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Two years ago, I jumped on the blogging bandwagon.

I’ll confess, at the time it was mainly to get my point across.  I was angry, frustrated, and looking for any kind of validation.  Working for a church that was becoming increasingly different from my faith values, blogging became a sort of out loud anger management therapy session for me.

At times it was ugly.  At times it was beautiful.  Such is the nature of honest writing and art, I believe.

Over time, I became much more intentional about my writing.  I’ve grown significantly as a writer, blogger, and a follower of Jesus.  It took me a while, but I finally found my own voice, and earned a bit of a platform to write about the things that I love.  And in the process, I have learned – am learning – a lot about the art of blogging and a bit about the art you care about (whatever that is):

  • Validation is a horrible motivation.  When I started blogging, my motivation was to feel important;  to somehow find significance and to earn recognition.  I wanted to be known, to be regarded, to be some kind of an internet rockstar.  Yeah, that’s lame, and it’s a great way to quickly burnout.  It’s much better to be motivated by conversation.  The best bloggers aren’t opinion shouters, they are conversation instigators.  Validation puffs us up, but conversation makes us better.   Do what you do because you have something to contribute, not because you’re looking for some sort of spotlight.  
  • Predictable is boring.  The best kind of writing takes us somewhere unexpected, opening up a part of our soul that we’ve either been too hesitant or too afraid to acknowledge.  You may be addressing familiar questions, and it’s perfectly fine to arrive at familiar answers.  You may not need to reinvent the wheel or come up with some new, crazy idea every time;  but, you should always try to re-present the familiar in new and fascinating ways.  
  • Your template may be free, but your blogging isn’t.  You may never make money off your blog or your art, but it will always be expensive for it will require much of you.  Treat it as such.  Refuse to let it be accidental, or fall by the wayside.  Invest in it, schedule it, obsess about the look and the content of it.  Blogging is not a diary;  it’s a contribution to a larger conversation.  It’s deeply personal and horrifyingly public.  Before you hit publish, or showcase your talent, make sure it’s worth the attention.
  • Not everyone will like you.  Your ideas will meet resistance, your dream will fall on cold shoulders, and your voice will occasionally be drowned out by louder voices.  Naysayers will find you, and they will be persistant.  Listen to the dissenting voices.  Chances are you won’t agree with them, but sometimes you’ll learn something about yourself by their criticism.  Correct if necessary, forge ahead regardless.
  • Sometimes you have to suck to be great.  In the course of living out your art, you may turn out some really poor quality.  It’s okay, it happens to all of us.  Not everything you do will be sensational and perfect.  What matters is the doing.  If you suck, you’ll adapt and move on.  If you fail, you’ll know how to improve.  If you get stuck, you’ll find your resolve.  But if you just sit on the couch, you’ll never know your potential.  
  • Always have a well-thought out ending.  You can wrap it up with a nice, neat bow or leave us hanging;  either way, you should alwa

 

(see what I did there?!)

Comment below and tell me;  what lessons have you learned as you’ve sought to grow your craft?

 

 

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