Words. It’s a rare moment that my mind isn’t full of them. If I could capture and tame all the blog post and book ideas that persistently crash around in my head I’d never come to the end of all the pages they’d fill.
But most of them don’t cooperate.
Neither does life.
Living with all the words is hard. My mind tends to be a rather loud place to live. I need to write. Need to write. But writing is hard. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
Physically… I LIKE paper. I enjoy the act of writing. Sitting down at the computer and seeing my words rapidly appear on the screen is great, too, but different. Typing is more about YOU. Handwriting is usually more active worship and processing what I’m learning and feeling, the first step of bringing order to the chaos so I can share it meaningfully to encourage you. Sadly, my fingers, wrist, and forearm don’t like to hold, squeeze, and press on a pencil too long. I’ve had to again curtail my Scripture writing and devotional journaling. It makes me sad. It’s frustrating. I feel vaguely incapacitated, like I’m missing an invisible limb.
Mentally… Meaningful writing requires effort. Although many of my posts people most respond to are ones I put more heart than brain into, in the form of planning or scheduling, they all require some type of order.
Emotionally… While writing is therapeutic, wading through the muck to share the treasure isn’t simple or easy. While blogging can be powerfully healing, the healing comes at a price. Sometimes it requires returning to a place of pain and chaos to claim the words that can help you in your pain and chaos. The hope was always there, but I couldn’t see it until I wasn’t ignorantly sitting on top of it. Sometimes I need to fight my way back through the darkness in hopes of showing you the light.
I can’t know how God will use my words. I can have faith that He WILL use them. I can struggle and doubt my way through, and love the times I’m sure I’m doing what I’m called to do.
Fruit of Brokenness
Starting this new blog was a relatively easy choice. Deciding to try a new webhost, not too difficult. Bluehost seemed a good choice, more user-friendly than 1&1. Setting up WordPress was pretty easy. But now I receive several messages from Jetpack each day, notifying me my site is down. Sometimes it happens while I’m trying to work on it. I may need to move my blog.
Deciding to monetize became an easier choice when I knew that blogging is my thing, so to speak (or at least I know it most of the time beneath the crippling shadow of self-doubt). I rather need to generate some income, and I want to use the time I invest in clients to invest in my blog, so, I need to be able to replace the income, and, ultimately, generate more.
Monetizing is uncomfortable. I’ve moved into a place where I have to market my blog, myself. Let me just say, figuring out how to find and capture the attention of my target audience in an… un-cute… niche…
Here’s the thing… blogging is hard, y’all.
It’s uncomfortable to have to redefine success. It’s no longer sufficient to just think I’ll write it and put it out there and let God do with it what He wants… There’s nothing wrong with that philosophy, but I’ve been pushed out of its comfort. I went from being a tiny fish in a small pond, to a tiny fish in the ocean. I’m not 100% sure what success looks like at this point. But I know I’m not yet doing all I can. As long as I can get a handle on what I should do, it’ll be fine.
Encouragement for the Conflicted Christian Blogger
Are you a conflicted Christian blogger, or do you love one you’d like to encourage? Here’s some encouragement from my heart… and mind, to yours.
It’s okay to want to grow your audience and build your platform.
You believe you have something to share, don’t you? You have a story worth telling, right? If you know that God can use what you’ve experienced and learned, then why would you hesitate to try to get your words to more people? I know, I know; I struggle, too. I’m not wired for self-marketing, and that’s what it feels like. Look at me! Look at me! But is it really you you want to glorify, or is it God and His work in you? Settle that first.
Money is NOT the root of all evil.
No matter what you think you’ve heard, money isn’t evil. The love of money, however… Through various circumstances, my family is in debt. I really want to move, out of the village and out of this house of bad memories. But that can’t happen, and unless something changes amazingly it will be quite some time before it can. I’d like to go back to having a second vehicle. Again, not going to happen. My husband is on VA disability, so his income isn’t going up. The only way to bring in more money to get out of debt faster is if I can earn more. So… Weigh wants vs. needs. Remember everything you have is God’s, and commit to using all your resources as He leads. I’ve only made $1 since I decided to try monetizing. Since Amazon doesn’t pay you until you have at least $10, um, yeah, I’ve earned nothing…
Your testimony is awesome.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said it, and it won’t be the last, but YOU ARE UNIQUE. No one else lived your life. No one sees the world exactly as you do. God’s work in your life is tailored specifically to how He wired you and who He made you to be. Your experiences and your perspective may be different than anyone else’s, but your mess and how God has worked in and through it – your brokenness and the fruit God has produced through it – can encourage others. The story God wants you to tell today can touch someone that the story He calls me to tell today can’t. And vice versa.
Success is not what most say it is.
Do you know how many hits WordPress thinks I had on my blog last month? 609. When you do the math, it’s, well, embarrassing to put out there. When an average 300 hits per day or 2000 followers is considered a small blog, I’m still… micro. But I’m getting some great feedback, and God has used my words to encourage others. I need to keep plugging away. Which brings us back to…
Blogging is hard.
Wait, Melinda! Didn’t we already establish that blogging is hard?!? How is bringing it back up NOW encouraging?!? Well, because it’s true. So, if you’re struggling to the point you’re thinking about giving up, remember that difficult doesn’t equal wrong, just as easy doesn’t equal right. I still have a lot to learn, and need to
find make the time to implement what I’m learning.
How about you?
Are you a small Christian blogger like me, trying to wade through all the options to be the best at being you? Or maybe you’re not-so-small. Small, large, or in-between, I’d love to hear your favorite tips or tools. Which webhost do you use, and why? Here are a few plug-ins I find useful. Which help you? Not a blogger? I have a tip for you, too. One thing I’m learning is the importance of sharing. If you read a blog post you enjoy or find useful, chances are you know people who would benefit from it, too. Share it on Facebook. Pin it. Tweet it. Do something to let others know you found something worth reading. Get good information to your friends and followers while helping a blogger get their message out there – two birds, one stone.
Thank you, Friend
I appreciate each and every read, like, comment, share, and subscription.
Looking for more great Christian blog content? Check out these link-ups!
(Pssst… Christian blogger! Arabah Joy’s featured Grace & Truth post is just for you! And it’s great reading!)