Thursday, September 19, 2013

Advice for rookie pastors: On blogging

'Should I start a blog?' is probably a question that has been spinning in the head of lots of newbie Ministers. After all, many 'big name' preachers like Al Mohler, Gary Benfold and Gary Brady have one, so why shouldn't you? You may even have come across some rather earnest posts explaining Why Every Pastor Should Have a Blog. So, you want my advice? Here goes:

1. You probably won't get many readers, so it's not worth the effort

Don't give me that, 'I only want to blog to improve my writing skills and it doesn't matter who reads the stuff' malarkey. If that was the case, why not simply write Word documents that only your hard drive will get to see? But the fact is that while keeping a blog may give your thoughts an airing, don't expect your stat count to hit the blogging stratosphere. Megabloggers are few and far between. Most just get a handful of hits a day, so what's the point? 

2. Choose the name of your blog carefully

OK. You're still determined to get blogging, even though hardly anyone is going to read your stuff. Fair enough, but now you need to come up with a name for your blog. Don't bother with a title that requires even a modicum of thought to work out, as it will confuse your American readers. Even though I explain I'm an 'Exiled Preacher' because I'm a 'Welsh preacher living in voluntary exile in the South West of England', I still get concerned emails from across the Pond asking why I've been banished to what they must think is the UK's equivalent of Soviet Siberia. 

3. Don't take blogging too seriously 

Having an online journal devoted to theology and ministry doesn't make you a one-man Themelios. Mix up your theological musings, book reviews, reports etc. with a bit of random stuff like spoof advice for rookie pastors and that. It's only blogging. If you were a half-decent writer you'd be properly published in book form. 

4. Lengthy posts are pointless

Hardly anyone will do anything more than skim read your carefully crafted posts and they won't even do that if they have to scroll down more than one or two mouse clicks to get to the end. 

5. Remember that while spotting other people's blog typos may make you feel rather clever, that when people spot yours they will just think you're a bit dim

That's right, typos bring out the hypocrite in us all. We all make mistakes and you are likely to be your blog's only proof reader. Try and deprive pedants of their cruel pleasure by previewing your post before you publish. Even then, many of your posts are probably going to be error strewn and spell-checker won't sort our all your problems. As I compose this post, my Google spell-checker has a red squiggly line under each occurrence of the word blogger, which is a perfectly good word. Ironically Google actually hosts the Blogger service. But if I'd typed 'each occurrence of the worm blogger' by accident, fickle old spell-checker wouldn't have warned me, 'word, silly'. And so you'd have thought that I don't know the difference between 'word' and 'worm'. You may even have left a snarky comment to that effect. As sometimes happens. 

6. Given what I said in #4, that's it, really. 

5 comments:

Gary Benfold said...

How about 8. If you must blog, don't be sarcastic about other bloggers? Oh, and it's pedant, not pendant - but that one's deliberate, I know.

Guy Davies said...

Yeah, right. But no one would have bothered to read point 8. Would have made the post too long. I'm afraid 'pendant' was an unintended typo. I meant to type 'pedant', but that doesn't mean that I don't know the difference between a necklace and a pernickety fault finder.

Ben said...

How dare you call me a pendant. I hang on your every word.

Ben said...

... and will Point 4 follow next week?

Martin Downes said...

A good blog will always be a five pointer