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Research by Blogging: 5 Amish Blogs to Watch

on November 14, 2013

One of the questions I’m often asked by readers and other writers is, “How do you do the research for your Amish teen novellas?” And this question is a good one — although I had some direct experience with the Amish growing up in Pennsylvania, I certainly don’t have it at my current home in Southern California. I’ve read books and watched documentaries, but these sources give a more academic view, not necessarily the human dimension I need to write a book that gets into the head of an Amish teen. And, of course, watching the popular Amish shows on TV definitely doesn’t count as research.

During my research for Rumspringa Break  and Amish Summer, I stumbled upon several extremely useful Amish blogs. Obviously, they’re not written by Amish who still live in the community — computers and blogs are considered worldly and therefore forbidden. Instead they’re written by ex-Amish who chose to leave their communities. Most of these people are in touch with their Amish families and friends, but they decided the Amish way of life was not for them, usually because they fell in love with an Englischer (a non-Amish person) or wanted to pursue further education.

These blogs were invaluable for my research, because they lent the human dimension I was searching for. My novellas center on a girl who is deciding whether to be baptized Amish or to leave the community, and the blogs gave me a glimpse of the conflicts facing an Amish teen. My only regret is that I didn’t find any blogs written by Amish teens during their Rumspringa — all of the blogs were written by adults who’s already made their choice and were looking back. I guess Amish teens just discovering the “English” world are not big on blogging.

Amish blogs help us to catch a glimpse of this way of life -- and why some choose to leave it.

Amish blogs help us to catch a glimpse of this way of life — and why some choose to leave it.

Here are 5 Amish blogs to watch:

  1. Ex Amish Gal – The accounts of a woman who grew up Old Order Amish. I particularly enjoyed her views on the inaccuracies of “Breaking Amish” and her perspective on education and leaving the Amish community. (Her parents chose to have her educated at public school, and they were accepting of her when she chose not to stay in the Amish faith.)
  2. X Amish Atheist – I know, this seems like a pretty extreme name for a blog of someone who was once Amish. The posts are fascinating glimpses into life and religion. And one of the most recent posts discusses the reasons why many Amish (and ex-Amish) choose not to attend college. It also talks about the Amish Descendant scholarship fund, which aims to change all that. This scholarship is evidence that the Amish attitude toward education is slowly evolving, which was one of the themes of Amish Summer.
  3. A Joyful Chaos – A flowery blog by a former “happy little Amish girl,” now a woman who’s “still happy, but no longer Amish.” My favorite posts are the “Wednesday Hodgepodge” ones, which list Q & A about the Amish life.
  4. Beyond Buggies and Bonnets – Written by a woman whose son-in-law is ex-Amish. This blog comes from an interesting vantage point — not as an ex-Amish, but as someone who thinks of herself as a “Mom” to Amish transitioning away from their faith and into the “English” world. Check out her post titled “Real Complexities of the Simple Life,” which discusses Amish religion and how it’s similar to 16th century Europe.
  5. The Blog of Mose Gingerich – Written by one of the ex-Amish stars of the 2004 reality show “Amish in the City.” My favorite feature is “Ask Mose,” the Q & A forum.

 

 

 

 

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7 responses to “Research by Blogging: 5 Amish Blogs to Watch

  1. I find this whole subject fascinating. Thank you, Kristina 🙂

  2. My pleasure 🙂

    Btw, maybe we can include links to this blog post and one I wrote awhile ago about why Amish fiction is hot (https://kristinaludwig.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/amish-fiction-why-its-hot/ ) in the interview on Monday!

  3. […] Research by Blogging: 5 Amish Blogs to Watch (kristinaludwig.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] people, they would celebrate a holiday of hugs and kisses. Luckily, there are a wealth of Amish blogs out there, and I found that Amish do celebrate the holiday, although differently than […]

  5. […] people, they would celebrate a holiday of hugs and kisses. Luckily, there are a wealth of Amish blogs out there, and I found that Amish do celebrate the holiday, although differently than […]

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