BACK when I started blogging there was next to no Facebook - it was very uncommonly used in Australia at that time. I could really have done with it, however, as blogging felt lonely without it starting back then.
These, here below, are some of the things I've learned over my writing journey:
Blogging has taught me to be careful with what I say. Too many times I've written things unadvisedly, without knowing potential ramifications. What I write has occasionally caused me problems in my marriage (early on) and in my ministry. But I have learned the boundaries (sometimes the hard way), hoping that I steer clear of views that might upset those I depend upon; views that don't honour God. It's why my writing features many fewer illustrations from real life as opposed to sermons.
I have learned how quickly I can get an idea, how important it is to jot it down (even at 2AM), and then I'm often surprised how the article ends up going in different directions, as I write, than I thought it would - the influence of the Holy Spirit I'm sure. For me, receiving an idea is akin to revelation and I treat each such receipt as if it were gold. It's very often how my prayer life works; God communicating to me.
I've been able to write a 400-word article in less than 20-minutes. Many times I've written over 1,000 pretty clean words in an hour. It's like my brain thrives on the challenge, and once an idea comes it is fertile ground until I've exhausted it. I've discovered it is one of the things that lights me up. It's my healthy addiction to write each and every day.
I've discovered I've never had writer's block. I'm not sure I believe in it for me. There have been seasons where creativity has ebbed and flowed, but I never felt words, themes or messages evaded me or were drying up. In fact, quite the opposite. I've often not been able to keep up with the flow of ideas, and have had to learn to not get frustrated.
I've also learned that God's Spirit sifts me on certain topics I've written on and certain positions I've come to land in. This is the benefit of reflection, and blogging is active reflection. I write something, and I continue to muse over it for hours and sometimes days afterward - all because I committed myself to a standpoint, I said something, that anyone can see. It's exposing, and it makes me feel vulnerable. Sometimes I get some sort of revelation that I've crossed a line into heresy, and I want to quickly re-check what I've written. Most of the time I don't change what I've written, or perhaps I elaborate. I have to accept that over the three million words I've written, some of it could be better written.
Most of all I've learned that the time I've invested in curating my craft has been a personal blessing. The in-excess of ten-thousand hours I've spent writing, publishing and posting has nourished me and pushed me and encouraged me. I've had to live with that awkward reality that you get when you receive some kudos that's over the top and, yet you hardly ever hear of those who would like to give you a piece of their mind. They just stop reading, for they disagree. And still I've had a lot of negative feedback, but small in comparison to the positive. But at times it's been just one little piece of positive feedback that's kept me going amid the negative - that's the call; a little positive outweighing a plethora of negative.
Interestingly, many times I've actively sought to give writing and social media away, and each time God showed me the value in continuing. Not that I'm not open to him showing me I should discontinue someday soon. It's up to Him.
Writing is collaborative with God, a creative work and a contribution, all in one.
As an outlet, I'm thankful for it.