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afternoon ramblings ~ blogging and living the good life

Switch Set Apart 17I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately.  Maybe thinking about it more than actually doing it, oops.  Hate it when that happens. But I haven’t just been thinking about this blog, I’ve been thinking about blogging in general.  Obviously, I’m super into it.  Really.  If you follow me on Twitter, you will often see links to posts I read throughout the week.

I follow a bunch of blogs, mostly of the fashion/style and home decor varieties.  When I started following blogs, it was way back in MySpace days.  Some of the top photographers in the country were posting links on MySpace to their beautiful photography blogs, and I was hooked.  I also used to attend a huge photography convention in Vegas, where they preached blogging as an awesome marketing tool for your photography business – which was true and worked for a lot of people, including me.

I started blogging then, on MySpace.  So lame, I know, but so cool at the time.  Seriously, all the cool people were on there.  It was new and exciting and fun.

I had never been much of a journal keeper, so I wasn’t necessarily drawn to blogging as a personal journal.  What I initially loved was the ability to share bits of people’s stories through the photos I had taken of them.  And also, I enjoyed getting a peek into people’s lives through beautiful photos other photographers share.

Some things never change, as I am still attracted to a blog with great photos.  But a lot of things do change, and I’d say my interests in blogs and blogging are very different than they first were.  Now, I only loosely follow a few photography blogs; and of those and all the other types of blogs I follow, I am drawn to the bloggers who allow a strong personal voice to come through in their posts.

Maybe it’s the effects of social media, where we have the ability to know about others’ lives without really even knowing them.  Maybe it’s just me and my fascination with human beings and their stories.  Whatever it is, it comes down to this: I love following blogs, but mostly {pretty much only} blogs with a personal voice.

That has also trickled over into my own blog.  I am still doing a lot of photo shoots, and I’m still loving them.  But I’m not blogging them as much.  Part of that is laziness and procrastination, sure.  But a big part of that is also the fact that it’s harder for me to add my personal voice and share my stories on posts filled with posed photos of others.  I mean, I’m doing that with this post right now, but these are goofy photos from a youth retreat with my church, not a lovely session someone paid me to do.  And yes, I’ll talk more about the retreat in a minute.

There’s always this struggle {for me, anyway}, as a creative.  I want to appear “professional” because I am: people hire me to do photo shoots.  But I also am a real person, not a big company or corporation – and honestly, I have no desire to be a big, anonymous thing, even if it were super successful and made a lot of money.  I thrive on relationships and connections, not money and fame.  But money is nice and necessary and makes life easier, for sure.  And I want to use my creative talents to make money, of course.  I struggle with balancing how I present myself online.  It’s just the reality we live in now.  What if someone comes here to my site, and looks around, and doesn’t get a professional enough vibe, and doesn’t hire me for a shoot because of that?

It’s something I think about.

But I have come to a place of not caring so much.  I don’t want that to come across wrong.  I do care.  But I also want to use this blog as a personal place to talk about my life.  And yes, to post cool, fun, pretty, stylish, or whatever photos also.

It helps to know {or at least feel like} people don’t maybe follow blogs as much as they used to.  I feel a little more freedom to write about whatever I want because I know a million people aren’t reading this blog.  Maybe things will change some day, maybe they won’t.  Maybe more people will read, maybe less.  Whatever happens, whatever direction I go, my goal is to achieve a good balance between personal and professional voice on here.  I know I’m not there yet, but give me time – I’ve only been doing this for about eight or nine years now, ha!

In all seriousness, though, I think the blogging world is fluid: things change and times change and bloggers change.  So what worked years ago might not work now.  What works for one person won’t work for another.

The way I see it, my blog is something I created, so I want to treat it like I do my other creations and try to use it to build connections and relationships and share beauty and love.

Speaking of love and beauty, let’s talk about these photos…Switch Set Apart 20The past couple of weekends have been wonderful for me.  These photos are from the weekend before last.  As I’ve mentioned many times, I volunteer with Switch, our teen program at my church.  We had our spring retreat, and it was awesome.  From the car ride there and back which formed new friendships; to lip sync battles, laser tag, and human foosball {which can only serve to build and deepen relationships, obviously}; and of course, quality time spent talking to, with, and about God – it was an amazing time.

Have you ever heard of Chazown?  It’s a book {by my pastor}, an experience, a way to work through your life experiences and passions and clarify what God’s purpose is for your life.  When I went through it, my “Chazown” was something along the lines of: “To build relationships and community in order to help others experience a peace that passes all understanding, which can only come from Christ.”  I am totally paraphrasing that, and a lot of people have a Chazown that is more specific or concise, but mine basically boiled down to that.

I have ideas of how I want to do a better job of living that out, but for now {and the past several years}, Switch is the major way I get to live out my calling.  And it is so fun, you guys.  God is so good to me, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.  I am so thankful for this season of life.  I am thankful that even though I might not be doing everything I wish to do, I love what I get to do right now.Switch Set Apart 59So, shoutout to fun weekends and good people.  And shoutout to any of you who love me enough to read through all my rambling posts like this one.  Love you guys!

~abi~

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Mary OMarch 17, 2015 - 4:24 pm

I still read every post :) These photos make me so happy! Blog more! Blog more!

Abi RuthMarch 18, 2015 - 3:11 am

thank you, friend!! and i love reading your blog posts, too. <3

Meg J.March 25, 2015 - 11:00 pm

I love you. I love your blog. I’ve missed it!!!!!

Abi RuthMarch 26, 2015 - 1:23 pm

And I love YOU, Meg! :) Thanks!

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