Thursday, April 26, 2012
BlogHer's Life Well Lived Series, Week 36
How does blogging, journaling, writing and connecting online help to increase your happiness?
That is this week's "Getting Happy" question from BlogHer's Life Well Lived Series. Here is the main post at their site.
When I started this blog nearly six years ago, it was at the prompting of a writing teacher who was just beginning to discover the wonders of instant feedback via comments from her readers. The group of us that took the weekend-long workshop each went home, signed on to a blogging site and hit the ground running. For someone who had yet to be published, it was a thrill to see my words in writing in a public space and even more exciting to hear what others had to say about my writing and my thoughts.
More than 500 blog posts later, I've developed the courage to hone my writing skills and submit my work to online publications and traditional publishing houses thanks to the comments of many loyal readers. Three of the original participants in that workshop are still blogging and commenting on my blog and I think we have all learned a lot about how to express ourselves, create conversation, and, more than anything, despite the fact that we live scattered throughout the United States, we have created solid bonds with each other. We support not only each other's writing efforts, but prop each other up in times of difficulty with parenting or illness and celebrate each other's successes in life.
I have found that connecting with others through my blog, Facebook, or other online communities, I am able to share details of my life in real time with a group of people who are like-minded. Rather than calling one trusted friend at a time, I can avail myself of a myriad of perspectives simultaneously and often get information I wouldn't have otherwise gotten. I have found out about new places to submit my work and have gotten published online several times. I have also been able to offer advice and tips to others who might be stuck in familiar positions. While I can't wrap my arms around these women in person or pour a golden stream of champagne into a glass someone is holding, I can certainly offer virtual love and support and cheerlead from afar and I've learned that simply knowing someone is in your corner is often enough to keep you going until your partner gets home and wraps their arms around you.
There is something magical about feeling connected to others, feeling understood, feeling like you're part of something bigger and, while it certainly isn't a substitute for personal, close-up relationships, my online communities are as real to me as those friendships I have with my neighbors. Knowing that my voice is being heard and validated by others is vitally important to my well-being and has sustained my enthusiasm for this solitary endeavor known as writing.
Head on over and enter the sweepstakes if you haven't before.