Happy Anniversary to Me!

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Five years ago I was bored and frustrated. I was in a job that didn’t have much scope for development and I wanted to write.

I’d dabbled a bit with writing in previous jobs and had thought/hoped the one I was now in would allow me to use and develop this skill. It didn’t.

To my shame, I had a pretty bad attitude about it. I felt like I was in a box that was too small, and instead of working out how best to use that box to the glory of God, I alternated between sitting in it sulking and kicking my feet against the sides in frustration.

I wanted to write, but I had no platform. No one knew me, so who would care what I thought about any given issue? And I wanted to write about things that matter – big issues of ethics, truth, wisdom. I wanted to challenge society’s assumptions about the way life works, its purpose, its meaning, but what authority did I have? None at all.

After I had ranted and moaned along these lines for months and months, eventually God spoke (or at least, eventually I listened).

“Have you ever heard of this thing called ‘The Internet’?” he asked. “It’s this wonderful place where anyone can write whatever they like for free. If what you write is any good, people will tell you. If it’s not, people will tell you.”

If I really wanted to write, he challenged me, did I care who read it? I knew I needed to hone my skills, and I knew the only way to do that was to start using them and see what happened, see what people thought, see if I had more than about three posts-worth of things to say.

It turns out I did.

Today is my fifth anniversary of blogging. From my very cautious beginning, when neither my name nor my photo appeared on my blog (because I’d seen some of the vitriolic bile hurled around on the internet and wanted to distance myself a bit just in case), I now have a website in my own name, with my photo prominent on the home page. I’ve got 152 people who have signed up to follow my blog and get emails or WordPress notifications every time I write a post. I’ve got many more who regularly read my stuff following the links from Facebook and twitter, and this is my 427th post.

Beyond that, though, it has opened doors to much, much more.

God-given openings

 

After little more than a year, my blogย led to me being head-hunted for a communications job. Eighteen months after that, being made redundant was not a problem, because I had lots of contacts and experience to be able to strike out as a freelance writer and editor.

I’m now into the third year of that job, and have got so much work I had to turn a job down recently! Two days a week I work as Communications Director for King’s Church Kingston, and the rest of the time I write, edit, proofread, interview and sometimes even take photos for a living!

Last summer I gave a seminar about writing, and if I could find the time I’d still be leading a writing workshop once a month as I did for a while.

I’m working on my first book, and beginning to realise that I’m not likely to get a period like last spring when I had enough work to keep body and soul together, but plenty of time to work on my own book. I think some discipline, good planning, and maybe early morning starts are in my future!

I do still intend to keep blogging, too, the weeks just seem to melt away!

I can’t believe how far God has brought me in five years! It has been a wonderful ride – so far – I can’t imagine where he might take me next.ย  He has brought me all the opportunities, but you – my readers – have made it all possible.

Thank you all! Thank you Simone, for helping me set the blog up in the first place, and giving me some very helpful tips and advice. Thank you Sarah, for being the first person to subscribe to receive my posts by email. And thank you to each of the 151 people who followed her. Thank you Peter for your help, advice, encouragement, and for giving me free blog hosting (on newbloghosting.com) when I moved to this site. Thank you Peter (again), mum, dad, Lisarrr and Judith for being my most frequent commenters, and thank you Judith for being far and away my most avid supporter, encourager and advocate – you’re a one-woman PR agency! Thank you to everyone who has ever commented, ‘liked’, tweeted, shared on Facebook or otherwise engaged with my posts.

Freebies!

 

There are too many people to thank, so in good blogging style I’m going to do a giveaway. I have (or will have very soon!) three prizes of a fabulous journal and one of my favourite pens to give away (I mean, not one of my own pens, but the kind of pen I like!). Writing electronically is fun, but nothing beats a really good journal and a lovely pen or pencil to really get the juices flowing.

If you want to win one of these prizes, just leave a comment below by 9am GMT on Monday, 23rd February 2015, and I will pick the three winners at random. These competitions usually want you to tweet the post and share it on Facebook, too, but I’m really not saying anything here that’s worth sharing – I’m not trying to get more followers, just to thank the ones I’ve already been blessed with.

Thank you – and good luck!

53 Comments On This Topic
  1. Amy Boucher Pye
    on Feb 20th at 8:21 am

    5 years! Congrats Jennie. Fab accomplishment. I heard about you as ‘a blogger’ – you grew into this new identity, which is so fun and wonderful.

    A competition. I do love hosting them, and so will enter this one… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:17 am

      Thanks Amy! I still think it’s funny that anybody has ‘heard about me’ at all! Thanks for entering – all the best!

      Reply
  2. Gary Hoek
    on Feb 20th at 9:51 am

    Congratulations Jennie, well done!
    I enjoy your posts – short and to the point! Thank you.

    Every blessing.
    Gary (Durbanville, South Africa)

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:18 am

      Thanks Gary! Nice to ‘meet’ you.

      Reply
  3. Joanna
    on Feb 20th at 9:53 am

    Loved this Jennie! What a journey – love the blogging culture! (:

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:19 am

      Thanks Jo! Yes, the blogging community is great, isn’t it?

      Reply
  4. Robert Williams
    on Feb 20th at 10:10 am

    Happy anniversary! Your posts are invariably engaging and thought-provoking – keep up the blogging!
    Rob

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:20 am

      Thanks so much, Rob! I’ve enjoyed our (real life) conversations about some of the deeper issues that come up.

      Reply
  5. Alan Taylor
    on Feb 20th at 10:10 am

    Happy Anniversary Jennie!

    I have forgotten how I first came across your blogs – perhaps through LICC? – but they immediately caught my attention. A recent article on Free Speech was so timely and perceptive that I passed it on to some of my friends. They may have become new subscribers!

    Alan

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:50 am

      Thank you, Alan! Yes, LICC have been great at increasing my readership! Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing that post; much appreciated.

      Reply
  6. Judith Barnett
    on Feb 20th at 10:35 am

    Happy 5th anniversary! If I’d known you 5 years ago I’d’ve definitely signed up then! ๐Ÿ™‚
    My favourite posts are – the Little Wooden chair, the Cola/Pepsi name blog, The more you talk the more you want to (very true!) & Round Robin. (I think there’s another too but I’ve forgotten just now!)

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:48 am

      Thanks Judith! You’re such an amazing encourager, and the world’s best best friend ever. I’m so glad God brought us together. xx

      Reply
      • Judith Barnett
        on Feb 22nd at 9:41 pm

        Me too. *Thank you* God. Xxx

        Reply
  7. Chris
    on Feb 20th at 11:21 am

    I first came across your blog in September so quite a new follower! Thank you for making me think.

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:46 am

      Thanks Chris, nice to have you on board. Thank you for the encouragement.

      Reply
  8. Colin
    on Feb 20th at 11:29 am

    Well done, here’s to the next 5 years!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:46 am

      Thanks Colin!

      Reply
  9. Gail Cook
    on Feb 20th at 11:46 am

    I still have your photo of the Thames at dusk, and get llovely comments on it. So pleased you have found your niche!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:45 am

      Thanks Gail. Yes, I really have – my heart overflows!

      Reply
  10. clairemusters
    on Feb 20th at 12:18 pm

    Wow 5 years goes quick doesn’t it? Great to hear about your adventures and how God has opened up such opportunities for you. Exciting times! Xx

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:45 am

      I knew I’d forgotten someone – thank you to you for your help and advice when I was looking to strike out as a freelancer! I’m glad we’ve been able to send bits and pieces of work each other’s way – and that we finally met! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great to see the doors opening for you, too. xx

      Reply
  11. Alisa Russell
    on Feb 20th at 2:01 pm

    Nice job, Jennie! You were one of the first bloggers I subscribed to when I started blogging. I have always enjoyed reading your posts even when I didn’t comment. Here’s to another five years!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:43 am

      Thanks Alisa! It was great to see your transition from not wanting to reveal your name to putting up a picture of yourself and using your real name, too. Thanks for all your encouragement.

      Reply
  12. Ann
    on Feb 20th at 4:30 pm

    It’s exciting to watch the journey God is leading you on. That job was all part of it and has given you lots of openings – the boredom that set in was the spur he used to move you on. I can’t believe you haven’t known Judith for 5 years! And 5 years is also the anniversary of you moving into your ‘new’ flat. Judith’s memory’s much better than mine – I can’t remember specific blogs to pick out a favourite, they are all apposite, challenging and speak God’s heart. Congratulations. What will the next five years hold? mum

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:42 am

      Thanks mum. I thought this was my 6th anniversary here, though?
      Yes, I was tracing back the other day and realised it goes back as far as my A-levels – if I hadn’t done so badly in them I wouldn’t have gone to Birmingham, and wouldn’t have met Jo and gone to that missions conference where I met the guy from OM Ships, so might not have gone on the ship…and so on! God’s work is amazing!
      Thanks so much for your encouragement – and I keep forgetting to answer your comment about Moses on my other blog – really good poin! I’d never noticed that. Very thought-provoking! Thanks for always spurring me on to think more deeply. xx

      Reply
      • Ann
        on Feb 21st at 12:09 pm

        Could well be your 6th of being in your flat. Sometimes I forget to add one on when I update the calendar there are so many birthdays and events to carry foreward! And I’ve just got to David and Saul and seeing the difference in their heart responses to God even though David often sinned. Lovely to see everyone’s comments here – very encouraging.

        Reply
        • Jennie Pollock
          on Feb 21st at 12:12 pm

          I thought it was your calendar that had told me it was 6 years! Maybe I’m wrong then.
          Yes, I’ve been overwhelmed with how many comments there have been. So encouraging!

          Reply
      • Ann
        on Feb 21st at 12:21 pm

        But then you could say it goes back even further to your being gifted with a love of English grammar in fact Psalm 139 sums it up pretty well – ‘when I was made in the secret place all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’.

        Reply
        • Jennie Pollock
          on Feb 21st at 12:26 pm

          That’s true, too. I suppose the choice of uni is the first time I see two possible paths, and the beginning of making decisions about which way to go. But yes, God’s hand has been on me since before the creation of the world. What an amazing truth!

          Reply
  13. Katie Kelly
    on Feb 20th at 5:47 pm

    Dear Jennie, this was a timely and encouraging post as I seek to work out my next steps in life. Great to see the mix of faith, encouragement from others and providence in your story. May he continue to establish the work of your hands!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:37 am

      Thank you, Katie! Yes, it has been an interesting journey, sometimes I’ve wondered what God was doing, but each of the steps has given me contacts and experience I wouldn’t otherwise have had, each of which has borne fruit a step or two further down the line. Have you read my post from a couple of years back about how I made the hardest decision of my life? It might be helpful if you’re facing a decision. May you always know God’s guiding as clearly as I have.

      Reply
  14. Joni
    on Feb 20th at 10:26 pm

    Great Jennie. Really inspired by your work. Thank you for your thought-provoking blogs. Love Joni x

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much, Joni. You’re such a great encourager. x

      Reply
  15. Tim
    on Feb 20th at 10:44 pm

    5 years? Really? Whilst it would be unethical to include a cousin in your freebie selecting I just wanted to say that I like your blog because the things you write are carefully considered and you avoid jumping straight into ill informed biased opinions. In that way its a breath of fresh air on a tiresome internet. Of course it helps that when you’re stating opinions I tend to agree and its always nice to read things you agree with. Also your punctuation skills are much better than mine. Tim

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:28 am

      Thank you, Tim! I really appreciate the encouragement – and it looks as though you’ve now got two chances to win! (Or should that be three? One entry per comment, maybe? Hmm…I should have thought these rules through better!) I should hope I’ve got good punctuation skills, given I correct others’ for a living! (I have spotted a worrying over-reliance on exclamation marks, though!)

      Reply
  16. J. E. Pollock
    on Feb 21st at 4:17 am

    Hi Jennie, congrats!

    Reply
    • J. E. Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 4:46 am

      And, if I happen to win the giveaway please give to your cousin Tim, and thank for writing; always refreshing and informative. With love from El Paso, TX, Jeff

      Reply
      • Jennie Pollock
        on Feb 21st at 11:24 am

        Ha ha! Thanks Jeff! And thanks for the encouragement.

        Reply
  17. Lynette Ager
    on Feb 21st at 5:12 am

    My sweet Jennie … your writing has been an inspiration to me since its inception. Thank you. I have grown spiritually as a result of reading what you have written. Good for you for trusting Jesus’ leading. From the very start of that crazy Canadian meeting the (AHEM!!) shy British girl when we left for the ships, I have loved you! You are amazing!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Lynette! I’ve always loved you too – after I got over the initial terror! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Thank you so much for your encouragement. You’re amazing, too – I love your joy, your abundant generosity and your perseverance. Hope all goes well on Monday. x

      Reply
  18. Cindy Johnson
    on Feb 21st at 1:28 pm

    Congratulations, Jennie! I read every post and appreciate your insight and your way with words. Just think of the doors the Lord has opened since we were all sitting around in Rachel & Walter’s den! I’m so thankful for the ability to keep up with you from afar ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 21st at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Cindy! Yes, the internet is a marvellous invention for staying connected to friends far away, isn’t it? Hope you’re doing well. xx

      Reply
  19. jon simpson
    on Feb 21st at 2:38 pm

    so fantastic – congratulations! five years seems to have gone quite quickly. really grateful for your example of willingness to acknowledge your passion/wiring, step out, learn, not give up… really grateful for you, period. woo-hoo!

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 22nd at 10:53 am

      Thanks so much, Jon! Can you believe it’s been over EIGHT years since I left Tyrone? Doesn’t seem possible! Still miss you all.

      Reply
  20. Han Rich
    on Feb 21st at 3:49 pm

    An inspiration to always follow your heart. Brilliant.

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 22nd at 10:50 am

      Thank you, Hannah!

      Reply
  21. michayla best
    on Feb 21st at 4:14 pm

    I’m so glad you are writing! You were always fabulous at it. Looking forward to when we get to read your novel ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Jennie Pollock
      on Feb 22nd at 10:50 am

      Ah, thank you Michayla, so kind! How exciting that we’re both following our dreams! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  22. Rebecca
    on Feb 22nd at 10:30 pm

    Ah Jennie, another “well timed” post, underlining that when you step out in Him its less of a step and more of a ski jump…you go a long way fast! Happy 5th Anniversary, keep enjoying! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  23. Subin
    on Feb 23rd at 4:13 am

    Hey Jenny,
    I seriously enjoy your work.. Keep it up. Happy anniversary.

    Reply
  24. James Catford
    on Feb 23rd at 7:51 am

    Ongratulations Jenny! Have you offered your devices to Derek Hill at Bible Society Resources? Freelance editing does come up. Here’s to the next 5 years! James

    Reply
  25. Simona
    on Feb 23rd at 11:35 am

    Well done Jennie, it’s amazing what you’ve achieved in 5 years! Thank you for mentioning me, what a great honor. May God bless the next 5 years (and the 5 ones thereafter ….) and all the adventures you are on. Who would have thought you’ll be travelling to zone 6 regularly because you are writing a blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  26. drbexl
    on Apr 20th at 2:23 pm

    Jake Belder recommended I checked in on your journey, as considering similar – but hopefully with more speaking too!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: