This is a different kind of post for me. I don’t usually blog about blogging, but I’m processing through some things and seeking input.
I have a button on my blog that says “I’m a Faithful Blogger.”
But am I?
The button is from a site for Christian bloggers. I saw it on another blog so I checked it out. It took about 30 seconds to sign up and put the button on my own blog.
Now what? I don’t interact on the site (my bad?). I haven’t noticed that anyone from that site visits my blog. So what’s the point?
That’s what I’m trying to figure out. And that’s also where I could use some help.
Here is the issue: I want to be focused with my time and faithful with the gifts God has given me. Sometimes I feel like those two things are at odds with each other.
About a decade ago, the Lord really impacted my heart with the parable of the talents and I realized he wanted me to be faithful in actively cultivating the gift of words. Since then I have been writing regularly (mostly), but I’ve never known where to go from there. I struggle with what faithfulness looks like in getting my words “out there.”
I also consider time to be a precious gift. Because it is, I believe I have a responsibility to be intentional in stewarding my time. For me, that usually means not spending time seeking out additional writing opportunities, networking with other writers, or doing much of anything to try to build an “audience.” Those aren’t things I’m naturally inclined toward, so I tend to focus my limited available time on actually writing.
I guess this whole post is Jeff Goins’ fault. (If you’re not familiar with him, check out his main blog here.) His stuff is good, so I read it whenever I have a chance. But some of his posts vex me! I love that he always focuses first on the actual writing–write what is real to you and what you are passionate about–but he also gives a lot of other really great (I’m sure) suggestions about marketing, finding your tribe, building a platform, making the most of each opportunity, etc.
All of which I fail at miserably.
So this is my question: What does faithfulness in this “gift” of writing look like to you? Is faithfulness just the writing itself and putting it out there on a blog (or whatever), or does faithfulness also involve actively seeking ways to expand your reach and, hopefully, impact more hearts?
This question is “loud” for me right now for a couple of reasons. I’ve had a couple of outside writing opportunities over the years that more or less fell into my lap. One of them was just last week, so it’s fresh in my mind. (By the way, the opportunity last week was a guest post on one of Jeff Goins’ blogs. You can read it here. Apparently it good practice when guest blogging to post a link on your site. Who knew? Better late than never.)
The good thing about waiting for God to plop opportunities in front of your face is that it’s nice having 100% success in getting things published. The bad news is that it has only happened a few times (four to be exact) over a period of years! Each time I’ve thought, “Oh, maybe I should do that more often!” but then realize I have no idea where to start. I start looking at a few things, get overwhelmed, feel like I’m being distracted and wasting my time–then stop completely.
The second reason I’m pondering this now is even more personal. I wrote a book last year. After waiting and praying over the completed manuscript for many months, I finally felt the Lord’s nudge to “do something”–so I have decided to go with a very simple self-publishing route and it should be available on Amazon and Kindle (Lord willing) within a couple of months.
When you pour your heart and soul into something–and you know God has given you something to say that is relevant to someone out there somewhere–you want to do what you are reasonably able to do to get it in the right hands. But I’m a terrible “promoter.” Not because I don’t believe the book has merit, but simply because I’m not good at it! As a result, I have pitifully low expectations for my book.
But I’d hate to limit its potential simply because of my own unbelief.
The thing is, I really don’t care all that much about being successful as a writer, but I care a lot about faithfulness. I care about having impact. And I care about effectively stewarding my gifts and my time.
Since you can make a scriptural argument on either side of this coin, I know there aren’t any pat answers. Ultimately I’ll continue to seek heaven’s wisdom and do what I believe Jesus is leading me to do whether it falls in line with conventional wisdom or not.
But it would be nice not to feel quite so alone in all of this.
So what about you? What does faithfulness look like in your writing? (Or other gifts.) Is it just the writing, or does it include how you get it “out there”? Do you network with other writers? Have you found your “tribe”? If so, how? Do you seek out writing opportunities? How do you narrow it down to only those blogs/publications that fit your particular style without taking tons of time to do so?
What about your blog? Is it super important to blog on a regular day (or days) of the week or just when you have something to say? What about twitter and social media–how important is that? (I usually post my blog on Facebook, but don’t even have a twitter account.)
I’m hoping someone out there is willing to jump into the conversation. Even asking is a stretch for me, but maybe we can help each other? Have any of you ever wrestled through any of this stuff– or am I alone in this?
Really … what does being a faithful blogger look like to you?