How Far Will Your Influence Go?

There are some specific things that I have heard over the years that stick in my mind. They make me think about them and ponder them for a long time. One of these is about influence. 

influencers-3151032_640photo by ElisaRiva courtesy of Pixabay.

I heard a pastor speaking about the final judgment. He said people will be judged not just by their works but by the influence they had on others. He spoke about how some people’s influence will last generations and affect thousands or millions of people. I have thought about that a lot.

We all have a level of influence in others’ lives. Maybe it is our family’s, the people we work around, the students we teach, our friends; we will influence them. There are times in our lives when we will have greater influence than at other times.

When we are given a public platform of one kind or another, our influence grows. Whether we are a speaker, writer, actor, or a pastor, we begin to influence a greater amount of people than before. We need to think about that, because with influence comes responsibility and ultimately accountability before God. We can influence people in a positive direction or in a negative one.

If we are a writer, think about Mein Kampf. How many people has it influenced over the decades, and what did people do with that influence? How many millions of lives were taken because people read that book and believed what it said? Conversely, what is the most positive book you have ever read? How did it influence you and change your thinking? Were you able to apply that positive influence into your own life?

As writers we will write thousands or millions of words that others will read. What kind of influence are we having over the people that read them? Are we leading them in a positive or negative direction? Are we writing things solely for our own ends or material enrichment? Do we really care about the people reading the things we write? We need to think about it and not just blow it off casually, it really does matter.

Influence…we all have it. The question is, “What are we going to do with it?”

Woo Hoo…Made it Through One Year of Blogging!

As of last month, I made it through one year of blogging and looking back I have to tell you, I have learned a lot. A few months after I began blogging, I started writing magazine articles. The format is a little different and you have to write to the specifications of each magazine’s submission guidelines. I checked the Writer’s Guide and I decided to send a blog post to one of the magazines that publish them. 

Within a day or so, I got an email back from the Blog Editor. She said they only publish blog posts by bloggers who have been blogging for at least six months. I thought, “No problem!” I will wait six months and then see about sending in a blog post. However, about five months into blogging, I thought about quitting. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and I was getting discouraged. I seriously considered bagging it but decided to stick it out as my goal had been to blog once a week for an entire year. About a month after that, the readership grew and I am glad that I decided to stay with it.

The problem is real, though. The first five or six months of blogging is hard for a new blogger. It takes time to develop followers and get the reads and comments you would like. I read a blog post on the site Hellbound Bloggers by Harshit Singhal entitled: “5 Reasons Why Most Bloggers Quit Blogging Within Six Months.” He talks about the fact that 9 out of 10 bloggers will not make it through the first year. It is a great read if you want to look it up and very informative. I will mention the five reasons he states that most bloggers quit: 1. Looking for quick money 2. Not passionate about writing  3. Lack of motivation 4. Not enough topics and 5. The unavoidable renewal.

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So it’s tough for new bloggers, that’s seems to be an established fact. When I started blogging, I knew NOTHING about blogging. I just felt like I was supposed to start a blog. I listened to an interview with Kristen Lamb and she mentioned her latest book, “Rise of the Machines, Human Authors in a Digital World.” She is an established writer and her book is full of information about the publishing industry. She also mentioned that it has a special section on blogging. I read it cover to cover and especially focused on the chapters related to blogging. I learned so much from her and I still reread it when I need a fresh insight about the subject.  So, “Thank You, Kristen for all of your help, I couldn’t have done it without you!” 

We can do our best when blogging but we are still dependent on the readers to let us know if what we are writing is speaking to them. I want to thank everyone who read my blog, liked it, commented on it and followed it. I really appreciate the support and encouragement you have given me. I would also like to thank the Lord who gives me the ideas and words to say. I am not a natural writer and without His help I would never have been able to write even the first blog post.

I want to encourage all of you who just started blogging…stay with it. It will bear fruit and it be worth it in the end. If you’re struggling, check out Kristen’s book and you will be surprised at the amount of great information and encouragement you will find.

Again, a big “THANK YOU” to each and every one of you!  Please enjoy a piece of  Blogiversary cake (even if it is virtual) on me!

close up photography of pink birthday cake

Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Why Blog?

pexels-photo-273222.jpegI had been blogging about a month when I sent a blog post to a magazine that publishes them. The editor sent it back stating that they only publish blog posts from bloggers that have been blogging for at least six months. I could understand her reasoning and thought, “Great, no problem, I will send one in about five months.”

At the end of five months, I was thinking, “Why blog?” Does it actually make a difference or impact anyone’s lives? Sometimes there are likes, sometimes comments, but mostly people just read it. At the point I was thinking about quitting, the readership doubled and it encouraged me to stay with it.

Since then, I have been thinking about “Why blog?” and I came up with a few reasons that seem to work for me:

1. Blogging helps me express those feelings I care deepest about.

Before I started blogging, there were several areas that I felt strongly about. Yes, I could express my opinions to my circle of friends and family, but the thoughts went no further. Once I started blogging I could share my thoughts with others, many whom I had never met and some who are from different parts of the world.

2. Blogging makes me organize my thoughts and put them in a logical order.

I blog once a week and when I decide what to blog about, I begin to organize my thoughts and frame them into a cohesive whole. I have to examine my thoughts and see if they make sense and are driving me to the conclusion I think they are.

3. Blogging allows me to share a “Now Opinion.”

This summer I decided to start writing magazine articles. The process is a slow one, and by the time a piece is accepted and published it could be three or four months down the road. If I feel the need to express my thoughts about something that is going on “Now”, I can do it. If I write an article about it, it may be obsolete by the time it gets published.

4. Blogging allows me to connect with people I would otherwise never get to meet.

My favorite part of blogging is getting to connect with people I have never met. It is fun to share ideas and opinions with people that I would not have the possibility to connect with any other way. The blogging community is a large and varied one, and it is great fun to get to read other people’s blog on the WordPress site and get to appreciate their input. I feel I am part of a world-wide community.

5. Blogging is a great exercise in writing.

The only way to get better at writing is to actually do it. If I have a busy week, I know I still must sit down and write. Every time I blog, I am putting into practice what I am learning about communicating with others through the written word.

So, I am staying with it with a glad heart and a positive attitude. I like blogging and will continue to do it. I like the sense of community it brings and I like being able to connect with people around the globe.