The Ups, Downs, and Mechanics of Blogging

Last week, I published my 3rd annual list of the Top 25 Youth Ministry Blogs. For some reason looking at all of those blogs from a statistical (as opposed to content) perspective caused some reflection on my own blogging life.

The Ups

My blog has more than 8 years of thoughts on it. While I’ve started to give myself a day off here and there for the most part I’ve averaged more than 1 post per day for 8 years.

There’s massive upside to this blog. First, for myself. I need an outlet for my thoughts. I need a way to organize what I’m thinking into what I’m really thinking. And ┬ámany times I need to write just get it out of me. Second, for my readers. In the first few years I was adamant that I blogged for me. But as time has gone on and as this blog has grown in popularity I’ve had to deal with and accept the reality that this blog has influence over people’s lives in ways that just don’t make sense to me. — I’ve received infinitely more feedback (positive/negative) on this blog than I’ve ever received in preaching, teaching, writing for magazines, or writing books.

This blog has encouraged, challenged, and trained a lot of people in ways that make no sense. For me, it’s weird enough that I can sit down and writing something over a cup of coffee that several thousand people will read before I go to bed.

Since 2008 all of my families income has come as a direct/indirect result of this blog.

The Downs

This blog has probably cost me some friends along the way. People today are so flippant with others. Relationships are ruined because of the stupidest things like philosophical disagreements. I’ve been confronted many times because of things I’ve written and it never feels good. For every opportunity this blog has created it has probably spoiled just as many.

This blog has pissed off a lot of people. People think they know me because of what I write. People think that because I write something that I’m making some sort of statement… as if I have the authority to do so. I’ve heard friends in ministry call my blog a liability. I know of at least one person who has their subscription to my blog used as a reason to be fired from their church.

The unfiltered nature of blogging is a double-edged sword. I love that I can sit down over a cup of coffee and without an editor, publicist, or mechanism of any kind have a thought go out into the wild. But that means that my ability to communicate what I’m thinking in that moment can easily be misconstrued, misconstructed, or even flat-out-wrong.

The Mechanics of My Blog

People always want to know how I do this. I think they look at their life, have a small glimmer of a desire to blog, and can’t figure out how it actually works.

  • For me, blogging is a habit. It’s just what I do when I get up.
  • Most often I am writing my post for about 45 minutes somewhere between 6:30 – 8:00 am.
  • Yes, I really do write posts the day they go out. Often times they have only been read through 1 time before I hit publish.
  • I rarely schedule posts to publish in advance.
  • I almost never have a plan.
  • I do capture ideas for future posts on Evernote, almost like it’s a religion.
  • In Christian language, you could call this blog my devotions. Before I had a blog I had lots and lots of notebooks.
  • I write every day no matter what I’m feeling. Each days post reflects my mood. Just like in real life, some days you are feisty, some days you are chilled, some days you have something to say, and some days you have to force something.
  • I have to say something every day. Think about that… sometimes it’s easy to come up with something to say and other times it’s really hard.
  • I don’t have an expectation that they will all be winners. Some are turds and some are golden eggs.
  • Getting people to think about things sometimes means I’m intentionally stating things just to get a reaction. I’m intentionally telling one side of a story or over-stating an opinion. Why? Because you won’t care if I write something diplomatically.
  • While I know, particularly sometimes, that I will tick some people off with things I say. I don’t ever intend to harm, tick off, or whatever. I don’t take pleasure in hurting someone’s feelings. (I’d like to think I’ve grown in this area.)
  • I don’t have an ax to grind. There are times when I know I need to talk about something big in my life. (I have to get it out on the blog or it’ll come out in some less healthy way!)
  • I’ve been told I hate the church, I hate youth ministry, I hate I hate I hate I hate. Please stop it. That makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, why would I dedicate my life to serving, encouraging, and training church workers if I didn’t have a deep love of the church and hopes that bagillions of people would experience Christ there?
  • I try to limit my posts to 500-600 words. And this post is already over 800.
  • And I’m out of time. So if there are type-o’s I apologize.

What is my blog all about?

With the influx of new readers and subscribers, (RSS & email) I thought it was good to do a little reset.

Why do I blog? What do I blog about? How do I go about blogging? These are the questions I answer in the video above.

Web/Tech Weblogs

Reminder: Back-up your blog

This morning I woke up and my blog was down. With more than 6 years of content here that is scary.

It was a healthy reminder to me that it was time to back-up my blog. (After fixing some corrupt tables)

This is your reminder: If you haven’t backed-up your self-hosted WordPress blog lately, you need to do it.

Don’t know how?

No problem! I wrote a tutorial for you over on the McLane Creative blog.