Today marks one year of blogging with Word Press and I couldn’t let the day go by without some reflection. The other day, my brother sent me something he wrote for a class and asked if I could look over it for him. As I was going through his memoir, I reminisced in my early days of writing and how I got to where I am now.
My blogs are only a fraction of what my journal covers. At 545 pages, 9 pt. font, and half-inch margins, my journal covers the last 3 and 1/2 years of college, writing, and life in general. At times I wrote with overwhelming joy, at other times I wrote with fury and rage, and still at other times I wrote with deep, indescribable sorrow. Most of what’s there isn’t worth publishing on a blog because I frequently lose my train of thought and quite frankly, it’s just bad writing. But it does chronicle my life with Jesus. And this blog highlights what’s happened within the last year.
When I started with Word Press, I was days away from catching the Swine Flu, which would offset my student routine by quite a bit. Missing an entire week of school is never fun to catch up from. The last thing I had time for was writing about my thoughts or feelings on here.
Being removed from the writing scene really hindered me from enjoying my Creative Writing class. The professor of that class completely tore my confidence apart with her blunt criticism. I doubted that I’d feel a passion for any kind of writing again. If you look through my November archives, you won’t see too many posts.
Eventually, though, I came out of that writing slump feeling more educated about good writing; what it looked like and how to write it. I can’t say that I’ve written it or anything close to it, but I’d like to think so. Thinking through how I got that confidence back, I realize it was a mixture of two things; Jesus and blogging.
Writing a blog is different than writing a short story or writing a journal entry. You aren’t writing just get some thoughts out (like in a journal) and you’re not trying to develop characters by making them more realistic (like in a short story). Instead, you’re addressing an audience, which requires coherency from start to finish. Unlike a journal entry, people will read what you write and react to it. They could be mad, glad or apathetic, but more often than not, they’ll critique what you put out there.
In this last year, I’ve learned that people respond better when there’s some kind of underlying message within each blog. If you pay attention to the blogging world, there are a lot of good ones, but a lot of bad ones, too. There are plenty of blogs about programs, products, or organizations that promise to “change your life,” but none of those offer any piece of wisdom. People don’t relate to material items; people relate to people.
With all this said, I come to what I’ve learned in this last year of blogging. And I believe they all come down to 3 main things; 1. Let your passions drive your life, 2. Be deliberate with what you do and say, and 3. Be human. So many people are afraid of being themselves that they model their personalities after celebrities or athletes. And in many cases, they follow suit with the destructive or selfish lifestyles that many celebrities live.
The greatest thing that I’ve learned from any of my writing classes is one simple question after I’ve written something; What did it cost me? What part of that blog revealed something embarrassing, something humiliating, or just something that I’m uncomfortable talking about? It could be the worst writing I’ve ever put out to the public, but if it cost me something, it could be the most relatable blog I’ve ever put out as well.
My journalism classes love blogging and its role in the communications world. But I love blogging for what it causes me to do: Engage people. I’ve noticed a relationship with how I write blogs and how I talk to people. My thoughts have become more organized, clearer and I’m able to share them with more conviction – even if my opinions are completely wrong. And after writing blogs and hearing/reading peoples’ responses, I’ve been more efficient in asking questions and listening to the answers.
In this next year of blogging, I hope to write more per month. I hope to write more about practical things and thereby becoming more relatable to readers. And ultimately, I hope to write more boldly about my faith in Jesus (not arrogantly; there’s a huge difference). I owe my passion for writing to Jesus, so I might as well as dedicate my writing to Him in both word and deed.
So happy birthday, blog. The last year has been a great run, but I think this next year will be even better. And thanks Word Press, you make blogging fun.