On Blogging, Part One.

I had somewhat of an “a-ha” moment recently, where I realized that I am never going to make it big as a blogger. That may seem pretty obvious to those of you who read my blog more than once, considering weeks will pass between posts and my recipes have gotten more and more sporadic, but I never really sat down to think this whole “being a blogger” thing through until just recently.

I didn’t start this blog with the intention of becoming instantly famous so that I could quit my 9-5 office job and start working at home…although I’m pretty sure everyone who starts a blog secretly hopes, at least at one point, that will happen to them. Staying in my sweatpants all day and calling it work? Yes, please! No, I started this blog because I love to write, and blogging is an easy – and immediate – way to broadcast your writing to the world. I’ve dabbled in short stories, I’ve taken a couple online classes, I’ve even started (but never finished) several novels; but anyone who has ever aspired to be a writer or an author has I’m sure heard the same line – that unless you have a platform nowadays, publishers won’t even look at you. My first thought was, “what the heck is a platform?” So I did a little research and figured it out, and then I started a blog.

I’ll be honest. I get frustrated (and I’ll be the first to admit it – I get jealous) when I see yet another blogger announce that they are writing – or publishing – a book. What makes it especially frustrating is when the writing – and I somewhat apologize for this next statement – isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, there are great blogs out there; blogs that are funny and witty and even somewhat addicting to read – but I’m somewhat of a grammar nazi, so when I see yet another blogger publishing a book it makes me wonder, “would this person get published if they didn’t have a blog? if they weren’t a well known internet persona?” Most likely that answer would be no.

But the thing about blogging – and writing – is that it takes discipline. A lot of discipline. And I’ve written before about how I have a serious lack of discipline in my life. But those bloggers I mentioned who get their books published? They do have discipline. They put in the work and the hours required to become the popular figure they are, and it pays off for them. I simply don’t put in the time. I think about writing all the time, but very rarely do I ever act on any of my thoughts. I used to write on a daily basis – I would wake up around 0500 and write for a good 30-45 minutes before I had to get ready for work; in the evenings I would work on recipes and write blog posts; but then my work scheduled changed; I moved to a different building with a longer commute; I got married; we’ve been dealing with some stressful circumstances; and slowly my writing and blogging started to peter out. I’m just making excuses, I know. If I wanted it that badly, I’d find the discipline and sit down and do it. The heart of the issue really comes down to one question:

How bad do I want it?

I watched an interview with Olympic speed skater J.R. Celski where he discusses a time in his life where he was ready to quit skating for good. During a short hiatus he decided to make a documentary about the rapper Macklemore, who made a statement that hit me pretty hard and stuck with  me, enough that here I am writing about it four months later. He said, “to be great at something you have to have done it for more than 10,000 hours.” (Which inspired Macklemore’s song, appropriately named 10,000 hours). He went on to say how you need to sacrifice everything, train every single day, you need to give up everything in order to be the best at your craft. So let’s say you train for 8 hours every single day, seven days a week – that’s 1,250 days. Break that down even further, that’s 3.4 years. If you tweak that a bit and take weekends off, working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – that’s 4.8 years. That’s a lot. That’s more than I can fathom, really. And Celski? Celski turned around and jumped right back into speed skating. He wanted it. But as motivating as I found that interview, I haven’t found the discipline to sacrifice anything, let along everything, to get back into writing. And why not? Why is it so hard for me to set aside one hour a day to write? I have the time, but most days I end up wasting it on the internet (reading the blogs of people who do make time to do what they love) or loafing around on the couch or reading a book (although I love to read even more than I love to write, so I don’t count that as a waste). There is no excuse for why I don’t use some of that time to do more of what I love – writing.

I need to focus less on being a “food blogger” and focus more on just being an “online writer”. I’ve written about direction before; it’s something I struggle with a lot. I love cooking and creating recipes, but it’s not my main focus. (Plus, it’s expensive! We’re on quite the budget right now, so we’ve been eating a lot of the same, inexpensive meals over and over again.) I love writing, but even that isn’t my focus most of the time. What I want is to be intentional. To write about things that mean something to me; things that I believe in, things that I care about. To write for God, and not for an imaginary online audience. I don’t want to blog, I want to write. So that’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m going to write when God puts something on my heart, and see where it goes. And if it goes nowhere? That’s OK, I’m still going to write.

Writing is what I love.

Advertisements

The Armor of God

Based on the quantity of my blog posts lately, to say nothing of the long stretches of time between posts, it should come as no surprise to hear that I’ve been struggling lately. Let me tell you, Satan is a jerk. I don’t know why I’m always so surprised when I realize just how deeply he’s got his claws sunk into me, but I am. So it was quite a shock this morning when I read in our devotional the following:

That’s exactly how Satan works. He begins by bombarding our minds with cleverly devised patterns of irritation, dissatisfaction, doubts, fears, and reasonings. He moves slowly and cautiously (after all, well-laid plans take time). Satan is never in a hurry. All he needs is an opportunity to inject unholy, self-centered thoughts into our heads. If we don’t kick them out, they stay. And he can continue his evil, destructive plan.”

(from Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer)

Wowza. Satan certainly has been injecting unholy, self-centered thoughts into my head and I have been doing an absolutely horrible job (read: I’ve done nothing) of kicking them out. I’ve been stomping around all cranky and irritable, feeling sorry for myself and taking my feelings out on my husband, who most certainly doesn’t deserve any of it. Oh, how I love him even more for putting up with me!

The verse that went along with the devotional this morning is a powerful one. “Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.” Ephesians 6:12 ESV I’ve certainly been fighting against people of this earth, and this really knocked me back into the reality of what’s really going on. The person my anger is focused on isn’t responsible for what’s happening to me – Satan is. Satan is just using my circumstances for his benefit, and I’ve been playing right into his slimy, evil trap. Which leads me to the continuing verses in Ephesians 6:

 armor of god (source)

“So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. Accept God’s salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people.”

What gets me most about those verses is actually the last six words. “Always pray for ALL God’s people.” It hit me as I sit here typing this that not only should I be praying for God’s strength in dealing with my circumstances, but I also need to be praying for the other people involved in my circumstances, the ones I want to focus my outward anger on. They may not yet be believers in my God, but they are God’s people, and they need my prayers just as badly as I do. It’s a hard pill to swallow, don’t get me wrong, but it’s what we’re called to do. Take that, Satan!

And speaking of circumstances, I’ll leave you with another great tidbit from my devotional this morning. This comes from Streams in the Desert and I cannot recommend this devotional enough. Today’s message ended with this:

Faith does not say, “I see this is good for me; therefore God must have sent it. Instead faith declares, “God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.””

I may not see the good in my current circumstances; in fact most days I want to crawl under the covers and never come out; or yell and kick and scream and shake my fist at Heaven. But God has put me here in the middle of these circumstances – he brought me to this perfect place in His perfect time; therefore, it must be good for me.

Can I get an Amen?