When I started blogging five years ago, I had no idea what to expect, but as I look back over these last five years, I’m so glad I embarked on this journey.
I have learned lot and been blessed in so many ways. In this final post in my five-year celebration series, I am going to share five lessons or unexpected blessings from my blogging journey, and I hope there will be some encouragement for others in there too.
The amazing blogging community
When I pressed “publish” on that first post, I had no idea what the response would be or whether anyone would even read it, but it wasn’t long before encouraging comments started to appear, and that encouragement has continued over the last five years.
Before long connections started to form, and some have developed into friendships. I’m grateful for each one – I’m not sure I would still be blogging five years on without this community.
It’s amazing the depth of bonds that can form between people who have never met.
I recently learned about the death of a blogging friend, and when I heard the news, I was surprised by the depth of grief I felt. It felt impossible to try to explain to others. This was someone I had never met, who I had only interacted with semi-regularly for six months or so, and yet we had shared a connection through our words. It saddened me to look at her blog and realise that there would be no more posts.
However, as one of my other blogging friends pointed out years ago, as Christians, many of these connections we make will be eternal ones. We may never meet face to face on earth, but we will finally be together in eternity!
I’d encourage you to click on the buttons at the bottom of my posts to explore some of the wonderful blogging communities that have inspired me so much.
The opportunity to review new books
Five years ago, I had no idea what a launch team was.
Then I was invited to take part in one and it opened up a whole new world!
I have always loved reading, and here was the chance to read new books before everyone else, often free of charge! All that was asked for in return was an honest review and that, if you liked the book, you let others know about it.
Some launch teams have also provided the opportunity to connect with others through Facebook groups to discuss the content of the book together as well as to learn more about the writing and publishing process. Three of my favourites have been:
Over the next few weeks, I will be taking part in another one for The Powerful Purpose Of Introverts by Holley Gerth, so watch this space to learn more about that book soon.
I’ve also reviewed several books through Netgalley and I’d encourage you to check it out if you’re interested in reviewing books. You can do this even if you don’t have a blog as you can write reviews on Amazon or Goodreads instead.
The knock-on effect of finding my voice
One thing I would never have foreseen five years ago is how blogging has changed me. Finding my voice through writing has enabled me to speak up in other ways too.
Having people read and appreciate what I have to say has built my confidence that I have something to say and that I will be listened to.
In most situations I am much more ready and willing to speak up than I would have been five years ago, and I’m grateful.
If you feel that you don’t have a voice, I want to encourage you that you do! Each of us is unique, and each of us has valuable insights that will bless others. Give it a try – take one tiny step to speak up, whether it’s through speaking or writing. Then take another tiny step. Pray for wisdom and courage, and God will use you.
The topic I love to write about
I can’t share my highlights of the last five years without mentioning my Kintsugi series. It is by far my favourite thing I have written, and a couple of others commented recently saying that it was their favourite too.
It was a 31 day challenge I did in October 2017 – one post every day for the whole month – and, despite taking part during a time when I was very busy with other things, I loved writing each post and finished the month feeing energised to continue.
If you haven’t heard of Kintsugi, it is a Japanese art which involves repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The word translates as “golden joinery” and the principle behind Kintsugi is not to hide the repairs, but to make them a feature, aiming to restore the brokenness into something even more beautiful than the original.
The series explored the similarities with God’s work in our lives and how he can create beauty out of our brokenness.
Even as I write this, I know it is a topic I want to come back to and explore some more.
If you’re a writer, I’d encourage you to experiment. Try different topics and different kinds of writing and you will discover what excites you and energises you. Sometimes it may surprise you. Similarly, you will discover what types of writing are not for you. I remember one particular post (for another website) which required a ton of historical research which then had to be condensed into a fairly short piece. I got there, but I would hesitate to take on that kind of post again!
The unexpected doors that God opens up
Eight years ago, I had an idea for a resource for Christian groups in schools to take children through the whole story of the Bible. I put a version of it together and used it myself, and I always had a longing to share it with others, but at the time there was no opportunity. The files lay on my computer, untouched, for years.
Then I began writing, and a few years later I happened to mention the resource to someone, and finally received the encouragement to work on it and to share it.
After two years of hard work, it was finally completed in February this year – 55 sessions in all – and it has been used by well over 100 groups so far!
It’s encouraging to look back and see God’s hand in the timing. The writing I had done before working on the resource seriously had definitely developed my ability and confidence to be able to take on such a massive task, and I think it had also built others’ confidence in me to do it.
Be open to where God leads. Sometimes his paths and his timing are not the same as ours. If he has given you a vision, don’t give up. He will lead you in the right way at the right time.
What about you? Where have you experienced unexpected blessings? (either in your writing journey or life in general) Feel free to share in the comments.
Thanks for joining me for this five year blogging celebration! If you’d like to catch up on the other posts in the series, the links are below:
the book that inspired me as I started writing
the Five Minute Friday blogging community
five book contributions in five years
five Bible verses for Christian writers