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.
After little more than a year, my blog 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. 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.
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!