We’ve all heard of the Seven Deadly Sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.
Talk about a fun way to spend a Saturday night!
And then there’s the Seven Virtues, meant to counteract the Seven Deadly Sins: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.
That’s what you do the morning after.
And while the binge/purge nature of the Sins and the Virtues is certainly compelling, I got to thinking:
What about blogging? What virtues are to be found in the wild and wacky world of online pontification?
I’m no expert, but I’ve been doing this for a bunch of years now, so I thought I’d take a stab at it.
(I’m sure there are Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging as well, but here in Goofball land, we’re all about enlightenment. I’ll leave the Sins to someone else!)
So here goes:
The Seven Virtues of Blogging
For a long time, blogging was something everyone told me I should do. I had written a novel and people said I should write a blog about being a writer.
Well, we all know that doing something because you should do it is for chumps.
And I try to avoid being a chump as often as possible.
It wasn’t until I had the inspiration to do a blog that reflected my passion – spiritual humor – that I had the energy to actually do it. Once the inspiration and energy kicked in, the resources to make it happen magically appeared.
Early on, I had an image for how my blog should look. More precisely, I was meditating and saw a picture of one of my blog posts. There, on the computer screen in my mind, were photographs along with the text.
Sure, most of the blogs I was reading only had one photo at the top of the page.
But that’s not what I saw. I saw pictures going along with the text. Kinda like a little kids’ book.
And little kids are awesome!
When I mentioned this idea to one of the people who was helping me develop the blog, he didn’t like it. He told me that having pictures in the blog would stop people from reading it.
But I saw it in my meditation! The voices pictures in my head told me to do it!
Given that the focus of the blog is spirituality, I knew I had to trust the vision.
Since starting Life in Z-D, I can’t tell you how many people have told me how much they love the photos.
(Really, I can’t tell you. I have no idea.)
Plus, using photos has allowed me to use the Flickr Creative Commons site, which allows me to share photographs from people all over the world.
Before I started this blog, I had come out as gay. Everyone who knew me knew I was gay gay gay gay gay.
But not everyone knew how frickin’ woo-woo I am.
Being willing to be out there as a spiritual-type person was, in many ways, scarier than coming out as gay.
People mock the woo-woo. We’re seen as flaky. And gullible. And – worst of all – appreciators of Enya.
No way did I want to be seen like that!
And yet – I’m Woo-Woo. I’m super Woo-Woo. I’m the Wooest of the Woo!
And it was time to tell the truth about it.
Yes, some of my relationships have changed because of it. There’s more distance between me and the less Woo.
But any changes that have come about have been a result of my honesty.
And – honestly?
I’m grateful I had the courage to tell the truth.
Yes, blogging is all about the cyber world. It’s all about sitting alone in a room, typing on a keyboard, and broadcasting ideas into the ethers.
But what’s been amazing is how this has deepened my connection with real people in the real world.
More than once, I’ve thought about giving up. And every single time, within 24 hours, I’ve run into someone who tells me how much they enjoy reading the blog.
Not only that, I have Google Analytics, so I can see how many people are checking it out. Including people from faraway lands.
And faraway lands are awesome!
Every now and then, I write a post I’m sure is going to totally take off.
Everyone is going to love this one! It will draw readers from all over the land!
And then it doesn’t.
On the other hand, I write a post that I deem mediocre.
Only a handful of people will read this one. It will draw readers from only .000000005% of the land!
And then it’s my most popular post in months.
In other words, I have no idea what will happen with any given blog post. Even if I do have ideas about what will happen, they’re usually wrong.
Attachment to any particular outcome doesn’t serve anyone. Least of all me.
Hey, look at that! One of the old-school virtues made its way onto my list.
(At least it wasn’t chastity!)
Patience is one of those things that’s always a good idea.
Like wearing elastic-waist pants when you eat popcorn and watch TV.
No? Too random?
But really. In every area of my life, patience always comes in handy. The blog is no exception.
I’ve learned to be patient with myself as I learn new tools and techniques – like Photoshop. And my WordPress template.
I’ve learned to be patient when the numbers of readers dip in any given month. Only to rise back up again in the next few months.
And I’ve learned to be patient about the timing of certain subjects.
I was sure, when I started the blog, that I was going to talk about being transgender right away. But I didn’t. It didn’t feel right.
I waited until it did feel right. And then I wrote about it.
All in good time, my pretty. All in good time.
Remember Garanimals? They were a super nifty line of clothing where you mixed and matched your outfit according to animal categories.
If you bought a giraffe top, it would match with all the giraffe pants. (Plus it would make you really tall!) If you bought rhino pants, you could wear it with any of the rhino shirts. (And it wouldn’t make you look fat!)
It was totally groovy!
Over time, I’ve realized that my blog is a lot like Garanimals.
I do a fair amount of public speaking, and I’ve found that many of the blog posts make great topics for a talk. Conversely, many of my talks become blog posts.
The giraffe talk matches the giraffe blog post, and visa versa.
Plus my whole life is like one big Garanimals mix and match.
An experience I have on Wednesday becomes a blog post/talk, which then becomes a talk/blog post, which then leads to another experience, which then becomes another blog post/talk.
Not to mention the other accessories that stem from the life/blog/talk loop – like new connections with people, or new gigs, or new ideas for other projects.
It’s a Garanimals free-for-all!!
So there you have it! The 7 Virtues of Blogging!
What virtues have you discovered in your vocation? Share your comments below!