Categories
social media Weblogs

Just Write

So, you want to blog? And you’d like to build a following. Great. I’m here to help.

Here’s a quick reality check:

  • Success has nothing to do with a fancy blog design.
  • Success has nothing to do with learning the latest SEO tricks.
  • Success has nothing to do with finding advertisers to fund you.

So save your money. And don’t waste your brain cells.

Success as a blogger is so much simpler than that.

Just start writing. That’s 99% of the battle. Write, write, and write some more.

Success will find you when you are satisfied with who you are and how you write.

Start at the beginning

Chances are, as a reader of my blog, you’ve read something I’ve written and thought… “I could have said that, just better. I am smarter and a better writer than Adam McLane.” And you might be.

So what is the difference between you and I? Experience.

Go ahead and look at a tab on the right sidebar called, Archives. Then drop down all the way to the beginning. Go all the way back to May 2004 and read a few posts. I was horrible. But I was consistent, I was trying, and I was listening. And over time I wrote less about things that were interesting to only me and more about things that might be interesting to both me and you.

2004 was my beginning. Next, skip up to 2006, then 2008, then 2010. You’ll see a progression. I got better. I’d like to think that the progression continues.

If you are starting, just write. It doesn’t even matter what you write. Or if anyone reads it. Just write and write and write. You’ll figure it out.

You don’t have a reputation to protect

The biggest block to most people getting going (and later, to you growing) is a fear of embarrassment. Get over yourself. Stop it. You aren’t famous and you don’t have a reputation to protect. And if you can’t stop worrying about your reputation… write under a pen name and don’t tell anyone you are doing it. All that matters is that you start writing.

I wrote for two years on a blogger account not tied to my name directly. Then for the next two years I wrote on a Typepad blog… I didn’t move to adammclane.com until I’d been at it for a few years. I didn’t have a reputation to protect. But I probably thought I did.

Don’t make an announcement

I think letting people know that you are going to start blogging is the worst thing you can possibly do. Telling people seems to mount pressure. Pressure to perform steals the joy of expressing yourself. And once the joy is gone– you will convince yourself that you don’t have time or that it isn’t a priority.

Just write. Don’t promote. Forget about Twitter or Facebook or anything else. Just write. If it’s good, people will find it.

Measure the right things

I’m 7 years into this. I measure some pretty sophisticated things. If you are just starting out the only thing worth measuring is, “Did I write today?” Get a year into it… then add to that, “What kinds of posts draw comments?” Once you have enough confidence… then worry about things like, “What’s my niche`, who is my audience, and is my blog growing?

But for now… just write.

Categories
Church Leadership

Putting your worst foot forward

Photo by Kevin Trotman via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Which of these introductions garners the most trust to you?

  • Hello, my name is Adam McLane. Thank you for inviting me here today. As an expert in my field, I look forward to sharing with you this morning 7 insights which will revolutionize ________.
  • Hi. I’m Adam. I guess you’ve invited me here this morning because you’ve tried everything and looked around and found the one guy in the world who has tried more ways to _________ than you have. Well, I guess a broken clock is right twice a day. Let’s get started.

Chances are you like the first one a little better. The first introduction would cause you to reach into your bag and fish out a pen and some paper. But the question isn’t who would you like better or who would give you the most stuff to write down, it’s which introduction garners the most trust?

An experts role is to teach 5 things in an outline, collect his check, and move on to the next place. But a teacher creates questions inside which spurs on your own thoughts and solutions to the problems you are facing.

I have a tendency to trust the second introduction a lot more. I might not write down as much stuff… but that second introduction will cause me to lean in. Something about that humility tells me he has something to say.

It tells me that this person isn’t just rolling out their presentation… but they are probably going to take me somewhere I need to go. They are going to help me recognize that while I’ve failed in the past I can keep trying and searching for the answers I need.

And they aren’t going to lie to me and tell me that success is just 5 bullet points away. I already have mountains of notebooks filled with outlines on things that didn’t work. The second person is going to share the truth that the journey to success is paved with many pitfalls and traps along the way.

I can trust that person.

I think this is one subtle way the world has changed.

  • Expert = distrust
  • Humble guru = trust

We laugh at the irrelevance of the person who stands on the street corner proclaiming into a bullhorn that he has all the answers to life. Turn or burn, that’s all you need to do. Stop fornicating and you’ll be fine.

Let’s face it… it’s a stupid way to communicate. But it’s not unlike what we do in our churches. We hide behind our degrees, we point to our bookshelf, we hide from tough questions and real ministry by filling our schedule with meetings, and we gather as a staff to celebrate how awesome we are. But in the quiet moments, sharing coffee with a friend, we are no more faithful or have the answers than the person sitting in the pew behind us.

Trust me, but how?

I think most of us were raised in a time when we were told to always put our best foot forward. So we do that.

But times have changed. We can no go faster and further with people in building trust when we start by putting our worst foot forward.

“My name is ___________. I’m no better than you. I don’t have all the answers.”

Go ahead, repeat it out loud until it feels natural. It just might lead to something unbelievable.