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Eight Augusts ago, when I finally relented to Luke’s persistent nudging to start a blog and, with his assistance, pressed “publish” on my first post, I had no way of knowing what lay ahead for this space or for me. I did not anticipate that I would continue pressing publish for years to come, that this space would remain one of the few constants in a life marked by geographical, familial, and personal change. In those eight years, this blog has come alongside me through my entry into motherhood, a cross-country move, and enough introspection to last a handful of lifetimes.

Eight years ago, when this blog was in its infancy, I didn’t foresee that curating this little corner of the internet would become more than just a fleeting hobby, but a way of life for me. I couldn’t have guessed how investing in this creative outlet would shift from something I did to a valuable part of who I am. I had no idea of the pivotal role this blog would play in my own spiritual and personal growth. I didn’t know of the impact it might or might not have on others.

When this blog was created, its future and mine were unknown. And my goodness, how glad I am that I chose to step into that hazy future. . . because today, I do know that stepping up to the keyboard that first time was one of the best decisions of my life. Saying yes to blogging has shaped me in more ways than even I fully know or appreciate.

I have changed a lot in these eight years, but in many ways I am still exactly the same. You can take the girl out of the state and out of her thirties and out of pre-parenthood, but you just can’t take the verbosity or propensity for introspection and earnest reflection out of the girl. So, in typical Kendra fashion, I’m celebrating eight years as a blogger by sharing MY THOUGHTS—a few insights, observations, and takeaways gleaned over all these years with KendraNicole.net.

1. I will always wrestle with some aspects of sharing my life online.

Namely: knowing how much of myself and my family to share, always straddling the line between oversharing and holding back too much of myself to feel genuine. There is the constant push and pull between being too explicit or unhelpfully guarded. It’s difficult to be sincere without being too much.

Another point of friction related to blogging has to do with my own with imposter’s syndrome. I regularly worry that my words are not worth sharing, and that it is narcissistic of me to continue pressing Publish with the expectation that others may care about or benefit from my contribution to the noise that is the Internet.

2. My publishing schedule, writing rhythms, and content are dictated by my current season.

If you’ve followed along here for any amount of time, you’ve witnessed these changes. As I’ve grown in my faith and in my roles as a wife and mother, the topics I’ve chosen to write about have changed too, as has the frequency of my blog posts and the amount of time and attention I am able to give to my writing. I’m sure this refusal to fit within an expected niche has limited my audience, but it has been pivotal in keeping me invested in and excited about remaining faithful to this project.

3. I have become more aware of what works for me as a writer, and what doesn’t.

Things that work well for me (right now): Writing in large blocks of time, away from distractions (i.e., my children). Writing what is on my heart. Drafting posts and storing ideas on Evernote. Writing posts (other than life updates) at least a week or two in advance. Writing from a place of rest and enjoyment. Writing in my own unique style and voice.

Things that do not work for me (at this time): writing because I feel like I have to. Writing if my kids are present. Writing on a time crunch (for me, a “time crunch” is less than a week in advance; yes, this is silly, but it’s a good thing to know about myself). Writing with too much thought towards what others might think of a particular post (or of me). Writing about a subject that does not interest me, or with a forced agenda. Writing for the sake of getting page views or with an outside editor’s voice in mind. Comparing myself to other writers.

4. I care a lot about both content and form.

Many bloggers write strictly for the purpose of imparting a particular message. I do care a lot about the specific content I share, but the way I share it matters just as much to me. I have grown more and more in love with the written word and have enjoyed playing around with my own writing style over the years. I’m taking more creative risks now than I once did, and I’m proud of the voice that is emerging.

5. Writing has become easier, quicker, and more natural over time.

As a beginning blogger, I labored for hours over every sentence that showed up in this space. Though I enjoyed having written, the act of writing felt tedious and exhausting and occupied nearly all of my free time. These days, life is busier and I don’t have the luxury of spending hours upon hours to write; thankfully, I no longer need that time. I am more comfortable with the mechanics of setting up a blog post, and the writing itself now comes as easily as speaking for me. Today, I get more satisfaction from the writing process than from the finished product.

6. Authenticity is an overarching value of my writing.

It matters a great deal to me that I genuinely believe every word I share in this space. This means that I take my book reviews very seriously, giving a lot of thought to those ratings and recommendations. It means that I pray through the writing of my faith-based posts, doing as much research as I can to guarantee the soundness of the theology and doctrine of my ideas. And it means that I take great care in sharing our family life and my personal reflections, always hoping to land in that sweet spot of sharing transparently without burdening readers with my pain points or insensitively parading my highlights. While I’m open to changing my mind and my perspectives, I would never want to a post to misrepresent who I am or what I think, feel, or believe at the time of writing.

7. I’m not a fan of self-promotion. (And that’s okay.)

I have no desire to become an influencer. I don’t have ambitions of earning an income (or even a penny) from my investment in this space. I don’t like putting myself and my work out on social media for the sake of attracting views from people who might not be interested in what I have to say. I even get a little squeamish when I reveal my blog’s existence to real-life friends. This goes against all the blogging advice, and it limits my potential for “success”—but my time and resources are limited, and I would rather dedicate my attentions to developing the quality of my content (and to the LIFE that fuels that content) than growing my audience for numbers’ sake.

8. I write mostly for myself.

When I began writing here eight years ago, I had no assumptions that anyone other than my parents and a handful of friends might read it. It might be true that this space has not seen astronomical viewership, but far more of you are reading than I ever anticipated. I appreciate your readership and support (of both my writing and of me as a person) more than I have words for, and if I could send each and every one of you a personalized love note and accompanying bouquet of tulips in gratitude, I would.

That said, when it comes down to it, the primary why for my continuing to write here has more to do with me than with anyone who might be reading. I am glad my words have touched many of you, and I am thankful for the ways God has used my writing to speak to you. But ultimately, I have kept up—and will continue to keep up—with this space because I have seen how it has changed ME. Writing has made me a deeper thinker, a more intentional observer of life, and a more thoughtful reader, consumer, citizen, and follower of Christ. It has molded and shaped me, provided me with a pivotal outlet, and carried my faith (in God, in life, in myself) to greater heights than any other vehicle could. I am a better human because of this space.

So here’s to eight years of writing, learning, and growing. And here’s to many more years of expanding my perceptions, awareness, and potential through this space. Thank you, as always, for celebrating with me!

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