Why I started blogging

READ TIME: 6 MINUTES

At first, you might think this is a blogger's blog post about blogging.  But it's not.  This post is essentially about the pursuit of the dream.  What dream?  Everyone's dream -- to live a meaningful life, fulfill your calling, and have time to spend with those you cherish.  Regardless of if you're a blogger, teacher, secretary, nurse, marketer or manager, you have dreams just like me.

Why I blog

I blog to help myself and my readers to grow spiritually.  I blog because there is more to life than work, eat, sleep, repeat.  I blog because I truly believe God hand-crafted me for this work. I blog to create the life I want.

Do you say those same things about your life?  Maybe you don't blog, but could you say:

I do ______ because I want to help other people.

I do ______ because God created me for this work.

I do ______ because I'm creating the life I want.

I believe our generation is uniquely + powerfully equipped to use the internet, social media, and the rapidly changing world to help us achieve our dreams!  If I were born 100 years ago, I would need to attend Oxford to become a great writer and gain a following.  But in 2017, I don't have to do all that!  I just need to connect with people.  And that is a B-E-A-UTIFUL thing! <3

So today, for all you fellow dreamers, I'd like to offer my v. honest (read: super vulnerable) perspective on stepping outside of traditional work to my chosen profession: blogging.  And seeing as I'm new to this thing, I'm uniquely positioned to empathize in fearing the unknown/failure/what if's along with you.

Lastly, I thought I'd compose this post a little differently, if you don't mind.  I recently spoke at the Great American Teach-In to a TON of 13-year olds.  I spoke about blogging and growing a following.  These kids were so curious and frank with their questions — traits I adore in kids — so I’ll use their questions as an outline for this thing.

S/O to any Webb Middle Schoolers reading this! You are STELLAR!!

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Q+A

Q: Why did you start writing?

A: I began writing as a way of talking to God, the one constant in my crazy life.  I lived a very tumultuous childhood.  My parents fought constantly and eventually divorced when I was 10 years old.  I didn't look like everyone else.  We moved all the time.  I was lost as a goose in a snowstorm.  Writing was my therapy, my sanity, and the purest expression of my faith in God.

God saved me when I was at the brink of life, and He promised an amazing life to me.  I wanted to record the heyday of my young life as a testament of this transformation He was doing in me.  And I do the same thing to this day.  I write about my trials & triumphs and how I see God's unwavering love through it all.

Q: How did you get started?

A: At 10 years old, I started journaling.  I wrote about what was happening every day, whether at home, school, in relationships, or my internal battles.  Sometimes God would do something EXTRAORDINARY, and I had a journaling party (just me + God), scribbling down all the details of JUST. HOW MIRACULOUS. that event was.  Now I have a whole bookshelf of memories: sloppy, tear-filled, joyful, angry, victorious.  Looking back on it all now, it's a testament of God's grace permeating my life.

Eventually, a few good friends encouraged me to create a blog so they could share my experiences with friends going through similar trials.

Q: Do you get criticized for things you write?

A: Yes!  People will never approve of everything you have to say or the fact that you have the "audacity" to say anything at all.  But I know God has called and gifted me to write, so I'm going to put my blinders on and focus on God's voice.  He's the one I look to for approval.

Q: Do you get writer's block?

A: Nope!  The only time I've had writer's block is in high school when I wasn't interested in the subject I was writing about.  But nowadays…never.  If you're someone who gets writer's block, here's a little tip that works so well I've never strayed from it:

Deliberately live a non-boring life.

Drive a different route to work/school.  Try standing on your head.  Ask the opinion of someone with a different viewpoint than yours.  Creativity is killed when you're chained to routine. By varying the input to your brain, you're going to (1) see everyday things with new eyes, and (2) give your brain more material from which to create.

Q: Were you good at Language Arts in school?

A: Not at all!  I had really good scores in Math & Science.  But I think the best writers are those who know a lot more than grammar and composition.  Having a definite interest in a particular topic is a necessary prerequisite for writing.  Being an English expert is not.  That's what editors are for!

Q: How long does it take to write a blog post?

A: Anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on how much I need an idea to percolate.  BUT, some thoughts simmer in my head for up to a year before I've developed enough understanding for a blog post.

Q: Do you use click-bait?

A: Absolutely!  But I work really hard to meet the expectation of whatever lure I use to ensure a click.  In other words, if (hypothetically, of course) I title a post, "When you get punched in the face", I want to make sure I'm creating enough interest within the post so it's not a let-down to whomever was expecting to see a photo of me with a black eye... 

Look at this portrait of me a girl drew during my short talk! Skills!

Look at this portrait of me a girl drew during my short talk! Skills!

Q: What "are" you?

This question was posed at the end of my 45-minute talk.  I almost face-palmed before responding, "I'm a writer..." Instead I asked: "What do you mean?"

Q v.2: What nationality are you?

A: I'm half Filipina.*

*This has no bearing on my talk, but some kids' eyes darted up for the first time upon hearing that I’m ethnic, just like them.  That was a learning moment.  Duly noted: when speaking, connect with the audience before you try to inform them.  I mean...duh!

Keep Going

So you've started a blog, or a pop-up shop, or a part-time endeavor.  Now what?  Keep seeking inspiration.  Keep believing your mind can create endlessly.  Keep DOING...even after you crash from that initial adrenaline rush of starting something new.

It still always astounds me when I hear someone (usually middle-aged) say,"When I was young, I wanted to do _____, but then I had to pay bills."  And I hear this sentiment so frequently!!  Which tells me that "having dreams" is guaranteed, but "fulfilling your dreams" is not.  In fact, a great majority of the world is raging against you doing what it takes to fulfill your dreams.  It sounds like this:

  • You can't afford to pursue a different career, because you have to pay bills.

  • You should be comfortable in the life you have, even if it's nothing too interesting.

  • You're unqualified to do what you dream of doing.

The truth of the matter

  1. Money comes and goes, but time only goes. Change your thinking to: You can't afford the time to NOT DO what you dream of doing!

  2. Comfort is killer. It will lull you to sleep like the frog in the pot of boiling water. (If you don't get it, google it.)

  3. Not a single person who accomplished anything great in her life was qualified BEFORE doing it. Only after you've done it will people start believing in you. So don't listen to the proverbial "them". Listen to God. He called you for great things! He chose you + instilled undeniable gifts in you! He weaved dreams into your mind. Listen to His voice, and pursue that calling you've been dreaming of.

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Your turn!

This year is coming to a close, and I love this season we're in.  Life is going to go by fast until December 25th, when everything just slowssss down.  Hallmark love stories will play throughout the day on TV.  Home-cooking out the wazoo!  Face-to-face conversations with the ones you love.  Blesssss!

In this wintry season of quietness, I encourage you to dream.  Ponder the changes you want to make in 2018.  Do you want to start a side hobby/business?  Do you want to live a less boring life?  Do you want to move into a profession that helps you AND helps others?  Whatever your goal may be, I hope it helps you to fill in the blanks:

I do ______ because I want to help other people.

I do ______ because God created me for this work.

I do ______ because I'm creating the life I want.

With love,