Saturday, November 22, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

As I walk through the final steps towards a new call there is a LOT on my mind. A LOT.
I have been trying to get it all on paper because when there is a lot swirling in my brain it usually helps to get it down on paper and organize it. Sometimes I even break down the 'to-do' list into the days they have to happen. There is actually too much to even get it all down on paper.


Just about everything is a positive, but of course there will be some loss. One of the losses that might need to happen is this blog.
1) I have seen folks get seriously burned when folks find their blogs.

2) My blog is pseudo-anonymous which in my mind means although it wouldn't show up in a search, if you just happened upon it and you know me, you will know it is mine.

3) I don't get too crazy in my posts, but I do use them to be silly at the least and occasionally to vent. If I can't use it - or trust it - to be that kind of outlet for me then I might as well start another one and be totally public on it.

3) I am running low on time to blog now. I am quite sure becoming Head of Staff of a church 5x my current congregation's size is not exactly going to add to my available blogging time.

4) I could see me and the other associates working on a blog for the new church which combined with #3 means even less time for a personal blog.

So... do I stop? Drop? Or Roll?

Stop blogging/twittering here or anywhere as will smama?
Drop this blog from the internet atmosphere or just leave it up?
Roll into another blogging persona using my real name and real church setting like some of you quite successfully do?

I am not expecting you to answer this for me. Just thought I'd think out loud about one particular thing on my mind before I get back to pen and paper and sorting out the rest of the bajillion things.


Anonymous said...

I rolled... but I rolled to a more secret persona. I have to have some place to put some of the stuff about life and church. However... it is important to know... I serve a congregation that doesn't use the internet that much... and if they do... it's a facebook email thing.

Another option might be to do a private blog... where you invite specific people to participate.

Best of luck in your new call (thank goodness it finally happened)... and may Christ always light your path.

Anonymous said...

I'm an anonymous lurker who will miss your writing, your humor, and your grace if you go and who wouldn't likely find you in a new place. But the whole reason I'm an anonymous lurker is because I don't have the time to really blog myself - I've started and given up twice now - because I am a mama and a head of staff and there just isn't time. So I understand either way you go, and I thank you for sharing your journey that has been among many of you wonderful revgals that have sustained me on the way when I need to know others get it and that it is possible to live through it all, even for us procrastinators.
With love and gratitude and a tinge of a wish that you would stay - an unofficial RevGal

Elaine said...

I hate saying this, because I think that your posts during your divorce were such a fabulous testimony to grace. That being said, I think the only way a head of staff can blog is openly; and then it must be very carefully. There is simply too much appearance that goes into that leadership position.

Norman, Oklahoma

Sarah S-D said...

i shifted to a less pseudonymous blog with this most recent transition, but i'm not totally out yet. i don't really want my blog to be googleable... for lots of reasons.

i imagine as a head of staff i'd be even more cautious.

it took me months to figure out what to do about the old blog, how to handle a new blog. i pray you wisdom for your discernment.

Mary Beth said...

I hate to agree with Elaine, but I do. I have no rev-authority to say this, but somehow if I found out my rector had a blog where he was venting about my would not play out well.

I am stupidly non-anonymous on my blog (just look at my url) but then, I am very intentional about what I put there. And don't.

And man, my heart hurts thinking of missing you if you leave this sphere.

]* and prayers on this.

Reformed Catholic said...

Needing a place to vent or to get input from others in the same boat (or pulpit, so to speak) is a good thing.

Trying to do so without having the congregation find out, is very, very hard.

As some mentioned, a private blog is an option, but then the insights you have may help others not invited.

Restarting with a new blog may be the answer, and keeping everything personal out of it; then having a separate blog that is invitation only for personal blogging.

As you said, a lot depends on how much time you have, or want to spend.

I know that whatever you choose, your faithful readers and friends will back your decision.

Blessings on the new call, may the the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit guide you in whatever you do.

JWD said...

Although I loved blogging, especially in the RevGal ring not all that long after it formed, I found when I moved into my more public job as a professor in a seminary that there was very little left for me to blog about safely. It has been a loss for me, because I had found writing on the blog to be a spiritual discipline that connected me with some wonderful women. But I think it has been a necessary casualty.

Congratulations on your pending call! If you do move to a public blog, leave a link somewhere so we can find you!

mibi52 said...

I would be among the group that would miss you greatly if you stopped blogging, but I fear Elaine is right. I suspect I will create a new public blog once I receive my first call.

Bless you in your new call. You still won't be near oceans and mountains, but a change of place will be great for you...and great for the congregation that is fortunate enough to have you.

And it's more than a little coincidental that the word verificationf or this post is "heroo," as in, you are a hero.

Jan said...

Another almost total lurker here who found your blog at much the same time as I was in similar circumstances to you. I found myself echoing what you said quite often. Multiple affairs but the worst was when I was told that he had learnt to "hear from God." He believed that God had told him I was not the person he should have married, so God did not regard our 40 year marriage as valid. What did he think he'd been doing all that time?? Enough.

I have a blog on another facility which is fairly personal. I vent there. The one BLOGGER will link to you from my Blogspot profile is very impersonal. Blogging to me is an outlet for my feelings and I do us Blogspot for one where I am quite private. That's for stuff I just have to get out of my system.

I'm in a position of leadership in some areas, although not ordained, and can quite understand your dilemma. I really would not want to have that found.

I woul be sorry to see you go. Quite unknown to you, your blog has been part of a support system to me. However, perhaps a public blog and another invitation blog which is "yours" might be the way to go.

I wish you well in your new appointment and in the big change in public and personal arrangements which that will bring.


will smama said...

Your comments have underlined just how much I will be losing if I choose to blog no more. Anyone who saw me on the revgal cruise witnessed a resurrection of spirit and soul that only happened because of the friendships and connections I have made via this format.

Anonymous and Jan, thank you for de-lurking and Jan for sharing your story. I started this blog well before the betrayal and divorce and so my posts during that time being seen as helpful and graceful is humbling indeed to God's work in the details.

Bottom line: a Head of Staff cannot hope to blog publicly without being at some point in time misunderstood in even the most benign post.

I struggle with being misunderstood as it is anyway. My sense of humor (read: NJ sarcasm) does not often translate and I am going to have to find a balance between being a toned down version of myself.

And so it appears that in the very near future, will smama will have served her purpose; a purpose I didn't even know of when I first began.

Peace, friends... and thank you.

MumPastor said...

Will Smama May I join Anonymous and others and say that this blog was very powerful for me. I love your writing style, but more, I love the way you are The Boy's mama with grace and love. Congrats on your new call, you certainly are worthy of it, but I will miss you on the blogosphere. You are among those who got me interested in RevGals in the first place and made me feel welcome there, before I even started a blog of my own. Thank you.

Sue said...

I'll just add to the list of all who will miss your wisdom and your grace here at will smama. I understand though.

I was recently told by a church member that "several" people in the congregation now read my blog. He said that it needed to be more "upbeat" and that the congregation, though they know I've been to hell and back in Headache-Land, need to see my strength now, not my "fragility" (as he put it).

I feel utterly silenced.

I can only comment on the good stuff. Any pain or any difficulty re-integrating into work after six months of med leave - I have to keep that to myself.

I've contemplated getting rid of InnerDorothy, and your thoughts here have helped a lot, as well as the thanks.

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

Another blogger that I follow (in a completely different context) said this

"information that is blogged becomes part of a silent conversation that may never be mentioned in any other setting but nevertheless becomes part of a shared history with a friend or relative" Boomer Woman Blog

Kathryn said...

Having faced the self same questions when I came here in April, you'll know what option I went with.
It means that my original blog, Good in Parts, feels much less interesting and creative (in fact at times it is positively dull)...but there is still some stuff that I feel I can put up there without undue angst.
I don't really have time - taking on NaBloPoMo has brought that home to me in spades as I've found myself blogging at a point in the day when all I long to do is sleeeep, because I've committed myself to a daily post and want to meet my committment.
Dotty, but there we go.
It will be very sad if you become silent here, - but I'm one of the fortunate readers who, having spent time with you irl, don't feel I'll really "lose" you if the blog departs.
Blessings on you as you work through those scary To Do lists - and a hug or two because I can ;-)

DogBlogger said...


Just want to keep in touch, in whatever way works.

Michele R said...

Just thought I'd decloak for a minute and tell you that I'd miss reading your blog. It's really different from just about everything else I read regularly online, and have really enjoyed it. I almost always take something positive away from reading what your write, so thanks!

Good luck in your new posting & in whatever life has in store for you.

Crimson Rambler said...

What the others have said...I would miss you -- and The Boy -- very much...but wish you well, whatever your decision will be.

Purechristianithink said...

I'll speak as someone who continued my semi-anonymous blog after moving from a small church to a HOS position. I did become somewhat more cautious which meant I post less frequently. Also, there is simply less time and energy.

However--as a HOS, it is really important to hang onto those connections and activities that feed your spirit as the position can be high stress and somewhat isolating. If blogging is one of those activities/communities for you, I'd recommend figuring out a way to keep on.

Identity Mixed said...

You need a space to be you. But you also know how hard that is in the online realm. No matter how hard you try to be anonymous, it hardly ever works.

Maybe you can do invitation only and branch out? I just don't want you to stop blogging!

Rev Dr Mom said...

I'm not head of staff (yet anyway) and I think my pseudonymity is fairly secure...but I've had the same concerns. I don't blog that much specifically about work, but recently I've vented about my boss and I may go back and take those down. And I don't know what I'll do when I change jobs. But I appreciate your reflections and the comments here.

Hope you'll stay in touch no matter what happens to Will Smama.

Anonymous said...

Before you totally drop out of the blog-o-sphere, go back and read your entry of September 5, 2005....please don't go.

zorra said...

I will miss this blog a lot if you decide you need to discontinue it, but as long as I do have some way to keep up with you, it's OK.

I hope the PNC and session at your new church already know that you will need a few days of study leave in April. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and to your new congregation. Your humor is the greatest.

This is a first for me - never, ever commented on a blog. I read many of the revgal blogs and continue to give thanks to God for your collective wisdom and grace, your compassion and mercy and sense of justice. I give thanks for your families and for your sense of humor. What I wouldn't give to have a revgal as my pastor (my large, 60+ year PCUSA old church has never had a female on staff. Sigh.)

Know that I hold many of you in prayer and praise God for you.

Thank you for your service, Nancy

St. Casserole said...

It's a tough call.

You've gotten helpful comments. Mine won't be helpful because I'd miss your humor and insight here at your bloggage.

I don't know what you should do.
I know what I want you to do. Keep going here.

Teri said...

ohno! I will miss you dearly, especially having lost one of your blogging family members to the invitation-only thing (I didn't get an invitation...sad). I will miss both of you dearly!

I have never been secret about my blog--it's quite public, uses real names and photos, and is actually the way my current congregation found me. I don't publicize it in the church, but if it comes up naturally it does get mentioned. No one has had a problem so far. Then again, I'm careful about what I post there. I don't write about my congregation, really, unless there are amazingly awesome things that must be blogged. I don't write about my family either (aka I don't write about how much they annoy me sometimes) b/c they also read it. I do feel free to write about my own struggles, with church and friends and life and grief and theology and whatever...but that may be a function of my congregation's culture. I know there are people out there reading it, but it doesn't come up really.

whatever you decide, I hope you continue to keep your support networks in place--you'll need them even in a new place!

Anonymous said...

i'm on the same page as st. cass - selfish? maybe... but will understand whatever decision you make

Anonymous said...

I have come and gone and been secret and not secret and all manner of things. These are the things I know to be true-FWIW

a) the friendships that you've made blogging are hard to keep up unless you also have a blog. This is the only reason I returned to a public blog. My public blog is the most boring blog ever. Because I say NOTHING there. Lots of memes and just little whatever comments. But it allows me to comment on other people's blogs and stay "in the loop"--which is important to me.

b) secret blogs can be useful, but aren't the same as blogging. You don't expand your circle or get outsider feedback. But you do still get feedback on things that are important to you. I've used them and dropped them and used them and dropped them. I don't know what I'll do next.

I would miss you. I do understand that willsmama can't continue. Either it's going to become something else entirely or it's going to go away. Whatever happens, Godspeed.

bythesea said...

I have wrestled with whether or not to keep blogging (a post on the subject around March 1). I'd found myself blogging less once I made the transition from seminary to first parish and then again to current parish. Recently blogging more, but still thinking about an "identity" change. Hope things are going well. I'm going to check the link in your latest post. :) Peace! bythesea