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52 Surprising Lessons I’ve Learned from Blogging 52 Weeks In a Row

By Cara Ray on Jan 25, 2022
What a year of blogging has taught me...

Last year I resolved to write on my blog every week for a year. It was an ambitious goal since I didn’t have a regular rhythm to my writing at that time. Now a year later, I do have a rhythm, and I’ve experienced a lot of rewards from that consistent practice. But like life, this writing gig is an ever-evolving, always-transforming work. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m still a work in progress. 

On this 52nd week of my one-year challenge, here are 52 surprising, but also grace-filled lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope you’ll enjoy this list (even if you’re not a writer), and see some of your own life lessons in it too.  

On Writing

  1. Nothing causes me to reckon what I know, with how I convey it to others, quite like writing does. 
  2. As uncomfortable as writing can be, I’ve grown to appreciate the struggle on one side and the sense of accomplishment on the other.
  3. Being vulnerable is scary. But when I’ve shared from the heart, as I did here, here, and here, those posts did extremely well. (The takeaway is to do it even if it scares you.) 
  4. In the struggle for authenticity, I’m constantly asking myself, “Do I really believe what I just wrote?” 
  5. Knowing one of the enemy’s favorite tools is discouragement, I often wonder if what I’m doing matters. 
  6. One way to overcome discouragement is to keep going. Each time I hit publish I feel I’ve won a mini-victory over a lot of the enemy’s lies.
  7. Struggling through a piece of writing and finally arriving at what I want to say, has built a measure of confidence. 
  8. Next week, when I worry that I won’t be able to write anything, I remember that I felt that way last week. And by God’s grace, I’ll hit publish again. 
  9. Rejection hurts. But in a weird way, it feels like a badge of honor or rite of passage. Can I really improve if I never get rejected?
  10. Writing is frustrating because the words we use to point others to the infinite reality of God, remind us that we are indeed finite. I think God intended this for us, so we could have a grander vision of him!

On Process

  1. The most interesting advice I read this year was not to write about what you know, but write what you want to learn. (This is good news because there are more things to learn than I actually know!)     
  2. Habakkuk 2:2 gave us a template for writing. “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Who knew, right?
  3. The goal of Christian writing should be transformation, and the first one to get transformed is the writer. If it never changes us, it won’t change our readers.
  4. Writing in a journal, before writing on the computer, is strangely helpful.  

On Identity

  1. If I’m struggling with feeling ‘less than,’ I know my vision is horizontal when it needs to be vertical.
  2. When my eyes are on Jesus, and not on myself or others, I can’t help but feel awe and wonder. 
  3. Who I really am happens when no one is watching, liking, or subscribing. 
  4. If my identity is bound up in what I do, or how well I do it, my joy will rise and fall like the ocean’s tide. 
  5. But if my identity is found in what Christ did for me, I’m better equipped to ride those waves.

On Building a Platform

  1. Followers come and go. My job is to cast the net, and let God rearrange the fish to fill it.
  2. I’m so thankful for a small group of online writing friends. They encourage and inspire me all the time. 
  3. The most encouraging part of last year was when people shared my work. 
  4. The second most encouraging part was when someone said, “Hey, I read your post and it really blessed me or it made me think about that passage in a new way.”
  5. The people who freely help others grow are a breath of fresh air. They inspire me to be like them.
  6. I want to be generous with praise for others who are on a similar path as me. They are not my competition, but co-laborers in Christ.

On Spiritual Growth

  1. God cares exponentially more about my becoming than he does about my arriving.
  2. It’s harder to write when my spiritual tank is running on yesterday’s fumes. 
  3. For the sake of my joy, I have to be alone with God every day.
  4. When I do meet with God in the morning (especially when I’m busy and overwhelmed), it seems like my to-do list gets completed, and things just work out. Funny how that happens.
  5. My goal is not success, but obedience.
  6. Writing makes me a student before it makes me a teacher. 
  7. Hudson Taylor’s realization of the “Exchanged Life” challenges my priorities and my sinfully weak flesh to consistently meet with God in the morning. How often do I settle for the sap, when I could be partaking of the fullness of the Vine?  
  8. It’s good to have plans, but I want to hold them loosely. My plans need to align with his, not the other way around. 
  9. Speaking of plans, what grace to know the Master Artist is working through me to make me into his poiema, his masterpiece!
  10. This truth (#34) frees me to pick up my tools and get to work.
  11. I find comfort knowing I’m a work in progress, and God always finishes what he starts (Philippians 1:6). 

On Living it Out

  1. I want to study God’s Word more because I love it.
  2. I want to love God’s Word more, so therefore, I need to study it.
  3. Maybe this is a sign of age, ADD, or residual Covid-brain, but I find it harder and harder to sit through a movie. Time feels especially precious, I’d much rather “waste my time” in a book. 
  4. Sometimes we’re so familiar with the stories in the Bible they don’t capture our awe and wonder as they should. I fight this by picturing myself in the narrative. It opens up the Scriptures in a fresh and exciting way. 
  5. Writing without distractions is ideal, but not realistic (especially if you have kids at home). 
  6. Seek to model Jesus’s approach to interruptions. He loved people more than he loved his to-do list. 
  7. Some of the technical aspects of writing (like SEO), can be a major buzzkill to creativity. While it’s important to know it a little bit, I think it’s more important to be faithful to the message God’s placed on your heart to share. Let him worry about spreading it.

On Social Media

  1. My real-life is not found in the squares. Social media is a great tool, but it requires a lot of wisdom and discernment. 
  2. I want to be real online and like and comment when it feels authentic to me. This will probably keep my numbers smaller, and that’s ok.
  3. When social media is truly ‘social’ and people interact, connect with people from near and far, share ideas and feedback, it’s amazing!
  4. When people use social media to like, follow, and then unfollow, only to build their vanity metrics, it’s awful, and I hate it. 

Final Thoughts

  1. We were made to appreciate goodness, beauty, and truth. Never before have I been so convinced this can only be found in Jesus Christ. He is more lovely to me with every passing year.
  2. I’m learning that every time I sit down to have my soul refilled by the Holy Spirit, I’m participating in holy leisure.   
  3. Resting is not only necessary, but it’s an act of obedience and submission. It reminds me that I’m not God, and I’m dependent on him for everything.
  4. My year-long blogging challenge felt like I had committed to meeting my friends at the gym. Even when I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to be the first one to bail, so I kept on writing. 
  5. You all were my friends at the gym, holding me accountable, even if you didn’t know you were doing it. Thank you!

Did any of these lessons strike a chord with you? Let me know which one(s) you resonate with below. Thank you for subscribing, reading, commenting, liking, and encouraging me to keep going over the last 52 weeks. I pray you’ll stick around for more this year!

Because of his grace,

Cara  

Are you new to the idea of holy leisure? Grab this free guide to get started!

Comments

  1. Your comments resonated with me. The creative process, when rooted in the Word and love for the Lord are inseparably linked. And when they’re not, they are hollow and tinny. Thanks for this. I’ll read it again.

  2. I loved these so much! What a cool way to reflect on the last year of your blog. #28, 33 and 48 were my favorites because I resonated with them the most. I love your heart. You’re an inspiration. xoxo

  3. Cara, I can relate to, “Struggling through a piece of writing and finally arriving at what I want to say, has built a measure of confidence.” And “God cares exponentially more about my becoming than he does about my arriving.” Ang the gym comment and not bailing, ha!

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