simple stories
[an invitation to old-fashioned blogging]

Simple Stories

Remember the old days when we shared our simple stories, when we told about our days and posted grainy point-and-shoot photos, when we were thrilled to hear of new babies and cross-country moves and the books being read and that dress you found on sale at Target last week?

I miss that.

And I suppose the missing of it was part of what kept me from this space for so long, tip-toeing in here and there, then skittering away due to what it had become. Too many opinions, too many hot topics, too many should-dos, too many bulleted lists, too much promotion, too many scholarly thoughts, too many internet bullies, too many communities turning in on themselves, too many pinnable images and algorithms and plugins and discussions about the best time of day to share a blog post.

And all I wanted to do was talk about life.

Everyday Life - laundry and toys

If the conversations I’ve had in recent months are any indication, there’s a quiet little corner filled with people holding the same smoldering coals in our bosom, driven to relish the beauty and the broken, to roll ideas ’round for a while, to appreciate laughter and share the moments of our sacred everyday. We speak and sing and create and write because we have no choice.

But we’ve become stuck, silenced by our own fear and the pressing expectations to create stellar shareable content, to catch eyes and make it all mean something. When did blogging start taking itself so seriously? Nobody has life-changing thoughts every day.

Somewhere along the line, maybe it was five years ago, maybe it was two weeks ago, we’ve lost our voices in this sphere. Maybe the old words blew away in the wind, or perhaps our daily motions were altered by circumstances and the expected rolling along of life.

But maybe we’ve become convinced our stories aren’t enough unless they bring in a few extra dollars or widespread notoriety. Maybe we want to unpack our thoughts about God, but we’ve heard we aren’t allowed to speak until we have our theology in order. Perhaps voices have filled our ears, telling us we need to quiet the truth because it was too messy. Perhaps we’ve encountered the internet police, swirling their batons and beating our ankles if we use the wrong wording, telling us to hush up if we deviate from the approved solutions. We’ve been belittled for thinking our daily lives are worth sharing, warned we won’t be taken seriously, told there’s nothing sacred in the rhythms of the everyday. Who wants to hear about our minutiae when the people of the world are busy with their own lives?

Here’s the truth about that: I want to hear your minutiae.

soundofmusicvinyl

knitsquare

I entered the online writing space six houses, three states, three children, two deployments, one faith crisis and several eras ago. Many, many facets of blogging and online interaction have changed in those years. But the compelling aspect, the one thing keeping me from walking away and returning to the solitude of my pen and leather journal? Your stories.

Your stories have shaped my life, assured me I’m not alone, changed my views, made me laugh, buoyed me and held me. It wasn’t your gorgeous photography or your helpful linkups or your carefully crafted arguments or the original fonts in your header, much as I’ve loved all of them. It wasn’t because you publish on Tuesdays and Thursdays or thanks to the email delivery service you’ve chosen. I don’t stick around because of your blog design or your hairstyle or the brands you promote or your doctrinal views.

The internet certainly isn’t a soul-sucking waste land and the trappings of blogging aren’t inherently devastating. I’m addicted to Instagram and waste hours on Pinterest and can’t imagine a world without Facebook. There are a million obscure platforms and tools we bloggers use and they’re all needed when it comes to getting the the job done. By all means, use them and use them well. Do what you do, create businesses, take the opportunities, write the books, make things happen.

But I don’t read your blog because of a multi-avenue internet platform. And I don’t stay away from your blog because of your lack of online glamour.

It’s always been the stories. Our lives are all we have, aren’t they? So let us hear your passion and the way you thrive. Let us cheer for you, mourn with you, share in your ponderings and hilarious anecdotes.  Speak to us of your days and toss away the need for an obvious premise. The telling matters, to me, to your aunt two states away, to the readers who pull from your life hope and freedom and empathy and courage and commonality and faith and humor and inspiration.

Refuse to be silenced. Sing loud, light a flame, start a new chapter. Share your world, because it is yours. Do it eloquently, do it beautifully, do it humorously, do it boldly, do it sarcastically. But however you do it, do it as you.

Soccer Field

This is an invitation to return to old-fashioned blogging, in which we do life and share the simple realities, the open parts, the hard and the lovely. This isn’t a call to a confessional or a rally for waving around our dirty laundry. No, no – keep your secrets and honor your stories in the telling.

But this is a call to slow down, to break the rules a bit, to have some fun and trust that it doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s a call to do the work of showing up, being real, pushing past the fear and the belief in our own incompetence.

Let us not desecrate the magnificence of the sacred days we’ve been given with the lie that our words no longer hold value, that nobody will take seriously the life lived well. The simple truths, shared intentionally, are shaping communities, online and off. These stories deserve to be told.

 

Need inspiration? Follow along with Heather of the EO’s Just Write community on Tuesdays, or dig in with Lisa Jo’s Five Minute Fridays.

Need accountability and community? Join this new Facebook group, where we’re committing to writing down the simple stories and holding each other to it.
 

I love you, you beautiful, rag tag, messy, perfect online community, you. Let’s live our simple lives together again, mmkay?

~Ash

133 Responses to simple stories
[an invitation to old-fashioned blogging]

  1. Clayton Zeiemt November 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    I really loved this post.

    I blogged for years before finally calling it quits back in January. This fall, I have decided to attempt something bold, something raw, something beautiful. I made a new blog.

    Everpressing.

    This fall, I have decided to start blogging again. I don’t want to get caught up in the commotion of competition. I don’t want to be afraid to speak my mind because I don’t necessarily have all my stuff together. I don’t want to keep quite about the serious matters that affect our world everyday that are just too serious to talk about (or potentially way to offensive).

    Your post is encouraging. It is inspiring. It is an invitation — back to old-fashioned blogging.

    Good job, and thanks.

  2. JulieK October 13, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Thank you for this. I have been blogging since 2005 and started a more “professional” blog in 2010… since then I feel I have gotten sucked into the exhausting game of trying to “keep up” – with Google, with other bloggers, with brands, with other people’s definitions of blogging success. I wanted to be a resource for moms but… I’m struggling with this same feeling that along the way I lost my real voice, the one that tells the stories, that sees the little things.

    I found this article thru a tweet post but it’s just what I’m looking for as I try to redefine what I want to do with my blog… Thank you!

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  4. Andrea Clunes Velásquez August 29, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    This is SO TRUE!

    I haven’t fallen prey to the new trend of being a “pro” blogger and having a popular blog or anything, because something inside me has always kept me away, even though I’ve wanted to be one of those cool bloggers sometimes. My blog has remained a little space where I pour whatever thoughts I have, my daily life and stuff like that, even if it’s turned into a place that no one but my mom and me reads. :P

    But you speak the truth. This is what blogging used to be about! And it shouldn’t be that blogs like mine, that are not a business and not about any particular subject, are simply “not worth reading”! There should be space for both things.

    I hope more people join you in this. I know I’ll keep on blogging whatever little things I can in my little, non-professional blog. :)

    Thanks for posting this! It’s truly inspirational.

    Best regards from Chile!

  5. Tina@FlyingHouse June 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    I just spoke at a conference in Berlin with a very similar message that was met with the highest of praise (and I’m certain it has nothing to do with my fabulous speaking skills because I don’t have them!) It’s what so many of us bloggers want to be told. Someone please tell us that it is OK to just have FUN doing this! Isn’t it ok to just simply show up and journal and share and grow alongside our readers, who have quickly become some of our BFF’s? I say absolutely! If there is money to be made along the way then fabulous, but let’s not forget what got us started- the sheer joy of sharing something we loved and simply wanting to share it with the world!

  6. Carin June 1, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Thank you! And OH YES! This is why I got into blogging in the first place, not to promote the heck out of myself and leaving myself feeling exhausted.

  7. Sara May 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Yes! Thank you for this.

  8. Carmen May 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Ashleigh, I completely understand about old-fashion blogging. Thank you so much for writing about it as well. I’m one of your new followers. ~ Carmen

  9. Amy May 26, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Oh, I do so love this . . . I’m especially glad to see I’m not alone in that love! :)

  10. Ginger May 26, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Yes, yes, and yes. I couldn’t agree more. Trying to keep up with Mrs. Jones is hard. It makes you feel like your story isn’t good enough and it is. I would love to get back to real life stories and not what Pinterest or social media thinks it should be.
    Wonderful post.

  11. Karen B May 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I like the simple everyday post.

  12. Carol @arewethereyet May 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I started blogging five years ago when my husband and I became full time RVer’s to keep in touch with family back home. Then we had to get off the road and bought a house that needed a HUGE over haul. I got sucked into the gotta post on certain days and have some cute DIY idea on one day and a recipe on another – not to mention the BIG room reveal. Well, I got tired of trying to “keep up with the Jones’es” of the blog-o-sphere and pretty much quit. However, I miss keeping up with friends – so I am slowing getting back into blogging – but just writing about my week and what we are doing – nothing dramatic or life shattering. I Love this idea – I so long for the “good ole’ days” of having conversations with people about your life and not trying to one up someone – I would love to join in on the fun of simple stories and everyday life.

  13. Ashley C May 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    oh- THANK YOU!

  14. Andrea Swenson May 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I love this. I have believed this all along, and stayed true to that with my own blog. Refusing to make money when I could for this very reason. I wanted to stay true to myself and no one else. I am going to share this and link back if you don’t mind. Thanks for putting this into words.

  15. Jennifer Sikora May 20, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Definitely count me in. I am SO tired of not sharing my stories on my site and everything else taking over.

  16. Beth Zimmerman May 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    I’ve always just told my stories. My life. My faith. My messed up marriage. My broken heart. My hope that eventually grace will prevail! Some times I have wondered if it’s wise. Often people have cautioned me to not share too much. But when I have tried, for brief periods, to temper it … I stopped loving it! And my voice became muted and strange.

    It’s nice to see so many others feeling that same tug!

  17. Kim @ Homesteader's Heart May 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I miss old school blogging. Let’s put our leg warmers back on, tease our hair and get back to blogging! Woot! Woot!
    Oh I’m Kim by the way. Nice to meet you.

  18. Faith May 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Thank you for this!! i’m one of those “old fashioned” bloggers..if you can call starting in 2007 or so old fashioned! LOL….I just….write. about my life, my daughters, my hubbies the trials and tears of raising teens, my faith journey (no pun intended!) book reviews, etc. I even still post recipes from time to time because I LOVE to cook and find new healthy things my family will enjoy. Love your blog!!!

  19. Jerralea May 17, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Hear! Hear! I’m in. Count me with those who want to just blog LIFE.

  20. Andrea Worley May 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    a breath of fresh air, thank you.

  21. michelle May 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Yes. I started for the same simple reasons you mentioned. Then things got crazy. I shut down the old blog. I took a break. But ultimately I needed to write, and connect with my family of blogging sisters in far away places. The connections and the daily “mundane” are what I love about blogging. I am happy to report I have no idea what my “analytic numbers” are and I don’t blog on a schedule. I just write. And this post, had me at the pics of the knitting. ;) LOVE.

  22. Kat May 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Thank goodness your insight is now out here ~ it seems it’s not enough to just ‘want to’ blog nowadays, unless it follows a strict list of 50 how-to’s. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and thanks to those who have commented too ~ it’s good to know this plodder blogger’s not alone ~ I want visitors to my site to feel it’s all about an exchange over ‘virtual’ choc chip cookies and a chat, not all about exchanging computer chip cookies and marketing to you later on! With love :-)

  23. Rachel Reeves May 14, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Someone asked me the other day if I like blogging. I told her that I like blogging now but I LOVED blogging five years ago. It was pure and easy and we didn’t think about it-we just did it.

    I wish for that back.

    Applause for this post. Let’s get back to basics!

  24. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates May 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    YES!!!

  25. Becca (Our Little Blue Farmhouse) May 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    I loved this post. I am a new blogger, and I am so happy to see that there is still a place and desire for simple stories. I often feel the pressure “of oh my word someone has already said everything so much better” and I love the thought of just story telling with no pressure or worry. :-)

  26. Elisabeth Allen May 12, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    YES!!!

    (And thank you for being brave enough to say it out loud! xx)

  27. Danae May 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Ashleigh- thank you!!!! <3

  28. Nacole May 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Oh goodness gracious, Ashleigh, never met you, but so glad I have. And–just–what Sarah said–freaking standing ovation! Seriously. You laid down words with such fierceness and beauty here. *Thank you* for this. This is the breathing in and out of writing that I live everyday. If I can’t write free and normal, I don’t want to do it.

  29. Susanne May 11, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Linked here from Chris at His Unfinished Work. Love this post. I’ve been asking myself where the good old blogging has gone from when I started. The stuff that drew me to blogging in the first place: the sharing of stories, the forming of friendships, the encouragement. Thanks for the encouragement to be myself and still have that kind of community.

  30. Nikki May 11, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Oh mylanta. Thank you for making me feel normal. For helping me be okay with not doing this blogging thing “right”.
    God gave me a story to tell. All of us…He gifted us with unique ones.
    And all He’s asked me to do is share my testimony.
    He doesn’t care if I trend or double my *followers*. My goodness…neither do I.

  31. Megan May 11, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Standing on chair, clapping. Thank you for this.

  32. Kristen 73 May 10, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Love this – it is really needed in all of social media. Thanks so much for encouraging more stories, more real life, more true connecting! I did a haiku challenge in April and wrote one about Facebook with similar thoughts:

    I miss the days when
    we shared more stories here, and
    fewer opinions.

  33. AlyssaZ May 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Totally agreed. I have been ‘trying to find my place’ in the blogging world. What is my niche? Why don’t I fit into this niche? But I want to blog about this as well….blah blah blah. I don’t want a niche. I want to blog about life, books, God, Doctor Who, marriage, parenting, and everything under the sun. But I don’t want the pressure of having a pinnable image in each post.
    So thank you! This was very freeing!

  34. Kim Hyland May 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    This is like an invitation to go back to the “first love” of blogging. An invite to freedom. Thank you!

  35. Sarah May 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Love it! I’m all about the minutia on my little corner of the blog world.

  36. susan May 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    more please. yes. this. more.

  37. Kelly @ Love Well May 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I think you hit a nerve here, friend. When I read your words – “I want to hear your minutiae” – a sob welled up in my throat. I didn’t know I needed the permission to write this way again. But I think I did. You unshackled me. Thank you.

  38. Sarabeth Jones May 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Thank you for this – loved it. And a little treasure to see Walking On Water – that’s so one of my faves!

  39. Cassie May 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  40. Susan May 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    A welcome post. It seems many of us are feeling “this”. For me, it comes down to this: “Why do I write?” Do I write to make money? Do I write to be noticed? Do I write to see how many Google shares I get or to track how many readers I get or …? And, the answer is “I write because I have to because most of the time my heart overflows with a good theme and my hand is the pen of a ready writer.” But lately I have struggled. I have beat myself up. I have argued with my own intellect.
    My life is a simple life. Right now, where I am, I am bored beyond tears but the everyday calls me! I am happy to share simple.
    Simply simple!

  41. Dea May 10, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Linked from Facebook and have to say Ashleigh Baker has said it all today. Love this. Invite you read my last post —-written by a very non-techy mom/grandmother . It’s a love story and I almost didn’t put it up because who would care anyway. Then I got comments from girlfriends that were in my wedding that I haven’t spoken to in a very long time. There is always power in story. Thank girl for rockin’ this one out.

  42. Shelly Miller May 10, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Was just talking about this with my friend Kristin, and then she sent me the link to this post. Yes and amen. Let’s do this and start a trend of being true to ourselves and not a platform. Love what you say here.

  43. Ginger Harrington May 10, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Loved this post! Looking at the comments, you’ve definitely hit a vein. I am learning…the hard way…that if I don’t set limits and approach writing as “letting my light shine” for Christ, the pressure to be and do all things can bleed you dry. Thanks for the “permission” to simply share life and tell our stories.

  44. Patricia May 10, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    This cuts through the lies that blogging needs to be life-changing to be important. It’s important because it brings the simple and mundane and real into focus. This is the majority of our lives spent and the majority of what we all share in common. It gives us a chance to share the beauty in the valleys that may not be as obvious to everyone as the beauty on the mountains. Thanks for shouting it out there..!

  45. Karen May 10, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Thank. You. So. Much. for this. I am one of those people who stopped blogging because it all just got too much. Too intimidating. I felt too inadequate, me with my ordinary life and my small things and no sponsors and… and… and… I never had the time or energy to go all out, so I just went away. Thank you for giving me permission to just *be* in my little corner of the blogosphere, again. Thank you.

  46. Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home May 10, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much for writing it. Much of what you have written about here has kept me from blogging in the last year. Going to a blogging conference actually did me in and made me question why I blog and I almost gave up altogether. Your push to go back to just sharing everyday life is spot on!! Thank you for the encouragement. :-)

  47. Anna May 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    Thank you for helping fan the flame that’s been dimming from my spirit {and all too evident on my blog} for some time. I truly miss the good ‘ol days. Trying to keep up with all the “should do’s” etc. is just….exhausting. But this post gives me renewed hope.

    Again, thank you.

  48. Tina Blankenship May 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Girlfriend, you have a new follower in me. You have voiced my fears and frustrations. I have felt that I had to “measure up” to have a blog worthy of anyone else’s time. That somehow I needed to take my down home humor and earthiness and turn it into some brilliant Bible study moment/devotional that has everyone nodding at the keyboard saying “I want to be like her”

    But you have given me courage to just be ME and write like ME. Thank YOU! BTW, this is the first time I’ve been to your “place”. Stacy Lozsano shared this and you hooked me.

  49. Anastasia @ eco-babyz May 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    It’s my first time stopping by your blog, came here from a link some one posted on Facebook. Thank you! You’ve said what I wasn’t even thinking – but knew deep down. I need to find a balance of real-life simple posts and that ‘other stuff’ so that neither crowds the other one out. I actually started my blog 4.5 years ago more so to share discoveries in my research on healthy eating, natural parenting, etc, but over the years have grown to enjoy just simple writing when I an inspired, or not. English isn’t my first language, but I still love that moment when someone is reading my thoughts and they can nod their head – even if my writing isn’t ‘perfect’. :) I’m a new subscriber!

  50. kelly May 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    tonight is the first time i’ve ever even heard of your blog – i clicked through because another blog friend of mine shared this link on facebook. and all i want to say is amen. to everything. keep singing your song and telling your stories. xo

  51. Dee May 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    Thank you for this. Refreshing!

  52. Mona May 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    A friend posted about discovering (rediscovering) your blog and posted a link, so here I am. I must say, I find this post rather humorous. I’ve not been blogging long at all, and now I find that I’m doing it the “old fashioned” way by posting “point and shoot” pictures and talking about whatever random thing I happen to be doing or thinking at that time! Glad to know I’m coming in when that’s coming back into vogue. I look forward to reading all the stories!

  53. Kit May 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Ashleigh,
    This post was so very encouraging. I love blogging but have really really backed off from it in the last 9 months as the result of a big, painful move that I was/am afraid to be really honest about. I have a very small blog, but readers from two worlds and I don’t want to hurt feelings. But I miss, miss, miss just telling the stories. Thanks for this encouragement. Means a lot.

  54. Dawn St Amand Paoletta May 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Even if there is a life changing thought daily, I would challenge the notion it needs to be shared in the blogosphere…how about a journal. On that note. YES. Yet, I am fairly new to blogging but even so, the joy of i grows stale in light of the messages flowing through my feeds telling me all I need to do to optimize my blog…I really only wanted to share a bit…not increase SEO. Which I didn’t even know about a short time ago! Thanks for saying it.

  55. Ashlee May 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I’m in, I’m in!

  56. ChristineMM May 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    I believe what you are saying is what I do! Nice to stop by here for the first time. Blog on!

  57. Shayne May 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow. Thanks so much for this. I came by way of Bohemian Bowmans…I’ll be back fer sherrr.

  58. Elizabeth@RealInspired May 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    This is great! As a new blogger, I’ve felt the pressure. I want to share my stories, my passion, because I love it. Thanks!

  59. Anne @ anne b. good May 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    This post. This is what I want from blogging. I’m all for simple stories and old-fashioned blogging. Anything else is too costly.

  60. Tina/@teenbug May 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Oh God! I’m dying for a blogging revival.

    Back to the days of “new babies and cross-country moves and the books being read and that dress you found on sale at Target last week.”

    YES, PLEASE!

    More of this.

  61. Barbie May 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I’m so thankful I clicked over to read, as someone shared on Facebook. Oh how my stuck, fearful, wavering heart needed these words today.

  62. Amber May 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You wrote what’s been on my heart so heavily lately :)

    Blessings,
    Amber

  63. Chantel May 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    It occurred to me today that this is why I struggle with blogging sometimes. And why I’ve stopped reading blogs pretty much. Somehow it has become so formal, and my heart just yearns and longs for those days when we first met. I want some real connection with some real people. We told stories and laughed and cried together through a million typed words. It made our hearts close, and it made me feel alive and not so alone.

    I don’t know why we forget this sometimes. Why I forget this.

    Really, this might be the best post you’ve written. And I want to write stories about growing this baby, about our ordinary life. And I want to share it with people who have ordinary lives, too. It is what I love the most about living. And I’m excited that we can be in this together.

  64. Jennifer May 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    I love this! So often, I feel pressure to be who I am not in trying to maintain readership. I have been working on this issue and it has become a freeing experience. We need to write the words God places on our hearts and in our souls. Trying to be anything else or say anything else is counter productive. It is a hard lesson to learn but so important.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  65. Regina May 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I so agree :) I have always loved just sharing my day but these days im scared to post thinking it won’t be good enough.

  66. Erin May 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Oh yes!
    I may never have the right answers and I may never get a comment, but when did that become the reason for blogging? We write because its a way to capture where we are; here, now with words that no one else can repeat.

  67. Christin May 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Thank you so, so much. This is excellent and I have found that blogging is coming full circle. People want the blogging days of old–as a writer, I miss the ease and fun of telling stories and sharing my heart.

    The one line that really grabbed me you actually shared on Facebook in conjunction with sharing this post and it was a truth that grabbed me about 3 weeks ago. You said, “Nobody has life-changing thoughts every day.” So true and it was exhausting trying to keep content going on that lie. That’s when I stopped.

    Sharing your post everywhere today. Thanks!

  68. Crystal @ Serving Joyfully May 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Yes!!! I have found myself stifled and almost paralyzed by all the things that blogging has become. I think we tend to forget that it doesn’t have to be that way…but then…I don’t really want to be talking to myself either…lol.

    Oh to find the balance!

  69. Kristen May 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    This is my heart. Thank you dearly for this post! I’m a first time (and now daily!) reader!

  70. Lisa @CreativLEI May 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing! I think the corner is much bigger than you think. Glad to read/see there are still many story-tellers out here!

  71. Kamille@Redeeming_table May 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Amen sister–yes!

  72. Jamie (@va_grown) May 9, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Yes! This is exactly what I wrote/said after going to 2:1 in April. Last year I was full of ideas for changes–this year I was content with just having a story.

  73. Neely May 9, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Very awesome post.

  74. T May 9, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Thank you, I love this.

  75. Pam May 9, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    A true breath of fresh air to hear/read so much of what has rumbled around in my head and heart regarding blogging. I began blogging in 2005, and I have traversed much of the same territory in my thoughts and almost closed up shop a number of times. Yet, in my heart I am a writer. I must express myself, and I need the camaraderie and fellowship of others who love to tell stories as well. Thank you for the urge to continue telling the story of my life!

  76. Katherine Willis Pershey May 9, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    This.

  77. Jessica May 9, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Oh my goodness yes, this. This is why I’ve taken a step back from blogging. I got tired of having to have all the answers. I miss just asking the questions.

    • Christin May 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      I swear I wrote that exact thing somewhere — blog or Facebook. I got tired of trying to have all the answers. I don’t and it wore me out!

    • Sandy Cooper May 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      That’s so good.

  78. Jessica May 9, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    I love this. I’m in my 9th year of blogging (that’s basically a decade! where has my life gone?!?) and over the years I’ve wondered about the sustainability of blogging…particularly in my life. I started blogging single…got engaged, married, kids, yada yada…is this something I can keep up with? Especially with the professionalization of blogging? No. {and I can get so passive-aggressive on the hijacking of blogging}

    But this I can do. Simple stories. Randomness. Writing a mini-series that I never finish. Not morph into a brand. Yes. I’m an old-fashioned blogger. I need to pin that on my cardigan.

  79. Tracey May 9, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    You just gave me the permission I didn’t even know I needed. My blogging finally dwindled to a halt months ago. I’m gonna get back to the blogging I loved. The simple stories of my life.

    Love you, AB!

  80. Esther May 9, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    I have a friend who SOOOO needed this today! Thanks :-)

  81. Katie @ Heart Gone Walking May 9, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    I love this. Sometimes I feel like if I want to be a blogger, I should be an expert in something. But I have no expertise, just stories of the everyday. No matter what’s offered or if everyone stops reading, I just want to have stories for my family and myself.

  82. Lisa May 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I started blogging in 2003. (That little bloggy went away last year.) A continent away. A single teacher. Immersed in a different culture. My life looks so different now. Today I struggle to blog mainly because of what you describe. I’ve considered just leaving it altogether and writing strictly in journals again. I don’t want to feel like I have to compete or keep up, so I don’t. Which doesn’t always make for very many blog updates, or a beautiful format. But I’ve been true to the time I have and who I am…can’t say I didn’t consider taking the blog down at some point, though.

  83. Jaclynn May 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    I like this! <3
    Lets return to the simple and lovely and just sharing. No facades, competition, arguing, just friends gathered around.

  84. Annie Barnett May 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    So much goodness in this. Thank you.

  85. Sarah Denley May 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    I LOVE this. Love it. I just can’t do that type of blog anymore and I find myself more and more drawn to people’s stories of real life- laughter and tears and everything in between.

  86. Leilani May 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this post Ashleigh! This was so encouraging for me! I am new to blogging and have felt to intimidated at times by all the amazing theological and profound blogs out there. I sort of felt that my humble little crafting and cooking blog was somehow boring but you have really turned that thinking around for me today! Thank you for that! I really enjoy reading your blog and always am encouraged by your stories!
    God bless you!
    Leilani

  87. Sandra May 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    I’ve been blogging since 2006 and I have said the same thing over and over and over. I miss the old blogging, I miss the stories, the simple posts about daily life and the blogging friends I had.

    Many don’t blog anymore, everyone seemed to move to Facebook and Twitter and blogs turned into “who can giveaway the best prize” and “who has the most advertisements”.

    I don’t like being told that I should blog a certain way, or post about certain things. I’ve kept my blog the same way it’s always been, I post daily pictures, I talk about my day, and maybe some people out there find it boring, but that’s ok, there are many more who have been my blog readers for years, who I consider dear friends, and we just continue to plug along blogging in the old fashioned way…when it was fun and meant something :)

  88. Heidi Stephen May 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I love this! I only blog here and there right now- for the fun of expressing myself and sharing it in writing- but I read many blogs and have often been a bit overwhelmed at all the opinions. SO many opinions. I guess it’s not all bad but I love the simplicity and the beauty that you are describing here. .. What freedom to enjoy the beauty of normal life.

  89. Wendi Lane May 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    For me that is all my blog has ever been about…a way to share our adventures along the way…laugh and have it printed once a year so we can laugh and cry and look back..it is our families adventure….I too agree that you have to write from your heart and enjoy it..it should not be a chore or I think you are right Ashleigh it ruins the whole reason for doing it!!

  90. Amy May 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Thank you! I have written for decades but just recently started blogging~ I knew I could only feel like it was the “microphone up to my heart” if I was real. As the founder of a non-profit, I have stood on platforms and promoted and spun and created interest….I wanted Beloved In Blue Jeans to be this: Me, in my blue jeans, walking the path toward Christ. Messiness and all. To be honest, the impact I receive when there are “0″ comments are the best. I prefer the phone call or those that have come privately to me in my office, tears streaming and relating~ that is why I write. I think that’s why anyone with a blog does~ to relate, to be heard, to connect. It’s the core and heart of it all.

  91. Janine May 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    I love coming here and reading your simple stories. Thank you for sharing always with an open heart. It is both refreshing and inspiring.

  92. The Domestic Fringe May 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    I like this. A lot.

    Blogging is becoming a bit exhausting. And, you’re so right, we don’t have earth shattering thoughts every day. It’s impossible, or maybe just impossible for me, I don’t really know any more. Simple sounds good though.
    ~FringeGirl

  93. Linds May 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Oh yes. I never stopped the old way of blogging, because it was what I wanted to do back then and now too. So many wonderful women of all ages stopped writing because they felt inadequate in the face of all the fancy blogs which sprang up years after those first tentative words were written, though. Marginalising there joy in the ordinary. I ache for them and for a way just like this post of yours,Ashleigh, to call them back, to rebuild that wonderful group of people who cherished each other in their ordinariness. Remember Kelli? Heather? Yes. That.

    • Linds May 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Their. Groan. Not there.

    • Edith May 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Love this. And always love Linds’ posts. And I’ve not blogged much partly because of feeling inadequate. But I really only want my blog as a record and a way to share – not to become a published writer.

  94. Jessica May 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Love this!! I’ve been reading here for a long time and yours has always bee a favorite because of your stories.. In fact I’d say your blog played a big part in me starting my own blog because you made it look so fun & I could relate to so much of what you were saying.. So please keep blogging and telling your stories, they are encouraging & inspirational! :)

  95. priest's wife (@byzcathwife) May 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    thanks for the inspiration….I’m off to write a story

  96. Brittney May 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Was just thinking along the exact same lines. Social media has changed so much and took a lot out of the joy of blogging. But I am inspired. Thanks. I’ll jump on this. ;)

  97. Kristin Potler May 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    This breathes life. Thank you.

  98. Sandy Cooper May 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    I have been in a total blogging funk and this is why. Exactly. You nailed it.

    It isn’t the blogging that stresses me out or discourages me. It’s having to pay attention to SEO and connect with my readers on Twitter and making sure I always have a pinable image. It’s creating bullet points and internal links. It’s wondering what brief and witty thing I can say across 4 different social media outlets–all different–all quotable.

    I’m so sick of playing this game. I just want to write. And when a reader is kind enough to respond, I want to have a conversation.

    I was losing hope that blogging had changed so much and I would never be able to keep up. But maybe not. Maybe there are enough of us that we can keep old-school blogging alive. :)

    Thank you.
    I feel excited again.

    • Blair May 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      This! Although I am not quite at the point where I am ready to blog again I do know it is this very thing that made me desire to pull out of the whole arena.

  99. LoraLynn May 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I miss telling the stories. I like it when I tell them. You said this so beautifully and clearly. Glad you hit publish.

  100. Micah May 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    TL;DR: “I miss xanga.” =)

  101. underthebigbluesky May 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Absolutely. The squeaky clean, uber-inspirational blogs are good every once in a while for inspiration, but give me some people to bond with and cheer for and sympathize with any and everyday. My best friends have come from this world.

    Agree!!

  102. Sarah Askins: Poet-Writer May 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    I took a much needed break from the “blogging” world because it made me hate telling stories sans some universal, divine tweetable moment. Most days aren’t so mystical, but life happens. Love this so much.

  103. Naomi May 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    and i said the same thing.. not more than a month ago… telling my husband that i want to blog whatever i want to, whenever i want to, with no expections. i just want to write. and enjoy writing. and it’s been FUN. :D

  104. Sidnie May 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Oh, lady. Yes.
    I want to dive back in, eyes closed tight… and I’ll trust that the deep end is just deep enough to leave me reaching for the sunlight after the splash…
    Thank you for the gentle nudge…

  105. Lindsay May 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Oh thank you thank you thank you for this!!! So freeing and gracious and this post doesn’t stress me out at all. :-) Preach!

    • Stephanie May 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Right! I was so stressed out yesterday after reading a post about 50 things to do to have a great blog…which I appreciated…but it was a stressful day of how tos and what not to dos…and I’m new to blogging…

  106. Megan (FriedOkra) May 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Yep.

  107. Sarah Bessey May 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Freaking standing ovation, woman. YES.

  108. Lesley May 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    This. You. Yes.

  109. the Blah Blah Blahger May 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Holy crap, this is SO SO SO good! Preach on, sister!!!

  110. dearabbyleigh May 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    i’m in! i want to tell stories.

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