The PDF for today is one I downloaded as a freebie for subscribing to Ed Cyzewski’s blog a few years back. I’ve followed his blog on and off since around 2012. This same ebook is available on Amazon and NoiseTrade. The ebook is short, 47 pages of content. It is divided into sections so I will use those as headings in this summary.
In explaining why he has written an ebook focused on faith blogging, Ed states:
The goals for Christian blogs can become quite murky at times since we aspire to physically live out our faith. Thinking and writing about it simply won’t do for serious followers of Jesus.
I think of this from another angle: Because I’m seeking to live out my faith, my goals for blogging are strongly influenced by what I believe. This probably amounts to the same thing but is easier to get my head around.
In this section Ed extols the virtues of being succinct and to the point, then also recommends writers at least occasionally take the time to go deep on a particular topic.
Don’t be afraid that inviting others to contribute yo your blog will make you look like less of an expert, it will probably make you look better.
I do wonder how this can be applied to a personal blog like mine? A basic premise of my approach is that this blog is mostly about stuff I am interested in rather than being a ‘niche’ blog. Though, asking people who I’m curious to learn more about would be an obvious way to include the contributions of others. This is worth some consideration.
Becoming a better faith blogger begins with zeroing in on the essentials for a blog post
Ed points out how easy it is to ramble on about our faith, obscuring the message by telling too much detail in the stories we share.
Make your point. Tell your story. Keep. It. Moving.
Read and Link
By reading other blogs and noticing what they do well, we begin to improve our own writing. Follow other bloggers in your area of interest, know what is being discussed about a topic, be informed.
I also note that Ed specifically recommends reading high quality blogs. Just as the people we hang out with influence our thinking, what we are reading will influence both the content and quality of our writing.
We read other blogs in order to share our unique perspectives with existing conversations or to start new conversations that aren’t happening already.
Don’t try to pursue some abstract ideal of what a ‘good’ blogger should be. Write in a style and voice that is your own. This means finding a sweet spot between stiff formality and brash oversharing. A blog is not an academic journal, but neither is it drunken commiseration with your best mate.
… real life experiences, if shared with discretion, can be truly powerful.
A good question to ask in the context of being yourself is:
What does this look like to me?
An Unbound Niche
This section is a bit hard to sum up so I will just quote this one paragraph:
While we can’t always write for everyone, we can write for a niche in such a way that our work has its own integrity and power so that our niche is open and unbounded by insider jargon or divisive language.
Paint a scene
This is clearly an art, one which I have not mastered. The idea is to carefully paint a scene for the reader that draws them in and pulls them along. The big challenge is to engage readers in such a way as to make them care about what you are saying.
What Are You For?
Be a writer who builds up rather than tearing down. Twitter holds plenty of examples of folks tearing others down, don’t go there. This is a section that I think definitely applies to Christian bloggers – I’m baffled by the way supposedly Christian people write about other Christians in scathing and nasty ways. Disagreeing does not need to be nasty.
What Ed seems to be saying on this topic is to write about what you are wanting to build up and just leave behind the stuff you might be against. This enables you to write positively instead of standing in opposition to something you don’t like.
Ed recommends using humorous stories about ourselves to let others see us at our most cringe-worthy, embarrassed and vulnerable. People are able to relate to these sorts of stories.
I’m not even sure how to attempt this. Perhaps this shows it is something I need to try for myself and practise?
Ed uses examples of Christian bloggers to show what he means with each go the topics covered. All the links to these blogs are working in the version currently available via Noisetrade, except for the link to ‘Then I Like Being Naïve’ by Preston Yancey. Oddly the links to Ed’s newsletter sign up and his old blog at inamirrordimly, including the ‘women in ministry series’ which he mentions are broken.
Despite the examples of Christian bloggers, the ebook does not go into much detail about much that is specific to faith blogging, something I was looking for.