Originally published Tuesday, 07 May 2013.
"Human creativity is derivative and reflective, working within the bounds of what God has formed," writes Os Guinness. As. C.S. Lewis put it, "an author should never conceive of himself as bringing into existence beauty or wisdom which did not exist before, but simply and solely as trying to embody in terms of his own art some reflection of that eternal Beauty and Wisdom." Because of the Fall, we do not have a clear glimpse of Beauty or Wisdom; we see only a poor reflection. But because of Christ's redemption, the arts can be restored. (How Now Shall We Live, Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, 1999)
I have not always considered myself an artist, nor, for that matter, a writer.
In 2008, I began a family blog to chronicle the life of our first child, Emily, in such a way that relatives in neighboring states could observe her growth and development. That blog consisted primarily of captioned pictures and a smidgen of video clips. Later, in August of 2010, I began writing a ministry blog: Raise the Risk. Fairly quickly I came to love the art and craft of writing. I began reading other more popular bloggers and learned more about this creative outlet I am called to.
In 2011, I decided that writing two blogs was too much. I wanted to graft my family blog and ministry blog together. I also wanted the freedom to write about all aspects of my life; not only the ones that involved everyday risks. As a result of that decision, This Temporary Home was born. I now consider this blogging home a place where I can capture the days and express my thoughts through the lens of a Christian worldview. It is my way of embracing everyday beauty.
Interested in starting a blog of your own? There is no one way, however, I would love for you to learn from my past experiences in blogging and shorten your learning curve a bit.
- I suggest starting with your own website versus a Blogger or Wordpress blog. I have used all three and would forgo the headache of transitioning from one to a dot com. To do this you need to purchase a domain name and secure a server. BlueHost is the server that I use. A detailed description of how to go about this can be found here on Amy Lynn Andrews' helpful website for all things technical on blogging. As you decide on your domain name (web address) the easiest thing to do is use your name as a dot com. For example: www.brookecooney.com. I did not choose this for various reasons, however, in retrospect this may have been a better option. Using your name gives you the flexibility of changing your blog's name without purchasing another domain.
- Next, begin writing. Once you establish a regular writing schedule, you will discover the theme connecting your posts together. You may begin a food blog only to discover you continuously write about the guests you have over for dinner! Once you develop your writing style, and the theme woven into it, then you can begin working on your branding. More about that next. The most important element of writing a blog is consistency in posting. The more you write, the better you will become.
- Branding. By this I am referring to the web design and overarching message of your posts. These YouTube vlogs may be helpful in pursuing this idea further. I hired someone to design the look of my blog. I have no regrets for doing so. For a very reasonable cost, and much less anxiety on my part, a beautiful space was created for me to call my writing home. I would suggest that you look at your favorite blogs and websites and determine what exactly draws you to the look of those blogs. The look draws you, but the content is what makes people return again and again.
- Next, once you have blogged for a year, I would highly recommend converting your blog into a book. The company that I use each year is the Cutest Blog on the Block. These books are our family's "scrap book" and also make for great gifts!
- One last piece of advice. When writing your blog and pursuing a reader base, always write with your audience in mind. In other words, try to tie in how the lessons you learn can impact your readers lives.
If you sense the Holy Spirit calling you to pursue blogging, be it writing, photography, cooking, or a creative how-to website, then I hope that the above suggestions will be of benefit to you. May you blog for His glory and for beauty!
*Photography by Ron.