Earlier this week, I realized I’ve been blogging for seven years. In all honesty, I had no idea I’d still be doing this the first time I wrote my first post, the final line of which was, “Hopefully I’ve got something worth saying, but only time will tell.” Since then, I’ve published almost four thousand articles on the site, with at least one post appearing every single day—whether it be a curated content, an original (and hopefully helpful) blog post, a quote or the odd guest post.
If, like me, you read a lot of blogs, you know the danger of anniversary posts—they can come off as self-congratulatory, kind of braggy, but not really adding any value. They’re just there to fill a whole in the schedule.
Today, I’m really hoping I don’t wind up doing that, especially since I’m sharing seven things that I didn’t expect when I started blogging:
I didn’t expect it would lead to writing a book. Honestly, I had no idea blogging could lead to writing books. I didn’t know what the process looked like, and I really wasn’t even sure I wanted to write one (until probably eight or nine months in). And now I’ve written two books, self-published several shorter works, and have more planned and pitched.1
I didn’t expect I’d spend as much time doing it as I do. Honestly, I figured it would take me at most 60-90 minutes a day to write this. The truth is, it easily takes me twice that. This isn’t (just) because I procrastinate. Writing well takes time for me. I want to make sure my thinking is clear, without question. But I also find myself agonizing over the feel and flow of my writing, which means when you read something, it’s likely been written and rewritten two or three or seven times.
I didn’t expect it would actually be a benefit to my local church. Bloggers have a bad reputation in the fellowship my church is associated with. This is, in no small part, due to said fellowship’s founder having made himself a (sometimes easy) target of some of the more nasty ones. Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid that reputation. And even better, my work here has actually led to increased opportunities to serve my local church. Because I read so much, I’ve been able to help recommend books for our resource center,2 something that fills my heart with joy since it hurts my soul to see people reading bad—or even not as good—books when I know of a really great one.
I didn’t expect to have my pride revealed as often as happens. This is especially true in two areas: when friends experience success, and when my own work fails to connect with readers (traffic). Although I am truly happy for friends when amazing opportunities come their way, there has been a part of me that wonders, “Why not me?” When a blog post I labor over completely tanks in terms of traffic (something over which I have very little control), there have been times when it’s hurt. What blogging has reminded me of is that I can be very, very prideful. But it’s also helped me learn to recognize the tendency and forced me to pray more consistently.
I didn’t expect I could make any sort of income from it. Seriously, I had no idea people did that. Then I started to make a (very) little bit of an income. Not enough to live a lavish lifestyle, but enough that the blog actually pays for itself, and allows me to do something fun with Emily and the kids every once in a while (like go to Starbucks).
I didn’t expect I would have books randomly start showing up. All the time. Personally, I love this. My wife, well…
I didn’t expect to become friends with some really great people. I’ve met some really great people over the last few years, and become friends with more than a few, which is really cool. Some work in publishing, others in church or parachurch ministries. Others still work in “secular” jobs. But all of them are people who deeply love Jesus, and being around them is really encouraging to me. (Though if Brandon would learn the difference between communism and socialism, I’d appreciate it.)