Sarah and I have been friends a long time, and our acquaintance began when she found my blog, and then I found hers and we have continued along this path together for almost ten years. I dream of getting to New Zealand one day to visit in person, always imagining us sitting together in some wildish place and looking out to the sky and horizon together. She sometimes appears in my dreams, which will do in the meantime. : )
Sarah wrote this recently at her online home…
“I have kept online journals for several different reasons over the years, but these days, my primary motivation is to give a little something to the world – just a little beauty, or a little thought, or some of the quiet lessons I learn in my own life. And it helps me too; it trains my eye and heart on loveliness.”
Sarah, you’ve been blogging even longer than I. Do you remember what inspired you to begin and how it felt then?
I began blogging in 2005 as a homeschooling mother, wanting to join the community of those who shared their homeschooling experiences and lesson ideas with others. I loved being part of the homeschooling online community, learning from others and being inspired. Like many others, I found myself being more mindful about my teaching and homemaking in order that they may be more “blogworthy.” Although that probably sounds terrible, the sense of something like accountability was actually quite helpful. Blogging lifted my homeschooling game.
After I finished writing on that subject, I moved my blog around a lot, changing its name and its focus, trying to find a comfortable home online, slowly defining my writing purpose.
How did the reading and the writing of blogs used to fit in your days? Has this changed over the years?
I’ve generally always written daily, or every second day, because I find it a helpful mental exercise. However, lately circumstances have led me to a reduced blogging schedule for the time being. As for reading other blogs, I have fewer that I follow these days, partly due to time constraints, and partly because I’m no longer seeking homeschooling advice and inspiration but rather a connection with kindred spirits. That means not only fewer sites in my Reader, but also a deeper, slower kind of reading.
Do you have an easy relationship with comments (numbers of/responding to), stats, and those elements of blogging that can sometimes take too much of our attention?
What I feel to be more valuable than stats or even amount of comments is the community of friends which stands behind those numbers – people I have known for years, or lovely new friends; people who send me private letters or heartfelt comments, and who are beloved to me. They genuinely touch my life in a way stats never can.
In blogging’s “golden days”, there was little competition for our attention…perhaps some forums, as far as I can recall. How many other places on the web now vie for your attention (please name them, if you’d like) and how do you value them in comparison to blogs?
I don’t really read much on a daily basis apart from the newspaper, my small Facebook feed, and perhaps a dozen blogs. Other sources of information and entertainment flicker in and out of my life through links (most of which are supplied by the people on my blogroll or Facebook feed.) I do like pinterest and find the visual storytelling really valuable as my brain works best with images. But nothing online holds more value to me than the writings of the people whose blogs nurture my heart each in their own unique way.
When I contemplate whether or not I would continue blogging if I didn’t have my businesses to consider, I come back to the fact that I live (mostly from choice) a quiet, not-very-social life. On the internet, I’m able to find the kindred spirits that are harder to find in “real life”and find some connection with like-minded folk. How do you think your own way of connecting and being in the world influences your blogging?
I’ve never found value in friendship just for the sake of being with others. Online I have connections with people who love the same things as I, and speak the same soul-language, whereas in my community I’ve met no other adult with whom I can have a heartfelt conversation about my interests; no one who lives as I wish to do or sees the world in a similar way. Lucky are those who can find true kindred spirits locally. Blogging is my opportunity to express in community my love of wild magic, of earth dreaming, of old wise stories, without going somewhere like Dartmoor or the Hebrides.
One of the blogging facets I will explore is how they are often woven with the offering of something…books, online courses, kits, handmade things of all sorts. If you didn’t have your books to let the world know about, would that influence the way you post at your blog?
No, I don’t think so. Actually, I believe blogging has been tinder for my books, rather than merely a vessel for advertising them. It has strengthened and tuned my natural voice as a writer. It reminds me of the sorts of things I wish to write about, whether as monologues in blog posts or stories in books. And I love writing in community, I love sharing stories that are more fleet and small than anything in a storybook, I love words that tumble out wild and fresh. Blogging for me is like a living, deepening, always shifting, kind of book.
Lin October 30, 2015 at 8:55 am
Sarah’s blog is a favorite of mine, so I was very much looking forward to reading this post. I am not a writer, and do not always leave comments with her blog, as I feel clumsy in what I write ~ but I always come away from her blog feeling uplifted or better informed. I love her honesty and connection with nature. And I consider it a gift when she finds the time to leave a comment on my blog as I too do not find kindred spirits living nearby (even though I live in the middle of nature in the Colorado high country).
Thank you for featuring her today, Lesley.
Dawn October 30, 2015 at 9:33 am
I have known Sarah online since 2007, and I loved reading this interview. She represents to me, the best that blogging has to offer. I know that she’s genuine, and she really does offer her words to the world as an act of selfless kindness.
Tessa October 30, 2015 at 10:35 am
If it is written by her, I am there…
Thank you so much, for doing this interview with her.
Jan October 30, 2015 at 12:14 pm
I loved this, it’s interesting to read what it is that pulls someone to write a blog.
Terri Windling October 30, 2015 at 5:56 pm
A lovely and thoughtful conversation. Thank you.
Tammie October 31, 2015 at 1:31 pm
such a lovely conversation between the two of you. thank you for sharing it with us.
I very much enjoy the “words that tumble out wild and fresh” from Sarah. A kindred spirit and so inspiring. It can be hard to find kindreds in our daily lives. That is one of the gifts of blogging.
Debra Eve November 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm
I love the beauty and contemplation expressed in both your blogs. I especially like Sarah’s approach blogging as tinder for writing, as opposed to vessel for selling. Thank you.
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sarah November 7, 2015 at 12:21 am
Dear Lesley, thank you for this wonderful conversation, I so enjoyed it. And thanks to everyone else for such lovely comments 🙂
Karen Edmisten November 7, 2015 at 10:20 am
I’ve known Sarah online a long time, too, and she has brought such beauty into my life!
Love this series, Lesley.