My journey as a blogging beginner
Playing the Long Game in Blogging.
I've not been blogging very long but I feel I've been a writer all my life.
Making up stories as a child, even having a short story published aged 11. When Mr Dude was born I wrote 3 children's books that are still unpublished and yet to be illustrated...as I can't draw and the journey wasn't smooth to find an illustrator. And I have a growing list of ideas for future books skipping through my mind on a daily basis. So writing is something I can't help but do. But when it's unseen, unpublished, unread or un-affirmed it can be hard to keep going.
*All the writers hollar amen!*
In order to keeping moving forward it's important to remember why you started.
Where it all began...
I sat on Coney Island beach in New York looking out to the horizon, breathing in the crisp winter sea air and thought what am I doing?! God what am I doing?! Suddenly friend called me up out the blue. She said "I've just been thinking of you and praying for you". What timing right?! She said she felt God say to her that he was going to bless my writing. She felt God was going to increase my influence and social media platform. She said I have a way with words and have been stewarding my craft well. She said I have such creativity that God wants to use it the combination of my writing and creativity. She told me a story of a mum blogger she'd seen who had gone on to write a book. My heart skipped. My mind raced. My friend had no idea of my thoughts, of my hopes and dreams, no way of knowing the prayers I had just prayed moments ago. And yet here she was 3,466 miles away giving me the words, the God-words, I needed to hear.
We chatted, laughed and prayed. I suddenly no longer felt alone on the beach in this new country, uncertain of my future. I felt close. I felt comforted. I felt courage.
But what should I do next? How do I start? I asked God as I walked back to the subway. Suddenly I was leaving the inspiration station and heading to panic point. All the questions were flooding in. What do I do now?
Keep your eyes ahead when you're a blogging beginner.
I stepped on the train and looked up, the entire carriage had the same advert on it.
It read 'Make your next move, make your next website'.
So here I am. I've been writing, planning, preparing and refining my thoughts and creative ideas for the last 10 months. And in these moments where I think, what's the point? Or when I'm believing that no one is actually reading any of it and wonder if anyone has downloaded anything, are these hours wasted? No. I'm a beginner. Then I lose Instagram followers and fight the invisible social-media struggle of false rejection. I wonder what am I doing wrong? Nothing. I'm a beginner. Then I miss my personal deadlines to upload blog posts and creative activities and the self-guilt sets in. The feelings that I'm not up to this take over and the fear of failure overwhelms. I compare myself to those who have thousands of followers and have been doing this blog-business for a long time and think I'm not them. Yep. I'm not. I'm a beginner (and my perfectionism doesn't help keep me humbly here).
I'm learning. I'm building. I'm creating. And I need to own it.
I'm Amy and I'm a beginner.
I admit I haven't got a clue what I'm doing half the time. Am I posting too much or not enough? / Should my pictures be more this way or that? / Are people even going to read any of it? / Do I need a theme?!?
I confess, the fluctuating Instagram followers and the minimal website visitors gets me down. This internet world can give me ALL THE WORRIES and ALL THE QUESTIONS!!
But it wasn't always like this. When I had my eyes on my purpose it was easier.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him..."
If Jesus played The Long Game, so can I.
I want to be a real life follower. Following in his footsteps. And trusting the real followers will follow. It may take time but then I remember, I'm in it for...
Stop for the one.
Heidi Baker, a hero of mine, says "Stop for the one."
Notice the one in front of you, look for the person of peace, the one who is hungry to receive.
Within my swirling thoughts and doubts and discouragement a friend of mine messaged me to say she had read some of my blogs and was so encouraged. She shared she had just been chatting to her 4 year old son about Jesus and he was asking lots of questions. This fab mama was thinking and praying about how to involve him in activities with his big brother. She said my website was an answer to her prayers! She then went on to ask me what to do when her little cub asked how to hear from God for himself. She was hungry for some help.
This is it.
This moment is why I'm doing this. I felt God say to me, Would it all be worth it just for this one? And I can honestly say yes. It's humbling, but it's really true.
So here's my self-talk reminder. What's yours?
I've given my gifts and talents to God and he's asked me to put them down on virtual paper.
I'm doing this to equip the Church worldwide, the parents, the families, the children.
I'm looking for those who are hungry for more, hungry to know Jesus.
I'm bringing fresh, fun and creative ways to develop friendship with God.
I'm doing this to help deepen connections within families.
My success is not in my numbers of followers.
My success is not in thousands of people reading my blog or downloading my material.
Nor is it in my worldwide fame *I confess I have dreamt about it*
My success is in the ONE life blessed.
My success is in my YES to Jesus.
My success is in The Long Game.
So what about you?
What's your Long Game? I hope this encourages you to fix your eyes on where you're heading and remind your heart why you started.