At this time of year, many of us are thinking about gifts – buying them, wrapping them, tracking down the right ones… the usual holiday craziness. But today I got the greatest gift of all; a simple email from a reader, telling me that we had a shared experience, and she was grateful to have found me so she didn’t feel alone.
That is a present that can’t be beat.
It’s easy to talk about the business side of blogging, to analyze stats, to build up advertisers, and to work on monetizing. But maybe today, in the spirit of the season, we should step away from business as usual and just remember how rewarding blogging is, in ways that have nothing to do with money.
For me personally, the most rewarding thing about blogging has always been the way I connect with my readers. After my rather dramatic experiences around getting and staying pregnant and having my daughter, I feel blessed to have had so many other women like me holding my virtual hand as I went through the stresses of infertility and loss and finally having my crazy kid.
Not only have my readers been a source of support and solace, but so have other bloggers. I’ll never forget the hundreds of ways I’ve seen bloggers help each other. One friend was given a place to live when she faced homelessness. Another had bloggers band together to help replace items lost when her house was robbed. And who can forget how we all bond over sick and lost children?
Lastly, and probably most importantly, is the greatest gift I feel blogging gives us: stories. I am invested in lives and stories, big and small, all over the world through blogs. Most of the times these stories are tiny, perfect moments of ordinary lives, made beautiful by them being shared with gorgeous words, photographs, or recipes. Sometimes the stories are dramatic and terrifying, coming from hospitals, funerals, and disaster zones, as people’s hopes and challenges are faced down and conquered.
For over eight years now, these stories have enriched my life, educated me, helped me parent, changed my perspective, and broken my heart and then put it back together again more times than I can count. I’m so grateful to be part of such a rich and rewarding space. Thank you all for sharing your stories with me. You are a gift indeed.