When I began blogging almost 3 years ago I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to write and thought that meant print publishing. Then someone said, “You can do a blog.” What’s that?, I wondered.
Thanks to a week of snow on the ground and oodles of free time, Three Way Light was born.
I was welcomed by a few new online friends into the High Calling network and encouraged to pursue my passion. In just three years, God has shown me a few things about the path I’ve chosen, this ‘writing for the world,’ and given me some perspective-makers to keep me focused:
1. Find Your Nancy
As you’re tapping and typing away at your laptop or desktop computer, there IS no audience, it’s just you and Jesus and your words. You send them out into the blogosphere and pray for a connection. You hope they’ll land somewhere, maybe touch a chord and speak to somebody. “Jesus, I just want to connect with someone.”
At least that was my prayer.
Lo and behold, one day I got a comment on a blog post. (Yay! It’s OK to do a Happy Dance when someone leaves a comment.) Someone actually read what I wrote and told me about it!
It was an encouraging, precious word from a woman named Nancy. (Hi Nancy!) And she showed up every week, to read whatever I’d written. In spite of my fears that my words were less-than-profound, she’d remark on their depth or how encouraged she felt. Since then she has regularly read and commented on my posts.
Now I have a very small crowd of ‘regulars’—fellow writers/bloggers and readers who encourage me as well. But I always remember Nancy—to write just for her—as if she was the only one listening. It personalizes my writing, which makes it more relatable. It also gives me hope.
2. Choose Your Words
Not everything is a blog post! Like the nurse logs in the Washington Coast rainforest, some things just serve as detritus for new growth. You know all those sticky notes and backs of envelopes? Those inspired scribbles from a Sunday morning sermon you wrote on the back of the bulletin? The scraps of paper you found just in time to scratch a revelation on? Yeah, you’re probably not going to write all that down…
Not everything gets into print—much of it is practice for the process, part of the pile—a paper compost pile that is the growth medium for what you DO write. The Holy Spirit will quicken in you the words that need to see the light of day. Some of it will serve as markers, sitting in your notebook or under a paperweight, reminding you of how far you’ve come. Just keep writing. Persist, and then choose the honest, compelling words to share.
3. Build Relationships.
I am no professional marketing person to speak to what ‘platform’ is. I am a believer in Jesus and a writer; I simply offer my words back to God to use as He sees fit. Looking past all the social media skills and conferences and platform building, I think the core truth is this:
I am not concerned with numbers or stats, really. For me, about connecting. But how can you extend your reach? Widen your audience? Make those connections?
By reading other peoples’ words, commenting when you can and having them click back and find you. That’s how others will find what you have to say. There are other voices and blog places that share your passion and vice versa. Maybe maybe it’s The High Calling, maybe it’s an online magazine—like Ruminate or Relief Journal or Bedlam (a little guest post I did.)
Two online communities with like minded writers that bless me are also The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood–Jen Ferguson, and The Sabbath Society–Ms. Shelly Miller. Best thing about these groups? There are no ‘dues’ and the words are free!
In all these overlapping circles of friendship you find yourself touching an ever-expanding Venn diagram of comments and topics and people. I personally am interested in keeping my reach small so I can go deep, rather than being wide and therefore shallow. You’ll find what feels right for you. But wide or deep, it’s all just relationship connections.
As you write keep these three things in mind.
- Find your Nancy and write for her.
- Choose your words and persist.
- Build relationships.
Do this consistently and you will see your writing and creativity move forward and impact people you never thought possible.