizational skills are sought after...it might be fun to interact with more people during the day. But in the end, I know that something would have to give, and it would likely be my family.

2plustwinsmom said...

Great post! I don't comment very often, but I do read your blog daily. I like your blog just the way it is!

Thanks for sharing what's on your heart as you are attending the conference! You've challenged me, and you've also encouraged me, too.

Thanks for all you do!

Julie said...

This is a challenge for me daily... how to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus while living in a distracting world. I really believe that if we honor Him the rest will be taken care of.
Continue on! I think you are doing a wonderful job.

Julie said...

This is a challenge for me daily... how to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus while living in a distracting world. I really believe that if we honor Him the rest will be taken care of.
Continue on! I think you are doing a wonderful job.

Leanne said...

Monica, I read this again this afternoon...I'm really considering leaving FB and forcing myself to stop reading a lot of blogs altogether, just so I don't constantly fall into the trap of "measuring up!"...I just want you to know that I love the heart you have for God and your children and your family...it has encouraged me, many days! thank you!

Cheryl said...

Very well said.
I am so thankful that you don't have sponsors and ads and the like. You have a great following without it. You are right, if we put too much of our time in our blogs we won't be able to enjoy real life.
I think you always have a good balance...and when you don't, you share that with us. I think we all love that you are transparent, real and we can relate to that. Just like the others, I too feel refreshed after I have stopped by.
Safe travels...hope you made it home safely.

Mom said...

Dearest Monica -- I loved this post -- it is so you! And that is one of the things I love about your entire blog -- that it reflects who you are and what you believe in and love. I'm proud of you for staying true to yourself and what you believe God would have you do. There are plenty of commercial blogs and other online sites if that is what people want. But your blog is a place for quiet beauty and simplicity -- which is so welcome in this age of being bombarded by ads!
Love you lots, Mom

Gina said...

Monica -
Posts like these are why I keep coming back to your site. You have such a way of bringing my life back in focus.

I too have struggled with the balance. I've chose not to FB or have ads and have no idea how to tweet. I'm not saying they are wrong - or that I'll never do them, just not for me, not now.

You are a blessing to so many. I hope that the Lord fills your cup in a way that monetary gain never could.
Gina

Seasons of Life said...

Monica ~

You are not alone...I don't tweet or facebook or whatever else may be out there. I blog...I share a little bit of me as a means to hopefully encourage someone, edify someone, maybe my post will be a means the Lord uses to bless someone. Posting for me is also a little way of sharing with friends and family (new and old) things that are happening. It is not somewhere I share the depths of my heart...that is reserved for the Lord, my husband and the ones He has surrounded me with ~ tried and true. Sometimes a glimmer of depth may be shared, but the Internet {for me} is not the place to share what I wouldn't publically stand infront of millions of people to share.

If someone visits, they can choose to stay a while and visit OR they can choose to move on to another site. Blogging {for me} seems less invasive because of that...unlike other venues {IMO}.

Your blog is a blessing, an encouragement and I'll journey with you on that country road versus the high traffic interstate of communication.

Blessings and encouragement ~

Debra said...

Great post! I feel the same way. I like knowing people read my blog and would like to have even more readers and commenters but don't want to make it a full time job - I already have one here at home. Maybe one day I'll have the time to put into making it more than it is but right now it is what it is.

I like that you don't have ads on your blog. I love checking in with you each day and reading what you have done with your family or what's in your heart on a specific day. It's just great! Thanks!

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Our time was only much, much too short.

I am so grateful our Father let us sit at the same table together... beside each other.

I love your heart.

Adell said...

I love your site just the way it is!! There is no need for ads or any of the extras!

Katie said...

Dear Monica,

I have always seen your blog as a reflection of your love and service to the Lord, your family, and to His people. Your mother's comment hit the nail on the head, and those very words came to my mind as I read this post ~ you have remained "true to yourself" and to the Lord's calling throughout your blog journey. I think the "traffic" that has been generated here has been drawn in because of your faithfulness to the things that matter most...it is so very evident in every post. The Lord has used your blog to minister to my heart, and I will always be grateful! May the Lord go before you and along side you in every aspect of your blog.

Blessings dear friend,
Katie

**Psalm 143:8**

Anna said...

Monica, I just wanted to chime in with everyone else to say I love your blog just the way it is. Yours is one of the few that I come back to every day because it's inspiring, encouraging, and quite simply, beautiful. I also see it as a ministry. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

Megan said...

Sounds like you found the ending. *wink*

Kenj said...

Yes, yes, and yes! I've been conflicted over the years about these things, too, but ultimately I've had to stand firm in my belief that God will bring whom He wants to my blog when He wants them there. He does a killer marketing job ;)

kymk99 said...

I love your blog! You share what it means to be a homemaker in this fast pace world. I appreciate your heart and the wonderful crafts and recipes you share on your blog. I pray that you continue to do just what you have been doing and not worry about all the other stuff that 'everyone else is doing' on their blogs. :o)

Kisha said...

I also love that you don't have ads on your blog, it's more peaceful reading your blog, and makes me feel like you are being more real and less on the hunt for more readers, more fame, more money, etc. Thank you for a beautiful post.

Kim~HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs said...

Great post, Monica :)

barbara said...

Great post Monica! I was thinking about that GPS . . . it really shows you traffic jams and how to avoid them?! Mine doesn't do that, but I'm glad it doesn't - - maybe God wants me in the traffic jam; maybe He wants me praying during that time (possibly for the people in the accident ahead?); or maybe He's stalling me from being in an accident.

I love your blog just the way it is - I especially like the simplicity - no ads! I don't blog or FB or Tweet or Sing or whatever else is out there! I just email and visit a few healthy blogs like yours. I visit every day and I'm always encouraged and blessed. Thank you for being who God made you to be. Don't let Satan deceive you into thinking that you could be bigger and better. You're already there - because you're a child of the King and that's what matters!

Dorothy said...

Monica, I LOVE your blog just like it is. I love you just like you are, so precious to the Lord and to those blessed by reading your blog. I am 61 years old, a grandmother with an empty nest yet yours is the first blog I read each day. May God continue to pour out his blessings on you and your precious family.

Anonymous said...

THat sounds very conflicting to me too. I think many times we are all blind to ourselves, and I hope that your way of doing things here (which is a WELCOME respite!!!!) is a quiet nudge to people to perhaps think about what they really want their blog to be. If you were ever to change your mind and go in a different direction, that is of course your choice as this is your blog but I love what you have here - truly love it and have come here through the last several years. It is such a quiet restful place.

frugalfriends said...

Excellent post Monica and the topic is something that I definitely touched my heart!

Kaira said...

I don't have a lot of those big blog questions but I have started testing the water a little and it's an awkward thing. I remember 5 years ago when I started blogging and only a few family members read to see how the boys were growing and I never had a dream of it being anything more. I need to remember those easy days and how content I was with them. Great post!