I’ve heard it said time and time again, “If your blog changes the life of one person, then it’s worth it.”
Every time I hear this the sarcastic, pessimist in me wants to cock my head to the side and say, “Really? Because, you know, that’s easy to say when you have 2,000 subscribers, contribute to multiple sites, speak at conferences, and have multiple eBooks?”
The whiny “That’s not fair!” keeps going, “But what of the rest of us? What of those of us who, when we log into our analytics see the graph pitch all the way to 10 views? What about us who shell out hundreds of dollars for blogging conferences and only a handful of people will ever know our name? Is it worth it then?”
Can’t it feel that way?
It doesn’t matter if what they’re saying is true, when you’re not coming from the same place it can feel false.
It’s hard to write and pour your heart out in words and then be met with an echo so low you have to lean in to hear it. I’ve been there, eagerly waiting for a comment or two on a post I fell in love with and no one comments or tweets or…anything. Flat silence. It’s frustrating when you have idea after great idea, but not the audience to make it work. Or when you’re trying to find your tribe or niche and you just don’t fit in.
Being a “small blogger” is hard. It requires a faithfulness that’s different from the headlining act. Staying in this place where you feel called, even compelled to write knowing few are listening, takes passion and conviction.
After nearly 8 years of blogging and having no measurable success, I’m finally coming to realize, and convincingly know, I must do this because I love it not for the hope of success. “Success” may never come or it may be an opportunity waiting just around the corner. Whatever it may be, when I look to the right and to the left and see the opportunities pouring in for other bloggers I must be content. I must be thoroughly convinced where I am is where I am supposed to be.
My audience, my words, my influence…in the end none of that really matters. Not even how many lives my words have encouraged and changed. In the end, the only real success will be measured in my faithfulness.
Have I been faithful to my calling? Have I been faithful to the Truth? Have I been content in the measure of my giftedness?
Will I press in and press on even when I feel out of place in this blogging world? Will I let one other than the King define me? Will I write for the sheer love of it–or is my heart tangled in promotion and praise?
Or have I set the praise and accolades of man higher than the comforting, guiding hand of the Father?
You want the advice of a mediocre blogger and aspiring novelist?
The lists and the have-to’s and the metrics–use what is useful, but don’t let it define you. Write in the freedom and restoration of a heart embedded in the King’s good pleasure.
Be the fresh air. Be the small voice resounding Truth. Be faithful to your calling.
Success, true success, will only go as far as your faithfulness. Enjoy what you do. Find pleasure in the writing, in the abiding, in the faith-walking. It may not have the look of success, but it will have the look of grace, of praise, of faith.
And faithfulness? It’s the only true success.
Jessica is a sojourner a bit reluctant on the journey. She writes on faith, the beauty and art of everyday life, the writer’s life, and pursuing justice for the voiceless. Redemption is her favorite word. You can join the journey at The Reluctant Sojourner or tweet along @Jess_Reflects.