After 4 1/2 years of more or less consistent blogging, I feel I have earned a bit of wisdom I would like to share. This is not only what I would tell any beginner, but also what I use to preach to myself (no pun intended); sometimes the advice we most need to hear is what we are already telling others.
→Trust your calling. love inspire encourage . How did you know you wanted to write
→Stay connected to God. If I am not consistently walking in obedience and living step of God’s will, all is in vain.
→Perseverance. breaking through the demon voices. conquering my own guilt over my sometimes unpractical expectations of myself.
→Relevance is key. Care what people want to read. My calling is to share what I learn and teach through experience and writing. If it’s not relevant to anyone but me, it’s great but not helpful. “If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space,”1 Cor 14:6-9
→Refuse to be limited. At the same time, don’t care what people want to read. Don’t be hung up on numbers. This is a real problem self employed creatives face everyday, and there are tons of opinions on the subject. Some people believe you need to maximize numbers in order to maximize your arc of influence. You want it to matter to as many people as possible, but at the same time, I’m of the personal opinion that you can’t grow in a box. Like all plants, you can start out small, but as your roots grow, they need space to stretch out and explore new and exciting places. I speak from experience when I say – It will not do to limit yourself to what brings in the numbers; you will soon find that you become a slave to likes and followers, instead of the One who called you in the first place.
→Be yourself, apologetically. (Unless you are actually just a troll. Then I’d say do some soul searching) Boldness is non-negotiable. I struggle with this one. The age of the Internet is truly one for the history (e)books. Blogging and social media have totally changed the way I interact with my friends, family, and world. Being that Facebook/Instagram is the only means of interaction I have with many, many friends and acquaintances, what I decide to post (or not to post, that is the question) can be powerful. If my words turn someone off, they will probably unfollow me or unfriend me. If my words inspire and encourage, they might still not be interested in what I have to say next time. That’s not to say that we need to pander to what we think people want to hear; I am not in the business of tickling ears. Rather I think it’s important to be respectful. (A dying breed, it seems!) I’m not trying to troll, nor will I be so afraid of what others will think of me. Rather, I want to find a happy medium where I can be myself according to my best judgement and conscience. Sometimes my conscience will not allow me to continue unless I have said something (e.g. Cupgate) and then very often, I find myself writing back to someone’s comment I think is stupid – step back, take a look at myself and ask if it’s really something I want to have spent my time doing. Oh how Facebook commenters enrage me someimes! But – again, respect. And remembering my calling: love, inspire and encourage.
→Don’t be discouraged by lack of response. 4.5 years of blogging has generated very very little response. Anyone working hard at their calling can agree that it’s very encouraging to witness a response. I have a few regular readers (that I know of) I will shamefully admit that I have personally reached out to several friends and family members to incite some degree of participation, to no avail. Like Eve with the serpent, I have little Stats demons whispering in my ear- Did God really say you should write? Maybe you heard him wrong because I don’t see him coming on the clouds to ‘Lazarus’ your ratings… While my focus has never been Stats, I do realize that any response good or bad is something. At least I can discern it from there. And part of this is my own fault (see Boldness above). I am introverted (meaning I recharge and gather strength from being alone rather than being around people) and I am private about my thoughts. So I find it more difficult than others to be open.
In the next 5 years I’d like to grow to be more transparent in my writing, allow more of my personality to shine through, and be consistent. to never stop creating. Blogging is an excellent exercise in getting consistent with any type of dream you might have. Whether it’s writing, drawing, learning something new it’s a great way to jot down some thoughts and have a sort of journal of your progress. The fact that it’s made public is all the more exciting to share with others. because what is the point of creating something you were called to do if it is not shared with the world to add beauty?
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.