Often times, I’m asked the question, “How do you write so much?” This question comes up so much that I thought now was the time to write a post on it. In this post I want to offer advice to new bloggers and also to seasoned bloggers.
I began my writing journey in 1998, while I was living with one of my brothers. I started writing, not because I was a good writer (I wasn’t at all at that time!), but rather because I read so much and I felt compelled to share my thoughts on the subjects I was reading. Thankfully my friends from church were gracious enough to read my weekly email blasts, and even emailed me in return to tell me that the articles were helpful. Well, that email list continued to grow and grow, especially as I started writing to more of my friends across the country. Eventually I started Servants of Grace on August 2nd, 2000, to make my work accessible from anywhere in the world.
As you begin your blogging journey, or continue blogging, take in the view of the adventure before you and be consistent in your writing. The people who need to find you will find your work, but also be proactive and share it on your social media outlets. This is important for several reasons; first, it takes time and practice to get good at writing. Notice I said that it takes time to get good at writing, not time to get good at blogging. There is a difference between writing and blogging, and until you can see the difference, your blogging will suffer. If you consistently write well people will not only find your work, but search it out. When writing, I consider the following questions (in this order): Is it is biblical? Is it practical? And is it personal? I begin with a topic and consider everything about it, perhaps studying it in depth if needed. Then I pray about it and if I feel that I need to seek counsel about whether I should speak to this issue or not, I consult with those I feel I can trust to give me sound feedback. Often times either my wife or close friends will advise me to speak or write about the subject at hand. At times they have said that I shouldn’t engage in the discussion on such things. This is crucial—you should always have an accountability team around you. Remember that you will be accountable for not only what you say, but also what you write. God will hold us accountable for every word we use, whether spoken aloud or on a blog.
Second, be real with your readers. Just as people can spot a fake or phony in person, they can also spot a fake online. The goal is to be genuine, specifically regarding what you do and don’t know. Write about topics you are passionate about, even while you learn about them (but if you’re not an expert on the subject, don’t pretend to be). Some people think they need to be an expert on a subject to speak about it, but that’s simply untrue. Yes, you may not be as learned about a variety of topics as scholars are, but that is okay. Scholars spend their whole lives researching things within their field of study. We can, and should, learn from their insights and perspectives. With that said, as Christians we ought to open up our Bibles, read them, study them, obey them, and then share from them. As a writer, I cannot help but write because I’m compelled to do so from within.
Third, find a good editor to review your work for you (especially if you tend to be grammatically challenged at times). Over time, and with a lot of practice, prayer, and trusting in God’s sovereign grace, your writing will improve and you will find your writing voice. I know I still have a lot to learn about writing, even though I’ve been through graduateschool. I’m reminded every time my wife edits one of my articles just how much I can improve. This is truly a blessing and not something to get defensive about, despite how we may feel initially.
Fourth, as someone who now edits other people’s work, let me tell you that it is okay to ask your editor (whoever that may be) for clarification! Editors want writers to ask questions when the reasons for certain changes may seem unclear. Even if you think you don’t need someone to proof-read your work, there is nothing wrong with asking someone else to take a second glance (and your readers will appreciate it too). No one is perfect, and neither is our writing. We need to be shown the best way to phrase things, and areas where we need to improve.
This brings me to my final point: be humble in your writing endeavors. So, you’ve finally written your post and had it edited, and now you are getting ready to post it. Did you pray for those who might read it? Now that you’ve prayed over your post and clicked “Publish”, it’s time to share it. Create a post on your social media page with a title such as, “New Article”, “New blog post”, or “Writing today about such and such issue”. Include a short quote from the article that captures a key point (having a teaser for the article can help draw people in). And finally—include an image for your blog post (if you can). Many readers are drawn to blogs solely based on the visually stimulating image included in a social media post.
Now it’s your turn to write! After reading my advice to you on writing, blogging and social media, I encourage you to share any thoughts you have about this topic in the comments…and if you’re brave enough (which I believe you are), write your own blog post! I look forward to learning from your insight and perspectives!