Blogging is incredibly fun and worthwhile. I began blogging consistently about two years ago. I took a few months off not too long ago to dedicate some time to writing my book (which you can read about here) but I’ve jumped back into it.
If you have an aspiration to be a writer, then you should absolutely start a blog. It’s the best avenue to get your feet wet. Don’t worry too much about how your website looks at first, rather, focus on your content.
In this post, I want to talk about three different aspects of blogging: writing, platform, and motivation.
Like I said above, if you aspire to be writer–whether just articles or a book–then your starting point should be to create a blog. Blogging will help get you started and find your niche.
What do I write about? Write what you’re passionate about. For me, I’m passionate about how theology impacts Christian’s lives–so 99% of my content is focused on that. Whatever it is, write about it. Dedicate your writing to that theme and people will read it. But at the same time, it’s good to not be a one-trick pony. Expand your horizon on occasion and write about other things.
Who do I write to? Determining what you are going to write about should essentially answer the question of whom you’re writing to. But getting that answered is important. If you desire to write to new Christians but your writing is very academic, then you’ll be writing over heads. Write to your readers.
How much should I write? You should write as much as you can, definitely if you’re just beginning. It doesn’t have to be a formal process. For instance, many of the blogs I publish start as notes in my iPhone and then I do a simple copy/paste to WordPress; and it’s not even at my laptop, but on my phone. If you have a good thought–or a thought at all–jot it down so you don’t forget. And simply keep adding to it and then BAM–you have your first blog.
How long should I write? There’s not a once-size-fits-all answer to this, but if I had to give one, I’d say you should write between 600-1,000 words on an average blog. If you’re writing Christian content, it needs to be long enough to be substantive but not too long to where you lose the reader’s attention.
You will not become a better writer if you do not . . . write. When I first began my blog I wrote a ton of content. I look back at it and some of it is atrocious because I missed typos, the sentences are too long, and there’s choppiness. But I still wrote it. And refined it. And am still perfecting it.
Oh, this dreaded word. Christians need to do some tip-toeing here because you can fall into the pit very quickly. I think all bloggers at some point have fallen into the pit regarding this issue, including myself on many occasions.
To say it upfront: there’s nothing wrong with desiring a platform. There’s nothing wrong with believing reader’s will benefit from your material.
“There is a kind of confident humility that strikes just the right note, I think,”Tim Challies said in an article once. “It allows writers to believe they have something to say that will benefit others, but also not to think too highly of themselves. I don’t think it’s a necessary sign of arrogance to believe that others may benefit from reading what you write.”
As I’ve grown as a writer, my blog has also grown. The more you write, the better writer you’ll become. And the better writer you become, it’s inevitable that you will get more readers. If you put out good content, people will notice.
Additionally, there’s also nothing wrong with keeping track of your statistics, as long as you don’t let them go to your head or get you down. There have been times when I’ve been discouraged by how low my numbers are; and, conversely, it’s possible that I get too confident in my own skills when I see my numbers go up. The saying, “Not too high, not too low,” in sports equally applies here.
The bottom line is this: don’t make it your goal to grow your platform merely so people will know your name. Desire for your platform to grow should be born out of a desire for people to read gospel content and to be encouraged.
Which leads to the last point.
I’ve said it before: I would still write these blogs even if nobody read them. Why? Because I simply love to write. Our motivation for writing should be to receive exposure, but for God’s glory to be recognized. Yes, in the process, you will receive exposure and your blog will grow. There’s nothing wrong with that. This simply goes back to ensuring you know to keep yourself humble when your work does get exposure.
You need to continually examine your motivation for writing because we can all slip into the crack of pride and cockiness. Don’t write articles just so you may get recognized for it. Write articles because you want to glorify God in your writing by edifying the church.