On this blog, I write about intersections, those places where roads meet, choices are made, collisions happen and directions change. I write about pain, nature, ideas, culture, choices, emotions, creativity, relationships, the scriptures, significant conversations. These are the places where
ordinary intersects supernatural. It can be a bit of a challenge, addressing issues with layers and levels of complexity – and trying to do it well and winsomely in packages under 500 words. (Ok, more like 800 most days.) But I keep at it. And I keep at it knowing that not every reader who wanders by here will get what I’m trying to do or want to come along for the journey. I realize that this is not a blog for the masses. There are some however, who understand. The topics I address here resonate and ring their hearts like a bell. I know because sometimes they write and tell me. Knowing I’m not alone… and knowing my thoughts here have stirred divine interactions in the hearts of others – both have been some of the greatest blessings I’ve gained from blogging.
So, as I bring this series on blogging and writing to a close, I wanted to write a few words from my heart. My parting thoughts, those things I would say to you if we were face to face over coffee and winding down our delightfully stimulating conversation on the topic of blogging and writing.
Write from who you are, where you are – Please, don’t go into this business (using that word loosely…) to try and please anyone but yourself. There are too many of us out here (who don’t know and love you) for you to put the definition of success for yourself in our hands. And the point of writing is that we hear from the writer. Give your heart some attention and figure out what it is you want to say for where you are in life. It doesn’t have to be overly serious. I love cooking blogs. I love photo blogs. I love review blogs. I follow many family story blogs. They are average people who are writing from who they are, where they are. And they write well. Stories are powerful. You know this. Some of you however, have big thoughts to share with us. Truly significant topics to write about – you know things we need to know. You want to create a body of work so that others may be able to learn from it, that you may be able to use one day in a professional/personal/powerful context. We are waiting.
Be willing to learn and change and grow – a blog isn’t a lifetime commitment. They have life spans. And when they are over, let them go. Take a hiatus if needed. Be willing to change your topics, your writing style, your writing schedule… or walk away from the computer and spend sometimes outdoors – whatever it takes to evolve and grow as a person and communicator. I would hope, unless you are the rare freak of literary nature who manages excellence right out of the gate, that who you are as a writer today is vastly different from who you will be in five years. We can all get better. This is as it should be.
Find a group of friends to bounce ideas off of. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself as a writer is to find a few trusted folks and invite them to give feedback. Engage them in conversation about what you are doing with your blog or manuscript or ideas and listen to how your words sound and how they receive them. If you can say it clearly and get understood, you can write it. Writing and speaking are strongly related methods of communication. Having another set of eyes, another opinion of what works and doesn’t… that is not only incredibly valuable, but it can be a tremendous springboard for improvement. And be sure to toughen up your skin and lower the defenses when they speak honestly. Make it easy for them to speak truth to you and really listen to what they are saying. Yes, I know your writing is your baby and no one likes to hear their baby doesn’t smell fresh. But if the truth leads to progress…then get yourself to the place where you actively seek and welcome truth. (Um, that was a very big statement right there, about life, not just about writing…Jn. 8:32)
Thanks for following along these last few weeks as I’ve explored some of the why’s and how’s of my writing/creativity process. I hope it has stirred some constructive thoughts for you about your own. I believe that times of introspection, of slowing down long enough to really give some attention to why and how we do things, can be not only inwardly refreshing, but outwardly practical. I hope this has been helpful. I would love to hear from you if you’ve been following along and enjoyed or gotten something out of this series.