4 Lessons from 4 Years of Blogging, with Lesley Crawford
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
It's hard to believe that this week marks four years since I took my first tentative steps into the blogging world. Uncertain what it involved, but drawn by a call to write, I hit "publish" on that first post, and it opened the door to the most amazing adventure!
Looking back, I am so encouraged by the growth that God has worked in many areas of my life through this writing journey, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share some of my experiences and the lessons learned here, in the hope that it may encourage others.
Lesson 1: Keep writing
Maintaining regular posts on a blog can be hard in the busyness of life. I'm sure we all have times when we feel we have nothing to say, or we worry about whether the posts we produce are any good, but I have found the best way to overcome this is to keep writing anyway.
Shortly after I began blogging, I heard a story about two groups of students in a pottery class. One group was told that their grade for the course would be based on the standard of pot they could produce by the end of the course. To get an A, they would have to produce a pot of the finest quality.
By contrast, the second group was told that their grade would be based only on the number of pots they produced. The more pots they made, the higher the grade, regardless of the quality!
It may be a surprise to hear that by the end of the course, the best pots had not been produced by the quality group but by the quantity group!
While the first group were hampered by their quest for perfection, the second group, who were free from that pressure, were able to learn from their mistakes and develop their technique, enabling them to produce their best work.
I have found the same principle to be true in blogging. Not every post will be perfect. I have certainly produced my fair share of wonky pots! While I cringe to look back on some of my earliest posts, it's also encouraging to see how far I've come.
So, keep writing - over time you will improve and gradually find your voice!
Lesson 2: Connect
One of the greatest unexpected blessings I have experienced over the last four years has been the wonderful Christian blogging community. I had no idea that blogging would lead to connections with so many amazing people all over the world.
If you're new to blogging, I'd encourage you to find community: take part in link-ups, visit other blogs, leave comments, and get to know people. Writing can be a very solitary activity at times, so it's good to connect and realise that you're not alone. Apparently a huge proportion of bloggers give up posting within the first year, and I know that it has largely been community that has provided the encouragement I've needed to keep going.
Another interesting side-effect of blogging for me has been the ability to develop deeper real-life community, as it has boosted my confidence and helped me to open up more with others.
Lesson 3: Be open to opportunities
As I've continued stepping forwards on this writing journey, I have never had a clear sense of the path ahead or a fixed idea of where it will lead. It has always been a case of seeking God and taking one step at a time.
It has been amazing to see the opportunities God has opened up, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. I've been able to write for two fantastic ministries which align so clearly with my passions and my calling: Gracefully Truthful, where I am able to share my love of the Bible, and Journey to Heal Ministries, where I am able to share hope with women who have experienced sexual abuse.
The most surprising opportunity was receiving encouragement to move forward with a curriculum I had been working on for Christian groups in primary schools. The basis of it had lain dormant on my computer for years; now it is being used by around 100 groups across Scotland!
If you're not sure what's next on your writing journey, don't worry! Just seek God and look for the opportunities he brings. When an opportunity comes up, take a risk and give it a try. It may lead to blessings you'd never have imagined...
... which brings me to my final point.
Lesson 4: Trust God
It is far too easy as bloggers to get caught up in stats and SEO and social media algorithms. While there's nothing wrong with trying to understand these things and wanting to grow our blogs, it is important to remember who is ultimately in charge.
God can get our words to those who need to read them. I know that my blog following is not huge, and there are undoubtedly steps I could take to increase it if I had the time. However, we serve a God who cares about the individual, and if God can use my words to have a positive impact on one person, I'm grateful. I would rather have one person encouraged in a meaningful way than several people reading just to boost my numbers.
Often we don't know how people are being impacted by our words, but I hold to God's promise in Isaiah 55:11 that as his Word goes out, it will always bear fruit and it will prosper wherever he sends it.
What about you? How long have you been blogging, and what are the key lessons you have learned?
Lesley lives in Scotland and works for a Christian charity. In her spare time, she enjoys music, theatre, reading, writing and walking in beautiful places, enjoying God's creation. She blogs at http://lifeinthespaciousplace.wordpress.com and writes to encourage people that, whatever their circumstances, there is always hope to be found in God. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter