5 Boons of the Blog
One year of blogging, and what have I learned?
Bad News Sells. Any news outlet knows this. You want to bump up your numbers? Say something outrageous, sensational, and bad. I received my most views and shares when I wrote about being fired as a columnist by the Bishop of Niagara. People rallied, some shared their own stories of hurt at the hands of the church, and we all felt better. For about two minutes. Then we felt worse. Bad news sells. But it doesn't heal. Good news heals.
Rashness Costs. As a blogger you can say what you want. It's your blog. But if you're rash, thoughtless, or cruel, you'll pay for it in retractions, qualifications and general self-loathing. I learned this when I struck out at evangelical Christians. I did have a point--that we should engage our brains for the sake of our faith--but I didn't need to denigrate others to make it. It only made me feel stupid myself. Think before you write.
Thoughtfulness Engages. If you want thoughtful responses, write thoughtfully. I received my most thoughtful responses when I had taken the time to articulate some nuance of modern Christian belief. Clearly, others were trying to work out their beliefs too. They wanted to share what they were thinking or struggling with, and what tentative conclusions they were coming to. If you're thoughtful, your readers will be as well.
Folksiness Fizzles. Home truths and daily life lessons were gifts from the Universe to you, the blogger. To others, they may be quaintly reassuring, even vaguely inspirational, but they're not really all that interesting. Especially if they have to do with your guitar collection. Keep those lessons to yourself. Respect your readers by aiming higher, going deeper, and tapping into the wisdom resident in all of us.
Good Writing Rewards. Good writing forces you to think clearly. Bad writing almost always leads to confusion, if not to untruths. Write well and the world itself will become clearer upon reflection. The harder I've worked at the writing, the better I can live with what I've written, and the more likely the reader will thank me for it. So do yourself and everyone else a favour. Make the effort to write well.
Entering my second year as a blogger, I want to do this bigger. I'd like to start a video podcast. I want to interview prophets of the New Dispensation, explore where seekers are going, now that they've stopped going to church. From blogging to podcasting is a stretch. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, thanks for reading.