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4 Things I Didn’t Know When I Began Blogging

Eight years ago I linked arms with other word-lovers and began blogging. {I shared a snippet of how the journey began in this post.}

Today, however, I’m sharing four unexpected things I’ve learned since I began blogging:

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

The Time Required

Some of you blow me away with the speed in which you create a post. I stand in awe. I can count on one hand how often I’ve whipped up a post in less than an hour…or two. I usually don’t write it all in one sitting. My perfectionistic tendencies tend to hit the draft button multiple times, unfortunately. Suffice it to say, what I thought would be a quick way to express my thoughts has evolved into a love affair with the mingling of life and words. I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

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There Are Clever and Creative Ways to Cut Prep Post Time

I wish I’d known this when I began blogging in 2008. Of course, I didn’t know social media whiz Edie Melson back then either. Today there’s a plethora of information waiting to be leveraged, some of which I’ll share at the end of this post. I’m trying to cut my prep time by setting a timer and rebuffing the bully within when it tells me everything must be perfect for it to be meaningful.

 

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We Must Embrace the Learning Curves

My insecurities can sometimes send me scurrying like a squirrel trying to dodge headlights but gradually they’re disappearing, one by one. I’m learning how to operate my new camera, how to manipulate images, and create memes, among other things. All this, while spiffing up my SEO skills, has given me creative whiplash. But hugging these curves have helped me progress along this spectacular blogging journey!

 

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Some of My Sweetest Friendships are Forged through Blogging

I knew when I began attending my local writer’s group (Cross N’ Pens) that my circle of friends had eternally shifted upwards but I wasn’t prepared for the friendships developed through blogging. Although miles divide most of us, the distance is shortened when we support and encourage each other through social media. The eternal circle continues to widen, grow, and deepen. And for this one fact alone I will always be grateful for the blogosphere.

What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned since beginning your blogging journey? Please share in the comment section.

Additional Resources:
The Write Conversation
Fistbump Media (They switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress and continue as my support – amazing group!)

 

The Fragrance of Love: Community At Its Best


by Cathy Baker

I LOVE my local writer’s group, CrossNPens (led by Cynthia Owens), as well as my online group, The Light Brigade (led by Lori Roeleveld.)

I didn’t realize how blessed I was to be part of such amazing groups until my first writer’s conference at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. When discussing our critique groups, I was the envied one! And rightfully so.

Being critiqued isn’t easy when it’s your heart spilled out in ink. It has an especially vulnerable feel to it, which is why trust within a group is essential. If you have confidence in a person’s intentions—that they desire the best for you—the words can be received, even the “critical” ones. Don’t you find this to be true in our daily lives as well?

Some of our CrossNPens group from February meeting.

Doing life with other imperfect people can result in bruised feelings and messy hands, but it comes down to the heart. 
It always does. 

Both writing groups have introduced me to some of the godliest and most creative people I know. They’ve also helped to sharpen my skills, spur me on, and kick me in the pants when necessary. I have the footprints to prove it! 

You may not consider yourself a writer but truth is, we all need a group like this—whether it’s a life group in our church, a group of young moms who can relate to runny noses and weary souls, or someone to meet with on a regular basis to discuss the deeper issues of life. Even a bona fide introvert, such as myself, recognizes we were created for community. Some of us just have to work at it a little harder. 

Your turn! Would you like to give a shout-out to your group of any kind? Who knows, it might just spark an idea for someone else. 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but
encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing
near. Hebrews 10:24, 25

What Happens When the Fragrance of Christ Mixes With Metal

 

Having the likes of Edie Melson and Marcia Moston in our local writer’s group Cross N Pens is a tremendous boon for those of us striving to hone our skills.

Over the weekend, our group enjoyed a mini-workshop featuring these talented women. Below are just a few tidbits from their talks.

Marcia Moston, the author of Call of a Coward, spoke on Creative Non-fiction (the 4th genre!) In addition to creative writing prompts, Marcia shared wisdom from her own experience, as well as quotes, all of which will stick with me:

  • Every story has a human face. Draw and display it well; for readers, it is a magnet. -Francis Flaherty, editor of The New York Times
  • When writing memoirs, we need to remember it’s not about us. We’re like the Disney cart on a ride. We’re simply the vehicle to a bigger picture.
  • Marcia shared pages of information on crafting true stories. I’m a new fan of Rick Bragg.

Edie Melson, author of Fighting Fear and Co-Director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference, spoke on what it means to support our writing through writing. It didn’t hurt that she handed out two pages of markets willing to pay for our work. (Thanks, Edie!) Her advice, however, far surpassed the value found on any piece of paper. Below are a few of Edie’s takeaways:

  • Stay out of our comfort zones! Take chances. We’re not seen as marketable if we’re unwilling to do so.
  • The key to a good query letter is a good story.
  • What does the word deadline mean? Writing when you don’t feel like it.

Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with many gifted writers spurred me to become even more serious about my craft. Wisdom and godly conviction crossed paths that morning, and I was grateful to be smack dab in the middle of this intersection.

Let’s just say the fragrance of Christ had a hint of metal to it as it rose upwards this past Saturday morning!

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

 

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