5 Things I Learned From Blogging For 16 Years

Today my little blog is old enough to drive.

A lot of life happens in 16 years. Sixteen years ago, my oldest was two our other three children were unborn. We would never have even considered owning a dog. There were many tears that had not been shead ther were many joys we had yet to experiance. I had been a children’s pastor for ten years and wasn’t sure what was next for me. I sensed the Spirit of God urge me to “Be to other leaders what you wish leaders had been to you.” I wasn’t sure what that looked like, so I decided to start a blog.

Sixteen years might not seem like a long time ago, but the internet was a baby, and social media didn’t exist. Well, MySpace did, but it was a tame friendlier version of what exists now. I’m not sure how many blogs existed that were directed toward helping children’s ministry leaders; I think the number was in the single digits.

When I started my blog, I wasn’t trying to build a brand or create a platform. I was trying to help other leaders learn from my mistakes. I didn’t try to strategize content but just shared what I was learning, thinking, and doing. So for sixteen years that is what I have done. Let you in on what I find intersting and helpful.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the spirit’s urging to start this blog. I know blogs are not what the cool kids do anymore, but I am continually thankful for what God has done. I have met so many great friends. I have ironically learned more from others in the process of trying to help them. I have had opportunities come my way that were a result of God’s providential care and my simple obedience. I am humbled that anyone would stop by. Thank you.

If I had to distill sixteen years of blogging into one list of things I’ve learned, this is what it would be.

5 Things Blogging for Sixteen Years has Taught Me.

How to think.

Someone once said that “reading helps you write, and writing helps you think.” I couldn’t agree more. I realized pretty quickly that my experience was limited, and my writing would reflect that if I didn’t leverage the wisdom of others. So I started reading more. What I found was that reading helped me be a better writer, and writing helped me process and put down on paper what I was thinking. When you write out what you are thinking, you see the good, the bad, and the ugly of your own ideas.

How to write

The way you get better at writing is by writing and then writing some more. You have to have a place to do really bad writing to get the practice, time, and experience to get to know what really good writing looks like, sounds, and feels like. To date I have written 681,704 words which is nearly ten novels. Not all of it is good much of it isn’t but all of it is better than the first posts I posted sixteen years ago. If you want to write then start writing. Start writting terrible first drafts that will get you to glorious final drafts. If you say you want to write a book. I hope you do. I hope you start by writting something terrible first so you can learn that it’s ok, we all write terrible at first but we get better every day.

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.

Anne Lamott

Not to give up

To consistantly do something for sixteen years teaches you discipline. There are somethings you can only learn and only truely appreciate when you push through the pain of wanting to quit. We live in a world that makes preference king and quiting eaiser than ever. If you learn not to give up and stick through the hard you will be light years ahead of your contemporaries. Whatever you are doing that is good, beautiful, and true don’t stop.

People need your story

I write posts not based on what I think will get most traffic (maybe I should look into that). I write based on what I am thinking about, what I am learning, and what I am struggling with. You can get infromation on Wikipedia and even more engaging information from AI but you can only get a story from a person. People are not drawn to stats they are drawn to stories. There are few things more intersting and tragic as a story. This is why God in his infinate wisdom didn’t give us a book of facts about himself we should memorize he gave us a story by which every story finds their mean, reference and puprose. Write about your story and write about his and people will find what you say helpful and encouraging.

No one is a self made success

Every success I have in life is because of God’s enabling grace and people God has placed in my life. I think Fred Rogers says it best:

Anyone who has ever been able to sustain a good work, has had at least one person, and often many, who have believed in him or her. We just don’t get to be competent human beings without a lot of different investments from others.

I’d like to give you all an invisible gift. A gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today. Some of them may be here right now. Some may be far away. Some, like my astronomy professor, may even be in Heaven. But wherever they are, if they’ve loved you, and encouraged you, and wanted what was best in life for you, they’re right inside your self. And I feel that you deserve quiet time, on this special occasion, to devote some thought to them. So, let’s just take a minute, in honor of those that have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute.

Whomever you’ve been thinking about, imagine how grateful they must be, that during your silent times, you remember how important they are to you. It’s not the honors and the prizes, and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted. That we never have to fear the truth. That the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff.

Fred Rogers

What is most important is what is unseen. In the book, The Little Prince, the author says something profound. “L’essential est invisible pour les yeux.” What is essential is invisible to the eye. The most important things God does are often in the cover of night and in the shadow of obscurity. If you want to think better write more. If you want to write better read more. If you want to your life to make an empact share your story and share the credit. Knowing that what is most important is invisible.

3 thoughts on “5 Things I Learned From Blogging For 16 Years”

  1. Sam,
    I am applauding your 16-year faithfulness to your blog, No Small Thing! Your description of the process of becoming a better thinker and writer is great advice and encouragement t to keep at it. Your commitment to helping others over these years is simply remarkable. Thank you!

  2. Sam,
    No Small Thing! Your description of the process of becoming a better thinker and writer is great advice and encouragement t to keep at it. Your commitment to helping others over these years is simply remarkable. Thank you!

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