The 700 club is a US Christian Broadcasting Network program featured by ‘Pat’ Robertson. The show is a blend of personal stories, news, guest appearances and songs. The original 700 were financial supporters banding together to save the show soon after its 1960 debut. Its content, though regular, remains random and unpredictable … a little like my blog. I’ve now joined a 700 club, too, having 700 posts on this site. Here’s some of what I’ve learned from writing regularly.
1. Writing begets writing.
You have to start somewhere. Getting a free flow of ideas comes more naturally when we actually begin. By starting to compose a few sentences around a thought, more thoughts develop. This is an important initial self-encouragement, since editing can fix structure and syntax later.
After all, “God gives seed to the sower” (2 Corinthians 9:10) and you sometimes have to sow the little you have before more ‘seed’ comes. We all have more to share with others than we think. Sowing is a great principle and it creates some reaping. What is your legacy?
A little more care taken to write with quality and depth usually needs an early start, too, rather than rushing to meet a self-imposed deadline (or else never getting around to meeting one.) People are often drawn to blogposts from those with whom they have relationship, but they are also looking for trusted sources that stimulate thinking and answer their questions.
Knowing what a readership is looking for doesn’t always mean the writing must have a narrow focus, but it must have a well-considered one. I often start writing well in advance of publication and then edit closer to the time after ongoing reflection (which is also a great approach for preachers who are used to pulling off a ‘Saturday night special’ each week).
2. Just because they don’t read it, doesn’t mean they don’t need it.
Regular speakers find that they never hit the mark equally well with every person every time. So, too, with writing. People have different needs and expectations.
They also have different amounts of time in any one week.
Writers can be too addicted to Facebook ‘likes’ as a measure of their success and can then give up when they perceive they are not making enough of a difference. I have often had individuals reflect much later just how helpful something was for them. Quite often, I will simply never find out the impact or reach of my work.
The fact is, though, that many people are just unable to keep up with every great post. No matter how much you invest into presenting inspiring and practical content, some people will just not read it on ‘one of those days’ or in ‘one of those weeks.’
Someone will, though, but maybe not for some time. A Google search might just connect the right person to the right article at the right time.
Naturally, you will want to promote widely and build influence, but you also have to believe in yourself and in your readership. You’re not always there to change the world but sometimes to help bring the change to just one person.
I believe that as God often uses me to reach that right person who needs what I have to offer. I honour the ‘audience of one,’ even if just for the ‘one’ reader, and that attitude allows me to bring His leadership for my readership, wherever it might be needed.
3. Nothing stirs people more than challenging their right to be critical
I have had much more feedback on this one issue than any other. People feel that it is their right to defend God’s honour when they believe someone out there is doing wrong. Christians will even publicly attack other Christians online on the basis that one public comment warrants another. Of course it sometimes does, but by who? Is ‘tit-for-tat’ really OK? Do the ends justify the means?
The biblical encouragement is to go to the person concerned for a relational and private resolution (Matthew 18:15), but this is sometimes rejected by those who stare down their perceived opponents, saying “he is not my brother,” or “he is not behaving like one.” Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 6:6 considers that public unity should be the greater good.
Jesus’ guidelines on escalation surely didn’t involve individuals playing public avenger. The need to keep watch over “the flock,” too (Acts 20:28), was a task allocated to designated leaders and not just to anyone.
Well, 700 reasons to celebrate and, with my Ph. D. (hopefully) almost complete, maybe I can now get a head start on the next 700 posts!