Heather asked these questions, along with some others, over at her place:
1. Why did you start blogging?
In 2004, after I graduated from seminary, I learned that my biggest fear - that the real world of pastoring a church offered way, way, way fewer opportunities for collegiality than school did - was really true. My husband suggested I start a blog, which I did after googling "feminist Christian blog" and finding and developing an instant blog crush on Jen Lemen (who is back online now after a long hiatus) and her cool pals (including Rachelle The Urban Abbess, who has become a real life friend). I poked at it sort of half heartedly for a year or so, but never really developed a style or sense of community until I stumbled on the RevGalBlogPals web ring.
2. Do you feel that you've developed meaningful relationships on your blog? If so, tell a story or two of a relationship that made a difference to you. How are these relationships different and/or similar to your in-person relationships?
I've loaned and borrowed books. I've gotten a lot of advice and given a little. A fellow blogger stayed at my place for a couple of weeks when she needed a place to stay and I was away anyhow. At least one other blogger has become a real time friend, although we read each other's blogs more than we see each other. I've heard lots of stories that resonate with me, and if the voices that told those stories went away, I would be sad.
I have some really important real friendships, so this does not replace them. My blogfriends are just different. I think that's mostly because so much of real time interactions revolve around sharing food, and that's just hard to do online. But I truly dont know if that means those friendships are better or worse, deeper or more shallow. Just different.
5. Were there ever things that you felt you could talk about on your blog to "strangers" that you couldn't tell your flesh-and-blood friends and family?
My blogger voice is different than my real persona. In my blog I'm less prone to ramble (believe it! or not!) and more likely to present only one side to a situation, or at least tie up a situation in a way that makes it seem resolved. In real life, I'm more likely to leave things hanging in conversation. I am more likely to disclose worries or troubles in real life than on the blog, which I actually think is one of the weaknesses of my blog. If I disclosed more I think my blog would be better and more authentic more people would want to read it.
Wait, I havent really answered the question. The answer is, no.
6. Do your family and "in-person" friends read your blog? Why or why not?
Yes. At least I think so - I hardly ever hear from them about it. But when I wrote that I was going to Alanon, I heard from someone about that (and not in a particularly supportive way, more like in a "why the hell are you doing that" sort of way). And I hear from my mom sometimes about things she's read on my blog, especially if she reads that I have a headache, (Hi Mom, I dont have a headache right now. In fact, that Inderal is pretty much taking care of business...) or if I say something nice about her (which is not nearly often enough, btw - Hi Mom, we cant wait to see you!)
My best friend does not read my blog, and I wish she would. But when I tell her about it, she just looks at me like I'm crazy. I guess those phone calls we make every day already pretty much take care of those "what's going on in your world?" conversations.
7. Have you ever regretted admitting really personal things on your blog? Why or why not? No. I think because I am careful to think about whether I would regret something before I write it. I've deleted one or two posts, but I didnt think they were all that personal, only badly written. :)
9. Do you ever think about quitting blogging? Why or why not?
Every day! It takes so much damn time, and I worry sometimes that my real relationships with family and friends are suffering. Not to mention my housekeeping. Early on, I wrote an email to Jen Lemen asking her to clarify something she'd written, she wrote back, and we exchanged emails a few times, but I stopped writing to her, because I was worried about developing a new friendship, when my real-time friendships were suffering. I'm not sure I did the right thing.
Also, blogging makes me insufferably self-conscious and naval gaze-y. Almost every time I have a cute interaction with my four-year-old son, for example, I think: "Ooo, I really have to remember this for the blog." It makes it hard to stay present in the moment, which is something I need to work on constantly anyway.
I keep it up because
1. I think it's good for my writing, at least when I write something of substance and
2. I appreciate the relationships and besides
3. when I hear a news story or something about "what the bloggers have to say about" a certain topic or current event, I feel cool like I'm part of making history.
As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about a dog who needs a nice long walk, two loads of laundry that need folding and a sink full of dirty dishes. Not to mention a web page I'm trying to finish for work, books to read and a husband to talk to. So I'm never sure that the time it takes is worth the time that is being taken from something else.