Writing for the Crowd

My sister is the mother of 8 beautiful children. Wife to a hard-working man. Homemaker extraordinaire, gardener of wild things and wild hearts, baker of cakes and cookies, and curator of the good stuff.

I marvel at her, managing 8 children, each teeming with dreams, hopes, and energy. They’re all weaving a whole story of their own under her rooftop. And she writes about them. Photographs them. Tells stories of them. Yes, blogs about them all.

She writes about their adventures. About their nature lessons. About hikes into the woods and valentines crafts, Christmas dinners and slow Thursday mornings.

I tell her it sounds like a storybook. She laughs and tells me that’s far from the truth
but she’s a seeker of beauty and I tell her that she does quite a good job of finding it.


Not long ago, we surprised her and took the years of blogging she had written, and printed each entry into a book. A real life, hard cover book for her own kids to hold and read. All those stories, poems, thoughts she had captured about the beauty of a simple life, there in hand to recall at a moment’s notice.

And that was when I realized — sometimes we’re not writing for the crowds of readers and tweeters out in the giant world. Sometimes we’re writing for the crowd around our feet, or the ones who are living life shoulder to shoulder with us.

She tells me her husband loves that she writes about the beauty of her life. That it helps him see it all too. That when it’s hard, or uncertain, she is chasing down the line of grace in the middle of it all, and holding up the light like a beacon of hope in their home. The children circle around the book. They recall the best of days and give thanks that someone captured it, and relive the good that is built under roofs of wood and in hearts of love.

She and me, we talk about the blogging world. How big it feels sometimes. How easy it is to feel small, insignificant, and like you’re not even sure who you’re trying to talk to anyway. There are so many voices, opinions and styles, it’s easy to feel swallowed up in the giant web of it all.

So we agree — it’s good to step back and ask, why? What is it that I really wanted to accomplish with all this blogging anyway?

Sometimes we’re not writing to give an angle on the latest controversy. Sometimes we write to give an angle on the beauty that is refracting into our lives. Sometimes it’s not about marketing and opinions, methods and how-to lists. Sometimes it’s foundations and memories, dog-eared pages and remember-whens.

If you’re writing to remember, that’s a good reason to write.
If you’re writing to capture, that’s a good reason to write.
If you’re writing to document, to frame moments, to tell stories, that is a good reason to write.

Sometimes having a blog isn’t about the numbers or how much traffic you can generate from a tweet at 2:15 p.m. Sometimes it’s much bigger, much better, much more meaningful than a stat or comment.

And that? That, I tell my sister, that is the best kind of blog.

  • http://twitter.com/MandyScarr Mandy Scarr

    Andrea, I love this. Such a good reminder that all writers need to hear every once in a while. I needed this today. Thank you :)

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      I’m so glad this encouraged you today. Even as I was writing it, I was reminded of the “why” of why I started writing. Thanks Mandy!

  • http://twitter.com/CSElkins christie elkins.

    BEAUTIFUL. I remember seeing your books at Allume and loved the concept–taking our life story through our online spaces and turning them into a tangible legacy for our children! Keeping their stories, our stories alive for the next generation is so important, and a great reason to write :)

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      The books are so special! We did it for my blog too and I’m so thankful I have it to keep now. I recommend it for any blogger!

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    Agreed! Six years ago when my daughter was doing her junior college year abroad in Paris, she discovered blogging. We loved how connected we felt to her as we read the highs and lows of adjusting to a new culture so far from home. Just as you did for your sister, we surprised our daughter this year with a photo book of her Paris blog. She was beyond tickled pink, and it was such fun to travel down memory lane about that year.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      I love that! Blogs are an incredible way to stay connected, and also document stories that we might otherwise forget about. I’m grateful (as is my non-scrapbooking self) that the internet is an incredible resource for documenting this beautiful life. :)

  • stephanie Kandray

    This was a great read, thanks for sharing!

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thanks Stephanie! :)

  • http://twitter.com/Missindeedy Missindeedy

    This is a beautiful reminder to check our hearts at the keyboard. Walking the line of grace and choosing to record the beauty is sometimes more fulfilling (in hindsight especially, for me) than any traffic ever could be. I was so encouraged by this post.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      I’m so glad you were encouraged! The traffic isn’t the fulfilling part, that’s for sure :)

  • Jacqui

    Wow, Andrea, you are an amazing writer! The way you’ve written this piece feels like a storybook :) I got to meet you at Allume – the last day – and your sweet spirit made an impression on me. I left wishing I had gotten to talk to you more. Anyway, I’m excited to see you writing over here and very much encouraged by your words. May God continue to fill you and use you! Blessings.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      How encouraging Jacqui! Thank you! This really warms my heart this morning. :) Perhaps I will see you at Allume this October? :)

  • profitandgive

    Thanks Andrea for sharing a wistful, beautiful story that melted and encouraged our hearts. You are a good writer, yes because you have a poetic way with words that make what you share live for us, but more importantly because you are encouraging to the rest of us. What we have to share is just as vital. I am STILL finding my voice and your article was note worthy…and that’s what I did, I took notes from your sharing with your sister. Lines like, “Tell your storybook” “seek the beauty” (reminds me of the bible verse “hold fast to that which is good”) “chase down the lines of grace” “light a beacon of hope”. I mean, who of us that receive the Love of God into our hearts don’t want to share His love, grace and hope with others as well? Thank you. What a cool thing you did for your sister and her kids, a giving like that, lasts a lifetime. I was to be at my first Allume 2012, but both my husbands early return from Afghanistan :) and storm Sandy waylaid my plans. Thankfully I was able to give my ticket to another at the last minute and bless her life. God is SO good. My hope is to meet you and many others this year. God Bless You.