Two and a half years ago, I started this endeavor of writing a blog. I originally began this project primarily as a way to figure out the mechanics of writing. Though my wife hates it when I say this, I was “Forrest Gump’d” into a writing position with my employer nearly a year prior to starting the blog. I found I was pretty okay at it, but wanted to get better. And, as we all know, the way you get better at something is by doing it!
The other advantage of the blog was to have an outlet for working out my thoughts on how to apply the information I was consuming via books, blogs and podcasts. Between mid-2007 and early 2009 I had listened to hundreds of hours of preaching, read dozens of books and even more articles, but had no way to apply much of it. This can be a dangerous thing for a naturally prideful young man, as one can imagine.
In the time since, over 1000 articles on a daily or more than daily basis have been published. My family has left one church to join another with which we are better aligned doctrinally and missionally. My writing continues improve and I’m still having fun. I even get to read books for free which is an amazing gift to a reader who has no consistent book budget! But what I didn’t expect was that this would turn into a viable component of my personal ministry. (Note that I didn’t say that it is the totality of my ministry—if it were I think I’d need to shut it down.)
Through comments and emails I’ve learned that people are being encouraged in their faith through the articles, whether original content or quotes from what I affectionately call my dead mentors (and some living ones, too). I’ve had the opportunity to produce two free ebooks for personal and group use (and learned that some folks have been using them, even!). I’ve had the opportunity to encourage other bloggers in doing something they genuinely enjoy. Perhaps most encouraging was seeing that my church is comfortable with me continuing to write this blog. These are great gifts from God and I am grateful that He has allowed me to know about some of these things.
So what are a few things I’ve learned about blogging in the last 2.5 years? Here are a few:
1. Writing content takes a lot of time. When I committed to writing this blog, I think I underestimated the amount of time it would take to write good content on a regular basis. The amount of time I spend writing here is fairly significant, although I am careful to ensure that it does not encroach on time with my family and my ability to serve in our church and the needs of my employer. The total time spent on this averages between 10 and 14 hours a week, typically, outside of reading for review purposes. One regret: Not waiting to start until I had a few articles in the can. One improvement: I’ve got the framework for multiple pieces sitting in documents on my computer and in the Drafts folder.
2. Having something worth saying matters. The worst posts are always the ones that feel like filler. As time has gone on, I’ve been continually trying to make certain, as best as I’m able, that the content I’m releasing, whether original articles, reposted videos with discussion or quotes from books, is genuinely worth publishing. I hope I’m successful in this area.
3. Prayer is essential. As in all things, prayerlessness takes its toll on any sort of writing, whether for magazines, books or a blog. Some people are going to like what you say, others are going to hate it. But popularity in the eyes of man matters far less than faithfulness to Christ. I’ve been seeking to actively pray more as I engage in any form of writing, especially this blog since it is so immediate. If I want it to be known for anything, it is for a desire to see Jesus magnified. Pray lots and check your pride (seriously, it’s ridiculous how everything can stir up pride!).
4. Pick your battles. Sadly, there are many folks who, though they claim the name of Christ, sorely lack His character in how they play around on the internet. The most unhelpful thing I’ve done thus far has been allowing semi-anonymous persons’ comments to eat at me. Getting stressed out about the pajama-hadin is not going to help you sleep well at night.
5. You need your spouse to be on board. If your wife or husband doesn’t think you should be writing a blog and has legitimate reasons for believing so, it’s wise to listen. Had Emily not been willing to allow me to write this blog, I would not be writing it. The time investment mentioned above is great, but she is willing to give it to me because she sees the benefit and the opportunity for ministry. She’s also been incredibly encouraging, particularly when people use the anonymity of the internet to start trashing me (which has happened on a few occasions now thanks to a couple of controversial topics).
Thanks for reading—I’m grateful that you’ve chosen to allow me to be a part of your regular reading. I hope I’ll continue to be helpful in the weeks and months to come should the Lord allow.