This morning I received an email from a young mama wanting to start a blog. She read my post on how to begin one but wanted to ask some follow up questions.
“How much time do you need to spend on it a day/week etc. to be successful. Can you tell me if you were able to have your blog make money? What is your main piece of advice for having a successful blog? Is something that makes sense for me and our family at this stage of life?”
Maybe you’re reading this and you feel just like she does. You want to be creative, you want to write, you want to start something and maybe you have the same questions.
I wrote this girl back today and thought posting my response here might help not only her but someone else out there wanting to get started too.
I first started blogging after Mars Hill closed. I really wanted to write just for the sake of writing. Some things I was passionate about and others were just things I enjoyed. But my goal in the beginning was just to have a place to be creative and get my mind off of everything that had happened.
When it came to making money that had never been my goal, in fact I avoided it. There were a few things I could have done up front to have it start generating income but I turned them down because I didn’t want my writing to be in any way motivated by dollar signs.
But the thing about blogging is that sometimes the “why” changes. And sometimes the goals change too. Personally, I have changed through this journey which means my blog reflects that and it changes too. And that’s perfectly okay. I’m at a place now, where my blog does make money.
It was only this past May when I finally turned the corner and accepted my first couple of sponsored posts. It surprised me how much I enjoyed creating content for a company. Getting to come up with ideas and plans to put something together to really help someone else be successful….AND making money to do it turned out to be something that I liked more than I would have guessed.
So I did a few more. I really had fun with it! The companies were super excited about what I created and I got paid to do it! So now I’m not as opposed and had become very open to receiving more of those opportunities. It was a win for everyone!
But then we moved and I got so sick and now I have an infant.
Blogging can be extremely consuming if you let it.
And there is a plethora of advice out there that will tell you you have to blog at least 3 times a week or post at least once every day…the key to success is to be consistent and you have to….yadda yadda…….etc…..
I’m sure a lot of that advice is real. And I’m sure success can come from all of that advice.
But I have a different thought about it. I completely believe that if the Lord wants it to do well it will. If you put first things first and all things will be added….put second things first you lose both.
My priority is first and foremost my relationship with Jesus. After that it’s my family and it will always be my family. So if I go through a season where the kids need more or I need more or Matt needs more then blogging will absolutely take a back seat.
Of course I want the blog to do well and have it be “successful”….but defining success might be different for you and I or the next gal. Success to me, and my goals in blogging, have changed.
I am getting ready to revamp the entire blog again after this long break I’ve taken since we’ve moved. I haven’t been consistent and I want to make a few more changes. This time, this season of putting family first has provided a natural new beginning to reinvent it all over again, which I think is necessary as God has changed me even through this move and new baby.
I do want my content to make money now but in a way that I feel is honorable and does not in any way cheapen my message. If my creativity and my deepest desires to please the Lord can in any way benefit our home in a monetary way then I want to be open to bless my family in doing that. But I refuse to let it consume me to the point that I ever think my family is in the way of making that happen.
It will always be tempting to overlook those little faces to get on to my “more important work”…but that way of thinking is a lie. My kids are the most important work I will ever do. I must serve and love them first before I can make myself available to anybody else.
As far as the “when,” sometimes I blog at night when the house is quiet. Sometimes I blog when the kids are here but working on homework or playing outside. Sometimes Matt gives me a day off to just go hang out at a coffee shop away from everyone. There is really nothing “set” as much as I do what I can when I can and I trust the Lord with the rest.
My goal now is not to just be creative. Last year when one of my posts went viral and I was asked to speak at a church I was terrified and completely regretted ever beginning to write in the first place. Never in my life would I have imagined something like that happening with a post leading to an invitation to speak.
But I accepted the invitation and I spoke….and I saw God in a new and fresh way work through all of my fears and provide the words. And people, by HIS good grace, were impacted and love Jesus just a little bit more because of that tiny “yes”.
My goal now is to serve and bless and love as many people as He would allow. Of course I still want to use this to be creative, but I want to write a book and have recently signed on with a literary agent. I want to explore more speaking opportunities and have recently been invited to be the keynote speaker at a Womens retreat in March!
My “why” is changing and it’s becoming more and more clear where the Lord is leading and how He has wired me.
But again…family comes first every single time. I see girls in the blogging world driving and pushing and forcing….and constantly saying things like “you were made for MORE” and so often they rush past their kids to do that “more.” And then as they go they encourage others to not feel guilty about putting their new dreams and passions before their families too.
I personally feel so so so so convicted to not be that way.
I see writing in many ways as an act of worship. To take note of life’s happenings and document the things God teaches and then to be able to give voice to that experience in a way that encourages someone else to want to know Jesus more…it’s thrilling to be a tiny drop in the bucket bringing glory to God.
God forbid it ever become about me or my glory. To do any of this for MY name’s sake would be such an empty aim.
Loving and leading my own children in my own home for His glory is also worship. And I don’t take that lightly. My family will always be my first dream….blogging and writing and even these new passions for book writing and speaking…it all is a dream too but it will never take first place.
So here’s my best advice…if God has gifted you to be a writer then be that! Pursue that as best you can and let me just say you will totally and thoroughly enjoy it! But my best advice is to put guard rails up…don’t ever let the goals or the success or the allure of success or money or fame or whatever it may be ever allow you to take your eyes off Jesus or your family.
To Him be the glory.