In 2014, I intentionally tried to raise the bar as a blogger. In reviewing my progress, I see mixed results. Clearly, I added more new, original content in 2014 than in prior years, but I still lacked consistency.
There would be spurts of creative energy when I could produce several posts within a one- or two-week period of time, then I would go silent for a month.
Looking at my calendar and journal, I can see that the productive times coincided with times of rest (conferences, day retreats, vacations, holidays, etc.), and the the less productive times were dominated by work and life. My life is busy, and many times writing feels like a luxury. Even now, in spite of the fact that it is Christmas vacation and I am away from work for a week, there is a list of tasks I should be working on that are important.
Don’t Lose Track of the Priorities In Life
I remember reading a response by Michael Hyatt to a question in the comments section of his blog. A reader asked him how he was so productive in writing and publishing. Mike wisely reminded his readers that he is at a different stage in life now. His children are raised and on their own and he has personal time to devote to creative practices like writing. This is a good reminder. I am still in the process of raising my children, and this is a clear priority. I don’t want to become frustrated at my lack of writing time when I can see I am investing it in good things.
Looking Forward to 2015
Based on my experience in 2014 and the lessons learned, here is how I am going to tweak my blogging workflow in 2015:
- Focus on writing one substantial post a week. I may still post quotes, thoughts, tips, or inspirational “momentum building” pieces, but I will try to post one substantial post each week that draws from my own learning and experience to help others teach and communicate better.
- Produce a Weekly Link Roundup highlighting interesting articles I’ve come across each week. In July/August of 2014 I experimented with a post I titled “The Weekly Top 10.” I loved the idea of the weekly roundup, but found 10 items to be too much. Part of the value I found in the Weekly Top 10 was the commentary I could add to each link, and with a requirement to link to 10 articles, the post became too long. By retitling the series to the Weekly Link Roundup, I can focus on 3, 4, or 5 links and keep the post more readable.
- Follow a regular posting schedule. I plan on posting one substantial article on Tuesdays each week and the Weekly Link Roundup on Fridays. This will address the problem of consistency and give readers an expectation of what is coming.
- Strive to create more community on the website. This is a tricky objective, because there are only so many ways of sparking conversation. The obvious first step is to attract more readers. I’m hoping better consistency will help here. I also intend to focus more energy on three primary social networks–Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This will be a work in progress, and I will try to keep you updated as to how it’s going.
- Practice at becoming a better curator of information. I have read and studied a lot about content curation this past year. This is a topic that greatly interests me. Here are some links to articles that describe content curation and provide several workflows to help accomplish this goal. As I practice this discipline, the fruits of content curation will show up in posts and the Weekly Link Roundup. Overtime, the goal is to make this website a resource providing context and depth to the topics of Church Communications and Teaching/Preaching/Learning within a church setting.
As I wrap up 2014, I would like to thank you, my readers, for joining me on this journey. Hopefully, as I grow and learn and reflect, I can share the fruit of my learning to help you in your own personal growth. This is the value of learning in community.
What practices have you discovered that help you become a better writer/blogger?