Blogging Away

Does blogging have to be an individual, quiet-space activity? Can blogging be a room full of people who are all learning, talking, collaborating and writing their stories side by side on twelve laptops? Many people think of blogging as something we do on our own, maybe in the quiet of a morning tea, or on the back yard deck after supper, or before a late night Netflix episode of Suits or Grey’s Anatomy. But what happens when you blog with other people, exchange ideas, blog in the company of friends and community? What happens when blogging becomes more social than we imagined?

This week we had our first of four sessions of “Beautiful Blogging” at the Byron Library. We learned together step by step from the very beginning, from “what is a blog” to looking at WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr; next week Squarespace, Weebly, and more. We sifted through themes, creative design tips, menus. We set up our own blog sites, created site titles, learned about tags and categories, and most of all, everyone went home with their first blog underway!

I could not contain my happiness that so many new folks, including many seniors, went home to blog. So of course what do you do after you’ve been inspired by your fellow bloggers? Write about it on your blog! I was blown away by the variety and beauty of the reasons I heard for why our participants wanted to join the class and blog with us. One woman said her son and grandchildren are on the West Coast and she wanted to share her life stories and photos with them. Another has a Life Coaching business and wanted to set up a social media space to support her clients. Another said he writes novels and wanted to get feedback on some of his chapters. One senior said “I just want to learn something new!”

Next session we move onto the topic of content. Uploading media and photos, adding more layers of content, and thinking about the best ways to shape our words and tell our story. How do we give voice to what lives inside us? But most of all, I can’t wait to do some community blogging. In our last two sessions, we will put two large tables together, sit around them in a circle, and blog away, letting our shared ideas, group creative energy, inspiration, and social company inspire us as we write.

My life is about sharing through story or narrative. How do we put together the words that represent who we are, and give voice to our story? Blogs are a beautiful platform to elevate voice to a community level, and help us to know we are not alone in this world. If you want to learn to blog or join in with some community blogging, let me know. I’d love to hear from you! And whatever your reason, whether you have a particular topic in mind like textile arts or boating or travel, or whether you want a place to discuss social justice issues or community events, or even the most personal story of family and relationship, I encourage you to put your words to the screen, and give life to your voice.

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Some stories from home, some from travel adventures (usually in autumn), some happening in community, friendship and faith, and some about the vulnerable, lonely and excluded. To honour them because they have changed me for the better and taught me how to love more fully and be loved more fully. Some days are great, some good, some not always good. But overall, it's been a beautiful journey so far, and I feel more like myself every day. -- Debra, writer / photographer / blogger / traveller

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