How To Not Waste Time Blogging

Published on December 15, 2009 by CT in Blog, Thoughts

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How To Not Waste Time Blogging

Do you ever wonder if blogging is a waste of time? Despair Inc. has the following encouragement for you:  “Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.”

If you blog, here’s the number one reason you have wondered if it’s worth it:  the numbers.  You may tell people, “I blog for myself,” or “I don’t care how many people read my blog; if I encourage one person, it’s worth it.”  And that may be true for you.  But it wouldn’t be for me; I’m not that magnanimous.  I want the traffic.

Actually, do you ever wonder if any creative outlets—journaling, painting, drawing, writing, singing, playing—are a waste of time?  Blogging is easy to pick on, but Despair Inc. could speak into just about any part of our lives with daggers of truth.

We all have the same currency in life:  our time.

And we all have the same goal:  to make a statement to the world about what we value most.

Some of us have more currency and more passion than others.  You may get 20 years to say what you want to say about what you see as most valuable, whether it’s God, or family, or money, or power, or popularity, or ingenuity, or discovery, or despair, or meaninglessness.  And you may say it and live it with more vigor than someone who has 100 years.  But no matter how much time each of us has, we all have the same opportunity to relentlessly proclaim to the world what we believe matters most.

When I blog, or write, or tweet, or do anything to express myself, I try to keep in mind the lesson I learned from John Piper.  When his son Abraham asked his community what he should tell to a roomful of Christian bloggers, his dad wrote the following:

Tell them that it takes relentless intentionality to keep a Christ-exalting blog from become a clever blog. The temptation to entertain is almost irresistible.

I know this temptation well.  I am a man full of sin you don’t know about, a heart darkened by prideful desires you would curse if you could see them.  But in spite of this sin, I’ve decided to spend my time proclaiming that Jesus is the most valuable treasure any of us could have in this life.

This is how I have decided to not waste time blogging.

I aim to do this in the spirit of Paul, who writes, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).  Or that of Peter:  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another…by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 4:10-11).  Or Jesus Himself:  “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:16).

As for you, I wonder why you blog, or paint, or write, or draw, or play.  We both know that not every post needs to cite Jesus in order to glorify Him, nor does every painting need to reflect His visage for His Father to be glorified.  There are a thousand ways we can point the world to Christ, and not all of them are obvious on the surface.  And we both probably realize the heart behind what we do does so much to determine the value of what we do.  Which is what Jesus and Paul and Peter were talking about in the first place.

So if all things exist for Christ (Col 1:16), then should not our hearts, and our time, and our posts?

  • http://bethyada.blogspot.com/ bethyada

    I think this is a good question to ask and have done so several times. Is blogging a good use of my time? I think it might be but the question needs to be addressed by all Christians (who spend significant time doing it).

    I think traffic is what people want, though I also think that I want exposure. That is there are millions of English online readers in the world. Some of whom would find my material interesting, or better, helpful. So it is not the people who find me boring I wish to return for the sake of traffic, but the people who do not know I exist but would enjoy what I write to visit.

    • CT

      Thanks for your thoughts. And I think your point about exposure is a good one I hadn’t considered–you seem to be getting more at impact than simply quantity. To carry on your line of thinking, what’s appealing to you about the exposure? You mention folks who might enjoy what you write. Other thoughts? I’m kinda thinking through the end point of it all and just interested in your thoughts…

  • http://bethyada.blogspot.com/ bethyada

    I guess I think I have something to offer. I have spent years reading (and thinking), feeling somewhat guilty for not having an outlet. By guilty I mean I spend this time on myself, whereas sharing may benefit others.

    And I think about things that I find others are not always interested in talking about (I have never much enjoyed small talk but am getting better).

    I do wish to write for a biggish audience, perhaps that is my flesh. But I don’t want numbers for the sake of numbers, I am happy to be restricted to those who enjoy what I write. I just think that that pool is much, much larger than my readership.

    I do want to teach, and I think I am somewhat gifted in that area. Not necessarily as a writer, but in terms of analysing and discerning and noting subtle distinctions, and thinking outside my culture.

    I guess like many I want to be of some use to God’s kingdom. Though I am uncertain as to what that means over working in a godly manner, being a good husband, and father.

    A friend of mine gave me advice about trying out a few things and seeing where they go, being prepared to give them up if they don’t work out. I found that helpful. Have tried leading a few Bible studies, attending a men’s group and starting a discussion group. Blogging is the only thing that lasted. I enjoy it on the main but I think one has to continue asking whether it is a good use of one’s time as there is not the feedback one may get in the personal arena. Comments may be a small fraction of readership. I don’t particularly wish to stop blogging at the moment but need to be prepared to, or do less, if there are better uses of my time.

    I am not certain that really answered your question, but will do for now. Blessings.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff

    Love this honesty! Good post. Been struggling with this myself.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

      Thanks, Jeff. I probably need to set a reminder to read this myself at least once a week…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JenniferLKing JenniferLKing

    Fantastic post, Chris. Tremendously encouraging. Thank you for offering your view, and for sharing your gifts. Have a great 2010! Jennifer King

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Laura_Droege Laura_Droege

    I've struggled recently with how much time blogging takes. I blog twice a week and routinely spend between 2-3 hours writing each post. That's two to three hours that takes away from my fiction writing, which I love. I'm trying to use both my blog posts and my novel/short story writing to point others to God; it doesn't have to be directly talking about God, but it needs to point to him. I'm also trying to build a platform for when I try to publish my novel. (So I definitely have mixed motivations.)
    Blogging takes so much time because I'm a slow writer; I wonder if it's really worthwhile, especially when I have no feedback from readers or very few hits on my blog. (Which would point to my selfish motivations, I believe.)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for sharing your frustrations and your motivations. You should know you're not alone in either. I don't know that I have much to say, and I'm not sure you're actually looking for any sort of answer, but I can say that time is currency, and it's always good for us to continue to ask God how we can best invest it.

      When God gifts someone with the ability to write for others, I assume it's because He has readers in mind who need to read those thoughts. And I think the means to writing needs to be out of obedience–out of a desire to magnify the greatness of God through your gift. So as you continue to ask God how He would best use your gift, you'll find He will answer you. I wish I knew all of those ways so I could share them. But the best place to start is your heart, because it will tell you your motivations for why you do what you do. And your motivations are the place to meet when discussing all this with your Father.

      And be encouraged–there's great joy that comes from obedience, even when you don't see the fruit right away! Some trees take longer to grow than others.