In which Sarah Bessey Writes a Letter to Bloggers…

In which I post Sarah Bessey’s photo

Sarah Bessey writes at Emerging Mummy where she has become an accidental grassroots voice for postmodern and emerging women in the Church on issues from mothering to politics and theology to ecclesiology. Her writing has been well received in many publications including Church Leaders, Relevant Magazine, A Deeper Story, SheLoves Magazine, and Emergent Village. Sarah also works with Mercy Ministries of Canada, a non-profit residential home for women seeking freedom from life-controlling issues. She is a happy-clappy follower of Jesus and social justice wannabe. Sarah lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, Brian, and their three tinies: Anne, Joseph and Evelynn

Hey, everyone! Lisa, here.

I’m happy to include a lovely person, champ blogger, and Canadian beauty– the one, the only: Sarah Bessey. I could tell you that I love Sarah and that I love reading her blog, but then you would just think, “Duh? Who doesn’t, Stupid?!”

Yesterday, she had a gracious response to the flap about under-represented female bloggers by posting her own list, which you can check out with her handy dandy button (link):

So, I’ll just use this valuable spot, after the 50 Button and before the letter from Sarah (yes, it’s beachfront property, baby) to encourage you to sign on for RSS or email updates for continued awesomeness. Lots of great writers are my splendid guest contributors ( a.k.a Series #4Bloggers ). My first ebook comes out May 1 “Soul Care for Creators and Communicators”. It’s free (until NOV 2012) if you sign up for it here. (It too is part of the awesomeness. More on that in the coming days and weeks)

And now, enjoy!

Dear Blogger:

There are so many ways to be a better blogger, to increase your traffic, to maximize your SEO, to make money. 

I practice almost none of them.

After nearly 8 years of writing my life out online, I’ve made almost every mistake one can make. I’ve learned the hard way to write angry, but publish when I’ve calmed down. I’ve received my fair share of angry criticism and lavish praise. I’ve been convinced that I’m God’s gift to the blogosphere and, usually within a few moments, pretty sure that my blog is an abomination upon the earth. And I discovered that what is good for the Google analytics isn’t always good for my soul.

In the midst of the reactionary, often inflammatory, competitive, over-saturated, addictive world of online writing, I repeat to myself, “Remember who you are, Sarah.”

That simple phrase has helped me decide what to write and what to publish, what to leave to other bloggers. It’s helped me focus my content, reconcile my values with my work, make decisions about blog growth tactics, advertising opportunities, networking or relationships. It’s helped me not to crash into despair when someone emails with harsh criticism or fries me up in their own blog post as a “response” served with chips. And it’s also helped me not to get too full of myself when praised, I’m very well aware of who I am and, as every one that knows me in real life can attest, I’m disgustingly normal with flaws and frustrations.

But even beyond the world of blogging, that phrase has helped me make decisions about my priorities and values. It’s helped me to shut the computer down most days, to go outside with my tinies, to make space for spiritual disciplines like silence and secrecy, to make cookies instead of nasty comments. It’s helped me to engage in the hard work of real, skin-on community, to put my physical hands to justice and mercy, to rock my babies to sleep. 

“Remember who you are” means remembering that I’m more than a blogger. I’m Brian’s wife. I’m Anne and Joseph and Evelynn’s mummy. I’m my parents’ daughter, my sister’s best friend. I’m Auntie-Mama to my little nieces. I’m someone who would rather eat popcorn for supper. 

And beyond all that, it helps me remember: I walk in the ways of Jesus. I am a peace maker. I am committed to speaking Love as my first language. I am an advocate for Mercy. I am a grace-receiver, a forgiver, a woman after God’s own heart.

So my friend, remember who are. In the midst of the blogging, beyond the blogging, and through it all, remember this: you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. 

Remember who you are, my friend.  

Love, Sarah
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20 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I am having a spectacularly awful day (related of course to hurtful words) and these, your words, were salve for my soul. Breathing out and breathing in … thank you.

  2. Lisa, thank you for sharing this with me! And Sarah… These words simply encouraged my heart. I am new (ish) blogger with about 9 months under my belt… It is such a roller coaster of “Kachow, I nailed it!” to “Why didn’t anybody comment?” 

    I love the thought that what is good for Google Analytics isn’t always good for the soul. I am reminded daily that no matter how many page views I do (or don’t) get or how many comments I do (or don’t) receive, I am blogging for one reason. For The One. Blessings to you! 

  3. I write this response with tears welled up in my eyes. Your post before I even clicked on this link was my heart cry to God this morning from the bottom of my shower. It has always been the place in which I write stories in my mind and pray my most heartfelt prayers. I love the revelation of who you are and what is most important in life. I too have a blog, but honestly don’t know anything about the world of blogging. I am beginning to realize that my lack of knowledge just may not only be a good thing, but a God thing as well. All I know is that I love share the story God has written for me. Your post in many ways has set me free from thinking I should be different in order to be a “blogger.” Thank you…

  4. One of the big ironies of blogging is that the posts that you labour over and pour tons of time and thought into rarely get the comments, while the ones you bang out in 15 minutes go viral. Murphy’s Law of Blogging or something. Ha! I feel ya….

    Glad to encourage – keep writing for our One. 

  5. You have a point here. But, if you’re writing with integrity it’ll help you, if you’re just ranting, it’ll kick your butt later. since you wrote this with love, that message is clear. You’re helping a lot of people, and I’m so grateful for that, Sarah.

  6. This from you, Jennifer is why I love being a blogger. It makes it all worth it! STAY TUNED for applicable help tomorrow. It’s almost as good as a flannelgraph …A flowchart/infrographic to navigate this territory!!

  7. Sarah, 
    As usual, your words speak LOVE and GRACE and then A LITTLE MORE GRACE. Thank you for your voice. I cannot say it enough. I am new to the public scene (as a recent post brought… well, way more readers than I ever anticipated and thus my anxiety levels to new heights). I so need to be reminded of all of the above. First–to shut down my computer, to walk away from negativity, to let Jesus be the loudest voice, and to remember I am not a big deal. I mean, my 3-days-without-a-shower hair today proves that, but no one can see that through the computer screen. 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. I meant to say “public blogging scene,” HAH. Just read those words out loud to myself and died of laughter, as if I had just stepped into reality . . .

  9. One measure of a good blogger is feeling like we know her (or him) after reading what they write. And liking them. :-) You make yourself known, Sarah, and we like you. Keep going outside with those tinies, and coming back in to write. We need your voice. And like it. Blessings to you.

  10. Love the message to “remember who you are” Sarah. Thanks.

    A while back I decided I would quit looking at my analytics. That actually helped me to focus on the writing and not worry so much about who’s reading. When I stopped worrying about who was reading, I stopped worrying about if my efforts were “worth” it.

    Because how can you quantify what’s “worth” it? Right?

    I sometimes still second-guess myself, until I remember who I am and why I even write in the first place. Then it’s a no-brainer. :)

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