I’ve had a lot of new in life recently → new job, new apartment, new church, new friends. New is incredibly refreshing, but it also surrounds you with new perspectives and new ways you need to explain yourself to others. New creates an opportunity for a blank slate, but it also can create a feeling of a need to continuously explain yourself and who you are.
This newness, combined with an increasing audience of people who read my posts, has created a sort of writer’s block for me. See, I never created my blog with the intention for tons of people to read it. I don’t edit my posts, I don’t check the metrics to follow how many people are reading each post and I refuse to make money off of it through advertising. Yes, I do all of these things for my job for a corporation, but this blog is not my job, it’s my passion, and there is a big difference there.
I created this blog because I have something to say, whether people wanted to read about it or not. I have something to express to the world, regardless of how many eyes see it. To me it, it’s not about the quantity of readers, it’s about the responsibility I have to myself and God to say what I have to say before my time expires.
Do not get my wrong, I am beyond fortunate for the readers my blog attracts, but I never, for one moment, want one of you to come to this place and feel like you are being sold to, or feel the inauthenticity because they can tell I am writing about something that “might perform well based on metrics” instead of writing about what I am passionate about.
As soon as I hit 100K followers on Twitter, I felt a huge shift in the community around my blog. Suddenly, so many more people were reading it and had feedback about my life stories and the way I wrote. Luckily, it’s 99 percent positive feedback, but it still puts a gigantic spotlight on something that used to be more of a grassroots place I came to share my experiences in life. I meet someone in person and they regurgitate a list of facts about my life that I am shocked to know they know about me, until I realize I shared something about that on my blog. There is an accompanied awe that people actually read my work, and felt something in it that actually resonated with them so that they even remembered it when they met me in real life.
I met a pastor on a flight this week who told me that his church had grown so much that he felt he was losing the ability to actually minister because ministry is about the one-to-one community connections, not about preaching to a mega-church where everyone goes home at the end of the service and has no idea who they just sat next to in church. That concept immediately resonated with me. I feel as I manage more readers and more followers, the less I am able to truly minister to and speak to and form relationships with this amazing community.
I was so overwhelmed by the recent feedback, that I retreated to a second blog, “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You” where I could share intimate writings that truly spoke to who I am and what I believe in. The past couple of months, I have savoured the anonymity of this second blog that so few know about. All of a sudden, my writer’s block is cured and I am able to write about things that fucking matter in this life again.
However, transitioning to another blog isn’t necessarily the answer to returning the community that I so loved just over a year ago. I owe it to myself and to you to work on making this the best experience for all of us.
So, let’s not divide this community. Just because I have more followers than when we sent our first tweets back and forth, and just because my blog has expanded, that does not mean I am less approachable or less responsive. I am still me, and at the end of the day, the most important part of all of this is being able to have authentic conversation with a diverse group of incredible people doing incredible things. For every post you read of mine, I want to hear your stories and your perspective on life. This is not one person preaching at 150K others, it’s 150K people preaching to and learning from each other. Share your story with me, with us, whether it’s through a tweet or a comment on my blog.
Part of having authentic conversation that spans years is growing with each other. So, I hope you will also grow with me as I shift the focus on this blog from less of a how-to social media guide to more of a spiritual life-guide with some social media sprinkled in.
Yes, I have a lot of valuable lessons to share about social media, but I also have a ton of valuable lessons to share about life, and I would love to share more of those with you.
If you’ve made it this far, you are a true trooper, and I look forward to strengthening our relationship and taking the focus off of quantity and putting it on quality.
M. (isn’t that a character in ‘James Bond’?): Once again, thanks for your honest and authentic post. What I like about your writing is that it feels like you’re just sitting on the couch with my family and we’re just ‘chatting’ – but deep and real chatting – not too deep – but more than just chatting about the weather.
I preach expositorily each week, but I’ve taken a few weeks (five, actually) to talk to the church about our vision and mission. Last week we talked about our ‘values’ of truth, compassion, enjoying others, authenticity and excellence, and your blog reminds me of all five! So, whenever you are ready to relocate to Clearwater/Largo, Florida, I think you’ll fit right in here at Grace Christian Fellowship! Thanks again….thanks for keeping it real and God-glorifying. Have a great rest of the weekend!
Marji J. Sherman
Hi Randy,As always, your comment means so much. I was actually just thinking this weekend that I need to make a weekend trip to your church. I would absolutely love to hear you speak. I hope your week is off to an incredible start!
Marji,I hope you never ever get writer’s block ever again! LOL
I love the anticipation waiting for your next blog post everyday!
I truly love the way you are genuine in your writing and embrace your passions in print. It is not often that you find someone that can make the emotional connections like you do with your writing.
Thank you so much and please keep writing because I promise to keep reading!
All my best,
Marji J. Sherman
Wow! Thank you, John! 🙂 I guess I will just have to keep writing then 😉 I hope you are having an awesome Monday, and thank you so much for your kind feedback.Best,
Hi MarjiI just met you today for the first time. I read this blog with interest and appreciation, thinking what a wonderful message from a beautiful young woman. Then I came to this sentence…”All of a sudden, my writer’s block is cured and I am able to write about things that fucking matter in this life again.” and I had to do a double take. Why would you put such vulgarity into an otherwise wonderful message. Is that the only word you could think of as a descriptor for your message.
I am dumfounded. It is like this pure water is flowing out of the well and then it turns to shit.
WOW. I don’t think I need to read any more of your blogs.
I felt guilty for a second. I’m a huge fan of your social media work and link or refer someone to you almost weekly now, so am probably not helping your whiplash from rapid growth. Again, though, you rally and refocus. Have you met Heidi Prebe who does Myers Briggs articles for Thought Catalog? Not to be the constant connector for the gal on overload, but you and she have a similar gift of being genuine into a large group. It is kinda like being able to cook a fabulous meal for a banquet. Most people can learn how to do a delicious and comfortable dinner party for 4. It’s much harder to do it for 40.
As social media grows, we will need people like you to help us find a communication balance. Because the all or nothing tension we see now won’t hold. Neither work.