7 truths I’ve learned from 4 years of blogging

Ben Reed —  July 30, 2012 — 22 Comments

4 years.

Hard to believe I’ve been hacking at this blog for so long. It was a bit rocky at first, but I think I’ve found my voice and my niche in the blogging world. I’ve formed real friendships, fostered off-line ones, challenged, and been challenged. I’ve grown immensely through the community that’s continuing to grow here.

4 years.

Still growing.

image credit: CreationSwap user Bokeh02

In this 4-year process, I’ve learned some truths. Some that are personal. Others that are more general.

7 truths in 4 years

1. I love writing.

I gain clarity through writing. My thoughts make better sense to me when I can extrovert them through writing. In fact, I’ve found that when my blogging frequency decreases, clarity around key ideas and issues I’m dealing with decreases as well.

My challenge to you: Find a way to communicate. Hone your craft and hone your ideas through some sort of open forum publicly.

2. Writing impacts people.

I know, I know…this isn’t revolutionary. Words are powerful. I’ve tried to become increasingly cognizant of this truth, knowing that words carry weight in incredible ways. This causes me to pause before I ever hit “publish.” I reread, re-pray, and edit more thoughtfully with the understanding that real people with real struggles in real communities can be profoundly impacted as God uses words to change hearts.

My challenge to you: Write thoughtfully. Write a lot.

3. Sometimes I get it wrong.

I never try to let “I might be wrong” keep me from writing. In the early days, I did. I was hesitant that I’d put a thought out there and completely miss the mark. And you know what? I did. Quite a few times. :) But I’ve learned that “I might be wrong” is never reason enough to not write.

My challenge to you: Wrestle with tough concepts. Challenge your readers. Challenge yourself. If you get something wrong, admit that you did and move on. Or delete the post and act like it never happened. :) Getting it wrong is better than not getting it at all.

4. Authenticity is king.

My favorite posts to write, and the ones that get the most interaction, are the ones where I share personal stories and personal details. Those are the glue that help people stick to the truth.

My challenge to you: Be the best “you” you can be. The best “you” is always better than being who you think others want you to be. God’s created you uniquely, with unique gifts, talents, and passions. We need you!

6. Evernote is my best friend.

I use it constantly. I’d be a terrible blogger without it. Seriously, this is where my ideas go initially, where they’re fleshed out, and where they find their substance.

My challenge to you: Capture every idea that crosses your mind, and find a way to store those. Having a wealth of ideas is invaluable on days when ideas are dry.

7. There are blog posts around every corner.

Sometimes blog posts have cropped up out of meetings, at Starbucks, at the golf course, or at the beach. Other times, they’ve happened at the gym, or while running. Yet others have happened while preaching. I’ve learned to constantly have my eyes open, which has made me a better observer of life.

My challenge to you: Observe life. Live in the moment. Enjoy every gift, large and small, that God gives.

Question:

I’d love to get a better handle on the readers here on Life & Theology. If you’re a reader, whether regular or sporadic or a first-timer, leave a comment below with your name and the city where you live. 

 

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Ben Reed

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Christ follower, husband, father, writer, pastor of small groups at Long Hollow Baptist Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.
  • Ryan Bilello

    Ryan Bilello (@therealbooyah) Milwaukee WI

  • http://undistractedchristian.com/ Tyler Hess

    I’m Tyler and I’m an alcoh…oh whoops wrong meeting…I live in Vista, CA and I don’t get Evernote

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Don’t get Evernote?!? You don’t exist to me now, Tyler. :)

      • http://undistractedchristian.com/ Tyler Hess

        I didn’t say that i hate it or that i don’t believe in its existence…you blew your shot at spreading the good news of the usefulness of evernote haha i just havent figured out what it does for me that i cant do without it

  • jasondemeo

    Thanks for advice Ben.  Just started blogging a few months ago,  going to try to blog once a week!  Do you use Evernote on your phone a lot or while you are on a computer?

    Heres my blog!

    http://jasondemeo.net/

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Hey Jason! I use it on my phone AND my computer. On my phone, I mostly use it to capture ideas. I work those out into fuller posts on my computer, when I have dedicated time to write.

      Love the look and feel of your blog!

      • jasondemeo

        Thanks man!  Getting a new computer this week, think it is time to start taking evernote seriously!

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    Great lessons, Ben. I’ve learned a lot of the same ones since I started blogging consistently the past year and a half. It’s not always easy, but definitely worth it. 

    As for your questions: my name is Jason. I live in the small town of Monmouth located in the middle of nowhere, Illinois, but my heart lives in Central and Eastern Europe. 

  • Laura

    I especially like your number 4.  Too often, we spend our lives trying to become the person that we think others want us to be.  In that pursuit, we lose who we are.  It took me a few decades to figure that out, but now that I have, I am a lot happy.  :-)   Keep up the words of wisdom!
    Laura

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks for the encouragement, Laura!

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    it’s true that writing brings alot of clarity.  i think that’s one of the main reasons I do it.  Rob… Next Gen pastor in York, PA

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      We’re in the same boat, Rob. Keep up the good work in PA!

  • Nobleman2

    Have really enjoyed your insights since stumbling on your blog. Former youth pastor in Fayetteville, NC

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks! Former?

  • Matthewbpalomaki

    Matt P.  - Clarksville, TN

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks for reading, Matt!

  • http://kathrynleighaz.wordpress.com/ Kathryn

    Kathryn – Tucson, AZ

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Great to have you on the blog, Kathryn!

  • Anonymous

    What was number 5?

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Whoops…my bad. Good catch!

      It should’ve been “Learn how to count from 1-7.”
      :)

  • http://twitter.com/lukedsimmons Luke Simmons

    This is helpful, Ben, especially as I just started blogging at http://www.faithfulandfruitful.com. Each of your points ring true thus far. 

    Luke Simmons / Queen Creek, AZ

  • Ben Thorp

    Ben Thorp, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.