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Early in 2008 I knew the next step God had for me was to start a blog. Why He would want me to blog, I had no idea. I mean, why put the effort into something no one would ever find, let alone read? But I had learned the hard way that running from God makes one miserable. Very miserable. So, with that in mind, I obeyed and fumbled my way through setting up a blog. I banged my head on the wall trying to figure things out because I was not tech-savvy. I almost hyperventilated when I clicked 'Publish'. I wanted to crawl into my attic and hide in the farthest, darkest corner up there. Instead, I comforted myself with the “fact” that no one would ever find me in the wide world of cyberspace.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
That was about four years ago and the beginning of my story. When I wrote a proposal for an agent last year, I worked the numbers—because we all know numbers count in the economy of things—and the number on my calculator stunned me. Four years ago a realistic number for my platform would've been 15. When I worked the numbers last summer the calculator read 5500+. Big difference, huh? I'm rarely on Facebook and I don't Tweet, so that number has come almost exclusively from blogging.
Here's why blogging works for me:
- Posting when I want + Ability to schedule ahead = Needed flexibility.
- I can put as little time or as much time as I want or have available in any given day.
- It's an outlet for all those little things that run around in my brain.
- As a testing grounds for ideas, it's hard to beat.
- My blog travels with me, it's not confined to one project or one small corner of my world.
- Blogging has provided the platform I need with little financial investment (I spend $10 a year on my domain), while still being here with my family 24/7.
So how did I grow the 15 to 5500?
I had done my homework enough to know that I needed some kind of platform—and at that point I was a homeschool mom of 5 and home 24/7. My contact with the world was limited to church on Sunday and I was quiet enough some thought I was either backwards or a snob. Building a blog was the only option open to me at that time, and it scared me silly. Needing a platform and fear were a daily struggle.
Keeping the goal before me. Obedience was my over-arching goal, but as I looked at what I wanted to do, where submitting to God's will seemed to be pointing, I knew I had work to do. It wasn't enough to hone my craft, as important as that is. I'd heard agents and editors liked to see strong platforms. Well, being married to a contractor, I knew about building. Building anything takes time. I didn't want to reach the finish line (in my case, an agent or editor) and hear “Manuscript? Check. Platform? *buzzer Come see me when you have a platform built. Next!”
My goal: Not to have a mega-blog but rather, to be a well-rounded person and writer for the next step of whatever it was God had for me to do.
Realistic expectations. I knew what I wanted from blogging: writing practice and experience, and a platform (readers!). I knew it would take time, persistence, and work—and I committed to those things. I also gave myself room to make mistakes, grow, and change—and it's a good thing. My blog has journeyed with me.
Two things I've learned along the way:
- Persistence pays off.
- If you don't like the results you're getting, change what you're doing.
Blogging works—if you're willing to invest in it.