I got to talking with someone about writing and blogging last week and I quickly realized, I’ve now been blogging and teaching blogging courses for 5 years. I started in late September 2007 on this space, before I moved to WordPress, and then I switched once more to this space.
I’m sure there’s one or two of you who remember my Sunday evening posts where I recapped the entire weekend of sports. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that no one cared, though I do wish I could make some money as a sports analyst.
Blogging has been a great outlet for me. It has been a space to process my marriage, my work at the local church level, and my seminary studies. Over the last 5 years, 5 lessons immediately stick out. I believe these are lessons we all can learn from, in various contexts.
1. Size doesn’t matter. At all.
It has taken me 5 years of consistent blogging (I’ve never taken a break for more than a week) to even make a top 200 Church bloggers list. But I’ve had countless conversations and I even ended up writing a book, all because of this blog.
Some people want to aim for big crowds, but I believe the people who actually make a difference are those that decide to be stewards of what has been entrusted to them.
2. Planning ahead is key for longevity.
Between all the artistic creators I know who have been at their craft for more than a decade, one thing stands out: planning ahead. Every single one of them has thoughts and ideas about what they want to do within the next month and sometimes longer.
In one of my first seminary classes ever I remember getting the syllabus and thinking, “there’s no way I can do all this and survive the semester.” Then a guy sitting next to me said, “I already have it done.” He had gotten the syllabus from the prof 2 weeks before the class started. He read all the books and wrote all the papers. My mind was blown.
Currently I have 25 posts in my “rough drafts” folder. Each is only partially finished. Some only have a sentence written. But the key is I’m constantly striving to get ahead so that I’m never creating due to a deadline. You can’t force it.
3. Creating something from nothing is never easy, but always worthwhile.
Some days I have plenty of ideas and thoughts that border on profound (I kid, I kid). Some days just getting motivated to do some work is the hardest battle.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared at a computer screen for over an hour, with simply nothing to draw from. If this act of creation was easy it would never be meaningful. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
4. Just because people are reading it doesn’t make it good.
That’s why I hate posts with lists. Oops.
5. Your writing matters. Kind of.
I told a blogger friend of mine last week that his writing mattered. His writing made me a better person. It helped me ask questions and clarify things about myself and my work that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. His words have the power to shape my life. That’s a big deal.
But the writing doesn’t capture all of him. Who he is, as my friend, is what matters.
Yes, I’m a writer and a blogger. And I know many others that are as well. But who I am when I’m not pounding away at the keyboard is what ultimately matters. I’m a child of God, a husband, a soon-to-be father, and a pastor.
Those are the things that matter before you ever type a word.
Those of you who write and/or blog what lessons have you learned?