Lessons Learned from Blogging (Plus, Winners Announced!)
What an exciting year it has been professionally and personally since beginning this blog, Witty Words, a year ago. Last week was fun reading the most popular posts of the year. Who would have thought that topics such as discipline, VBS, pork rinds, trees, and ellipsis could all be in the most viewed posts? Not me!
I also wouldn’t have believed the many lessons that I’ve learned this year from blogging. God has definitely used this to help me grow, learn about Him, and introduce me to believers all over the globe. Fascinating! So today—before I announce the giveaway winners (sorry, ya gotta wait!)—I wanted to share all that I’ve learned from one year of blogging.
God’s agenda is different than mine.
I began this blog to begin to develop an audience and platform for book publishing. I’ve been in the magazine and curriculum publishing for 12 years; now my desire is to write inspiration/devotional non-fiction material. Having a following (a.k.a. “guaranteed sales”) through a blog is pretty much the norm and very much expected before submitting a book proposal. So I dug in my heels and began blogging to somehow fill that seemingly daunting requirement.
What God taught me is so much different than my original agenda …
- I thought I was developing an audience; God introduced me to new friends.
- I thought I was building a platform; God taught me more about Him.
- I thought I was building toward a future goal; God taught me that He’s concerned with this moment right now and that I should be, too.
- I thought I was fulfilling a requirement for the publishing world; God reminded me that He has the whole world in His hands.
I love to talk about and teach others about writing and grammar and the publishing industry, and I wanted others to love those topics as much as I do. However, if you’ve been a reader from the very beginning, you might have noticed my blog topics slowly and slightly shifting. Perhaps about six months into blogging, my heart changed toward what I was writing. I noticed people responding more to the devotional thoughts than the posts about commas and ellipsis. I noticed God giving me the words to write verses me typing out what I wanted to say. I noticed God got all the glory when the posts were about Him instead of this writer/editor getting glory when it was about what I wanted to say.
Because of His agenda, I’ve met incredible believers around the world—incredible men and women of God who are making remarkable strides for the Kingdom through their own blogs. God has granted me the blessing of praying for “friends” I’ve never physically met. He’s allowed me to be a part of His platform that is bigger and much more world-wide than my original plan.
Thank You, God!
God is always more concerned about the individual than the masses.
Blogging used to be unique, fresh, special. Now the blogging world is saturated. Which is great—there is a plethora of awesome, amazing, life-changing material out there. You can find and read about anything you want! But now it’s all about the numbers … the hits … the subscriptions (especially when the agenda is my own and not God’s). When I get caught up in the numbers that other blogs are receiving, I quickly—oh, so quickly—lose my focus. Essentially I’m saying, “God, I like your agenda, until it doesn’t bring in the amount of readers that the world says is ‘enough,’ so when that happens I’ll just panic, be anxious, be jealous, and take things into my own hands. Okay?”
Yikes! Does the green-eyed monster ever track you down and tackle you? It really does me. In one breath I’ll praise God for all He’s done; in the next moment I’ll curse over the success of a fellow blogger. How horrible! My heart and my desire is to help others. The flip side? Extreme jealousy. How crazy! I want millions of readers! (I don’t ask for much, right?)
But God, in His gentle way of disciplining and teaching, has shown me that it’s not about the millions. Or the thousands. Or even the hundreds. It’s about that one individual who needed to hear from God. And sometimes God ordains for that word to come from a blog … this blog. God has taught me how His agenda is for me to be used by Him for individuals, not the masses. Maybe someday I’ll graduate to that bigger blogging world. That is, if it’s His plan for me. But each day, I try—I really, really try—to remember to encourage one person. To impact one person. To help one person. To give hope to one person. If I am touching individuals one at a time—much like Jesus did in His earthly ministry—then I am on fulfilling His agenda for ME. I can’t fulfill His agenda for someone else. I can’t run someone else’s race. I have to run my own.
Is it easy? Honestly, no. Perhaps I am conceited, immature, or thick-headed. Or perhaps I’m just human. But I want to sincerely say “thank you” to those of you who send encouraging notes back to me. I am blessed by blessing others through God’s great wisdom, grace, and mercy, and I pray that cup always runneth over.
Thank You, God!
God is giving me time to develop my craft.
No one expects to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel or a NY Times bestseller with their first book. But every writer has a teeny-tiny hope deep, deep down in their hearts that they will be successful with their first try. That they will get a publishing deal. That people will like them. That their work will be proved worthy.
Writing a non-fiction book is like writing non-fiction anything else, right? I’ve found out that answer is no. Writing magazine articles and curriculum units (although they’re not fiction) is not quite like writing non-fiction books.
God has given me lots of writing opportunities, via this blog, to hone and sharpen my skills and to develop my craft more, even after many years of being published. Humbling? Well, yes. Necessary? I see now that it is. Allowing God to control the writing process has been a much-needed training session—one that you just can’t learn in a writing class or seminar. Writing is something that you never fully master, because the craft changes as you change as the writer. As a writer, I can always change, grow, develop, and get better. Maintaining a rigorous blogging schedule helps develop those writing and editing skills.
Thank You, God!
And thank YOU, friends and readers!
If you have been a faithful reader this year—THANK YOU!
If you have been one of those commenting with encouraging—THANK YOU!
If you have been a prayer warrior for me—THANK YOU!
If you are a new follower—THANK YOU!
If you write your own blog, changing your corner of the world (or the whole world!) and making a difference by giving hope, encouragement, sound advice, and enjoyable reading material—THANK YOU!
Now … onto the winners of the 1st Anniversary Giveaway!
Did you skip reading and scroll down to this part? Well, I can’t say that I blame you! The anticipation is overwhelming, isn’t it? There were many entries, but only two lucky readers (chosen at random) could win the fabulous $50 gift cards.
(Drum roll please!)
The winner of the $50 AMAZON gift card is … SUSIE , who blogs at SPTP2011 (Stumbling into Grace with Security Praise Truth and Persistence). Susie entered the most times, which was a smart strategy that brought home a prize! Susie writes from her heart; she is authentic and loves the Lord God. Susie, thanks for being a faithful reader and encourager, and I hope you enjoy the gift card!
The winner of the $50 REGAL CINEMA gift card is … VICTORIA, who blogs at Home and the Range (Comforts of Home and Homstyle Cooking), where she shares recipes that blend the South and the Southwest. Victoria, thanks for reading, and I hope you and Poppy enjoy a movie and some popcorn!
Congrats to the winners! Thank you to all who entered my 1st Anniversary Giveaway!
Copyright 2012, Christi McGuire. All rights reserved.