So we’re supposed to write a pillar post. I’d somehow missed this as a “thing”. Maybe you should go check out my fellow authors to see what they’re writing.
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Okay, a pillar post is an article that defines the brand of your blog. Well, I write pillar posts all the time. It may not be how other authors do it, but it’s what I ended up doing because writing about writing exclusively just bored me to tears. I would have blogged every few months and probably quit a long time ago if I’d taken that route. And it turns out, blogging about some of the things I blog about are good marketing techniques for the audience some of my books are written for.
So instead of writing a pillar post (which is an everyday occurrence here on Aurorawatcher Alaska), I decided to tell you what my pillars are … you know, in case you haven’t figure it out yet.
So there are four pillars to my blog.
Pillar #1 is writing. I’m a writer, so that makes sense. I write about my books, I write this blog hop series, and sometimes, when I have something to say that I deem worthwhile, I write about writing. Oh, and I offer author interviews — to pretty much anyone, so long as you aren’t X-rated. You can usually find this pillar active on Mondays and Wednesdays.
But I knew pretty early in my blogging career that I couldn’t just write about writing because I don’t see myself as a writing guru. Even if I mixed formatting and publishing into it, I’d run out of topics really quickly and repeating myself seemed like a boring idea. If I was going to blog on a consistent basis, I was going to need to find topics that interested me as much as they might interest readers.
Pillar #2 is political philosophy. I do NOT mean politics. I’m reaching the “I don’t give a crap about the election” attitude, so politics may never darken my blog again. I mean political philosophy. Why do we vote the way we do? What is important to us? Education on history and economics comes in there. Discussions of the logic of voting the way that we vote. I’m talking the philosophical underpinnings of our government and why we vote the way we vote and whether it is even worthwhile to vote.
Pillar #3 is faith. I do NOT mean religion. If you want to know how to perform acts of contrition or what religious guru you should listen to, go read another blog. I have mentors I admire, but they’re human and as such fallible. The only Person I will ever point to as someone to emulate in all things is Jesus Christ. I try to base what I write on His book, the Bible, and my experience with Him, though occasionally I find a human-written book worth highlighting.
Pillar #4 is Alaska because Alaska is my home and it is a unique place that most people don’t know much about. Alaskans have a unique perspective on the world and on the United States because of our own history.
This does not mean that I don’t occasionally wander off from my pillars for a while. I’ve posted sourdough bread recipes and explained the finer point of waterless bathrooms in Alaska. I’ve told hiking, bear and fishing tales. I’ve also done a fair bit of linking to the articles of other sites because they say things better than I could.
Whenever my research as a writer opens up a new topic, I may wander in that field for a while. But you can rest assured that I will probably return to my pillars in a while just because those are what I’ve built my blog upon.
So how did I select the pillars of my blog? By the way, the numbers have nothing to do with order or priority. They’re interchangeable and that’s really how I ended up with these four pillars.
The most important thing in my life is my faith. There is nothing in my life that is not touched by what I believe and my relationship with my Savior. I know there’s a contingent in our country who believes that Christians should leave their “religion” at home except for Sunday morning church, but I can’t. It’s like my skin. It’s got to come with. I carry it with me everywhere I go. My coworkers may not realize that the good service I give is a direct result of Jesus in my heart, but it is. It just simply makes me the person that I am.
A part of my faith is a strong belief that a person comes to Jesus alone. We don’t accept Christ as families. We can’t drag our spouses or our children kicking and screaming to the same place we are. We can scatter breadcrumbs. We can point the way. We can pray. We can discuss and even sometimes debate, but ultimately, we stand before Jesus alone and give our own hearts to Him. That belief translates — as it did with the anabaptist believers in the Reformation era — into a strongly held philosophy of non-force toward others in all things. I’m not responsible for you. I can discuss and debate with you, I can pray for you, and I can point the way in the right direction, but I can’t force you to do anything.
And, therein is my political philosophy. Others who came before me gave it titles like “classic liberal”, “libertarian”, “anarchism”, “the non-aggression principle”. I appreciate those philosophers and thinkers. I don’t agree with them entirely. I think Christians are held to a standard by God and that the churches have a duty to support that standard within our congregations. I take a different view outside the church. If you aren’t a Christian, so long as you’re not demonstrably hurting anyone else …. I’ll pray for you to see the light, but I don’t want to make laws to force you to open your eyes. Conversely, I’ll resist strongly any attempt on your part to force my compliance with philosophies and activities God has said Christians must reject.
See how those two pillars are interwined? All of them are really. If you look at my stool picture, you’ll see that there’s a rail that binds all four pillars to one another. Because that is how I view it. None of them are separate. They are all important and interwined.
Being an Alaskan is also something that seems to exist on a DNA level. There are people who live here for decades who never really seem to espouse “Alaska” and then there are people who “get” it the day they get off the plane. A part of Alaska is that rugged individualist mindset. Alaskans learn to do things for ourselves and do them our own way. There are times when there is simply no one around to help us, so we have to know how to do things on our own. That practical mindset leads to a penchant for individual activities. Alaska’s longtime Senator Ted Stevens famously declared “I fish alone, I hunt alone and I vote alone.” That’s pretty much the Alaska mindset in a nutshell.
This is not to say that Alaskans aren’t good at community. We’re very helpful to folks who need help. We stop for motorists who are broken down. We’ll catch your loose dog and pen him up in our yard so Animal Control doesn’t take him away to dog jail. We’ll swap that green birch you’re trying to burn with some of our dry birch firewood so that you will stop smoking us out. We’re actually very giving.
These are subjects where there are others laboring to educate the world, but there is room for more people to present their views. And, I hope, that some of my efforts fall on fertile ground and that people consider that there are different ways to do things than we do them now.
So, then there’s Pillar #4 or, er … writing. They say “write what you know”. And these are things I know. Someday, I might base a book in Alaska, but for whatever reason, I’ve never felt that calling. My Christianity and political philosophy find their way into my books, however. Writing is something I’ve done since before I could write. I’m a natural-born storyteller. I find it so much easier to communicate in writing than to stand in front of crowd and speak to people. So, of course, while I’m improving my craft, I will share that and thus the writing-related posts.
So, not exactly the definitive “pillar” post, but since I do those all the time, you can now know what to expect on the blog more often than not. These are my pillars.