Five years ago this week I started blogging. I jumped in knowing that for a publisher to consider my book proposal (what is now Get Your Story Straight), they would want to see I had an online presence. My following wasn’t huge (still isn’t by most bloggers’ standards) but God orchestrated the details of connecting me to New Growth Press. To think five years later I’m in the process of book 3 with them I wouldn’t have ever imagined.
Back then I just wondered if I would have any new content to post the following week. I still wonder at times. But more often than not I have more to write about than the actual time to do it. However, I have managed (more or less) to stick to my goal of one post per week.
Writing gurus say you don’t have to be published to be a writer, you just need to stay in the daily and weekly cycle of writing words. 500 words a day, or whatever goal a writer sets for themselves, just something to make it a habit and to hone in on your skills. I think it’s helping, though I know my grammatical errors and spelling mistakes might make you think otherwise!
Besides that I’ve discovered three things (good and bad) along the way of making this habit a hobby that demands the time of a job:
- Writing helps me process my thoughts and directs me to the Lord. Sometimes I start a post and don’t know at all where it’s going. It may be a topic or personal situation I’m struggling with, or feeling emotional over, but haven’t yet identified exactly why I’m feeling the way I am. Writing helps me sort through it, giving me words to what I don’t even know is going on in my head and heart. In fact, many times it’s upon finishing a post that my “Aha” moment comes and realize I either figured out the answer to what I was mulling over, or moved from a place of anxiety, fear or despair back to trusting in God’s goodness.
2. Writing gives me confidence and at the same time makes me vulnerable. The more I’ve written, the more I’ve found my voice. Through studying, reading, thinking and writing on certain topics in particular I feel more confident now speaking with “authority” despite not having the formal seminary or counseling training I wish I did. But at the same time, to put words out there publicly is to mark yourself for criticism and critique. This is where I have had to wrestle with my identity being secure in Christ. Only his opinion of me matters, so if someone disagrees with what I’ve written, or writes a review or comment that I feel is ungrounded I don’t have to justify myself in an efffort to make myself look better. This isn’t always easy and can shoot right through any confidence.
3. Spending time crafting the words for a post and honing in on the message I want to convey sometime feels like a waste of time. This goes along with #2 in that I must find my worth securely in Christ. To write a post and then feel like it wasn’t as widely read or embraced as I had hoped feels deflating. It also helps me better understand what my husband and other pastors go through after spending so much time preparing a sermon and then feeling like it falls on deaf ears (or in a church plant like ours that no one was there to hear it!). When this is the case with my blogging is when I wonder why I spend the time doing what I do any maybe I need to get a real, paying job. But then I go back to #1 and remind myself that even if no one reads a word I write, writing is beneficial to me.
To that end, I will keep on writing and encouraging others to do the same. It doesn’t need to be a blog or a book, a prayer journal is a fantastic way to help wrestle through your own thoughts or make notes about what you are learning in scripture or otherwise. If you take up writing in any form, as a new habit this coming year, I would love to hear what you learn. To five more years of blogging…
Growing in Grace Together,