It Takes a Village to Steer a Blog

January 27, 2015

I am so grateful to my readers and friends for concrete and helpful feedback about this Colossians study. We will resume the study in Chapter 2 tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to reflect a bit on this blogging thing with thoughts sparked by your comments.

I came to realize that the blog genre is distinct for both writers and readers, who have different expectations.

For the writer, blogging is an activity different from curriculum development and book writing. If I were to write a small group curriculum on Colossians, I would present the material quite differently so it could be used (not just read) by teachers and students. Book writing focuses on a subject and develops it more deeply and completely; it generally requires a higher level of literacy and style.

Blogs also carry with them some parameters for length. I aim for about 800 words (which some would say is stretching the medium), but more often than not I edge toward 1000. In contrast, a typical “Word from the Pastor” in a church newsletter is 600 words, more or less, so the blog format has allowed me a bit more room for development of an idea. However, it is not a curriculum, and it is not a book.

The reader of blogs, on the other hand, is managing daily input and is often overwhelmed. It sounds from the comments like you generally read once or scan quickly for indications of immediate value. Fans might make it a daily habit to read Bringing the Word to Life, and this is gratifying to a blogger. The scheme works reliably only when I post a blog before all you workers head out the door in the morning. [These days—wishing for those chemo weeks when I was absolutely prolific at 4 o’clock in the morning—I try to be at my desk by 3:30 in the afternoon (PST) to get a post done and scheduled to go out shortly after midnight. If I am on a roll, I can get a post done in an hour, but 90 minutes is more typical.]

We all have the marvelous privilege of choosing the material that will get our attention. The beauty of a blog is that you can subscribe to it and thereby be alerted when a post appears. You can always ignore it, “unsubscribe,” or delete a backlog of emails unread. I’ve done it myself! None of us, writers or readers, need be a slave to the genre. The temptation is there, though!

So getting back to basics: My reason for writing Bringing the Word to Life is to give witness to the reality of God in this present world as much as it is to serve you. I am becoming convinced that I will serve you better if my witness is steadfast and authentic. More testimony, and less treatise perhaps?

One final thought: I have not done much reading on the subject of blogging, but it seems to me a blog has its place if it does one of three things:

  1. It conveys accurate, timely, and necessary information in an accessible format, OR

  2. It reveals the unique perspective of an individual whose experiences are somehow expert, unusual, or particularly creative, OR

  3. It finds meaning or imparts hope through life experiences that are so common as to be almost universal.

There have been seasons in my blog, since 2011, that have focused on Item 1 and Item 2. At this time, I deal with very little “need to know” information and my life is pretty ordinary; so I am wondering if Item 3—finding meaning and imparting hope—might steer me as I process the remaining chapters of Colossians.I will start there and see what happens!

Thank you, Village, for helping me find my way.


2 Responses to “It Takes a Village to Steer a Blog”

  1. . . . and thank you, Mary, for guiding all of us along the Way.

  2. emd5542 Says:

    And just keep ’em’ comin’!

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