November 24, 2016

The Best Reason to Blog — 2016 Edition

Table set for Thanksgiving with text: Sharing Connections

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. The day we eat too much food, roll our eyes at the antics of our extended family, and think about all the things we’re grateful for. Or in my case, try not to let my pending NaNoWriMo loss dampen my enjoyment of the day. *sob*

(Eh, since I didn’t even decide which story I was going to write until just before NaNo—meaning I didn’t complete the necessary research in advance—I’m not surprised I’m doing as poorly as I am. Especially as the election chaos has been a huge distraction this year too. *shrug*)

This Thanksgiving post is now an annual tradition on my blog. Six years ago, I revealed that the best reason for me to blog is all of you.

The post five years ago reiterated that point with my gratitude for all the friends I’ve made via blogging and social media. Four years ago, I confessed my love of the blogging format because of the connections possible. Three years ago, I revealed that blogging for you pushes me—in a good way. Two years ago, I expressed my gratitude for the connections we make despite meeting only online. And last year, I noted how much sharing those connections added meaning to my life.

And gee, what a surprise! All of you are still the best reason to blog! *smile*

The Different Types of Connections

One sad thing about this year is how much the U.S. election season has divided families. I know the Thanksgiving holiday will be difficult for many this year.

This wasn’t a “politics as usual” election. And while some are hopeful the changes will be good, others are terrified about what the results say about—or mean for—our country, our friends, and our family.

At a time when too many are experiencing hatred and attacks, we want a chance to come together and feel safe. Yet in some families, the division feels like betrayal or accusations. Many aren’t sure that divide will ever be healed—or if they even want to reach out for that healing.

If this is your situation this Thanksgiving, I’m sorry. I offer hugs and understanding.

For me, this experience has reiterated how important online connections are:

  • If we face a lack of understanding from our family, maybe we can find kindred spirits in our online community.
    Need to vent or share worries? Find those who won’t start conflicts.
  • If we want to heal the divide but don’t know where to start, we can curate who we follow to ensure we’re listening to the concerns of others.
    Follow those with different experiences—then listen and learn.
  • If we want to work toward a better future, our online connections probably have ideas and resources for what we can do.
    Even if we can’t heal our family, maybe we can fix other issues.

When we’re desperate to feel that sense of connection to others—and yet we have serious conflicts with family and friends—we might be able to expand our social bubble through the online community. On either side of most issues (but not all, see literal Nazis), there are reasonable voices we can learn from, which might give us ideas for how to approach other relationships we want to heal.

Personally, I purposely follow those I don’t agree with on social media because I want to learn. Depending on the issue, I might learn what we have in common, what I’m misinformed about, or—on the other side of the coin—what misleading arguments to watch out for.

Learning from Others

It’s that same thirst for knowledge that makes me so happy to share my blog with guest posters during NaNoWriMo month. I don’t know everything, and I’m only one perspective. But through the power of guest posts, we’ve been blessed to learn from others here.

I want to send out mega-thanks to all of my recent guest posters for sharing their knowledge and expertise:

…and next Tuesday, we’ll have:

Even though I’m not going to win NaNo, I’m still getting more words done on my story than I would have without their help. And even better, we all learned something beyond our experience because they chose to share what they know. Win-win!

So as you finish up NaNo or enjoy this weekend, just know that I’m most grateful to all of you and I hope you find peace with others. Thank you! *hugs internet*

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers
and Happy Thursday to everyone else. *smile*

During difficult times, have you ever turned to online connections for understanding? Have online connections helped you move forward after emotional setbacks? Do you purposely seek out other views and experiences to aid your learning? What connections are you most grateful for? Is there anything special you’re grateful for this year?

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara

Thanks Jami for taking the time. Have a good Thanksgiving.

As for the election, every decade or so, the populace votes for change. This is generally a good thing because it means the incumbents do not get entrenched. The change shakes loose people who otherwise might have grown greedy, lazy and out of touch. Next election, if this administration proves hugely unpopular, they will be voted out again, so they have to listen to all sides of the argument.


Thanks for this post! I want to follow those with opposing views, but I haven’t had the courage to do so yet!

I am a mother of a child with Special Needs so the internet is an amazing place to find support and understanding. I have cut ties with my parents because of his Special Needs – or rather their lack of respect for us as his parents.

2016 has been a tough year. Here in the UK we have had Brexit, and yourselves have voted Trump in. Lots of intolerance all over the world.

One foot in front of the other. That is how we move forward. Be kind to others. We will all weather whatever storms come our way as a result of both controversial votes.

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