I began writing in 2004 with a blog titled, “The Southern Scribe.” Even though I was an early adopter in the Christian blogging world, as time went on, I doubted that blogging was here to stay. Due to my time constraints, I gave up blogging. On occasion I would blog about something that interested me or blog about an issue that excited me or annoyed me. I can stand before you today and say I was wrong, in a big way. Blogs in many circles are just as pertinent as print and network and cable news outlets when it comes to breaking news or editorials.
Anyone can get an account on Blogger or setup a WordPress blog, but how do we write posts that are effective in delivering a message?
1. MAKE YOUR WRITING NEED BASED.
When preparing to write, always start with the key need. Then move to the key thought or concept that has to do with that need. Be sure to research and then exegete your sources and prepare notes on your findings. Examine supplemental writings and books where necessary. A Missionary Writer does not write to be cool or famous; we write to lead people to changed lives. As I research, study, and prepare, I ask God for wisdom and direction.
2. EMPHASIZE SHOWING VERSUS TELLING.
We should use current events and stories to illustrate the point we are trying to make. Remember, showing versus telling can get marred if we are not careful, as we want to tell people “how to” instead of showing them. The only way people really learn and are motivated to change is being shown how to go from point A to point B. People can only get to the next level by having someone who has accomplished what they seek to accomplish show them how.
Make sure you address the WHY behind the WHAT – why do people need to know this? How does it matter to their lives?
3. PROVIDE CLEAR ACTION STEPS.
Effective writing lead to specific applications. In preparation of my writing, I always ask, “What do I want people to DO as a result of reading this?” In many cases, (calling for people to give their shoes off their feet), the action step may be bold. But in other cases, it could be simple (begin reading the Bible this week or go on a date with your spouse).
Just like meetings that do not include action steps tend to waste people’s time, so does writing that does not call people to action. It’s like running back a kickoff and stopping at the 10-yard line.
4. WRITE WITH PASSION AND AUTHENTICITY.
Passionate and authentic writing begins from understanding one’s personality and style. Writers that attempt to write like someone else will never connect as well.
In the 21st century, humor is a common language that conveys authenticity. People appreciate writers who do not look down on them, but engage them. Humor lowers people’s defenses. Funny stories and statements can pepper your writing with spice and make it memorable.
5. BE SIMPLE.
We often write about difficult subjects in an effort to answer people’s questions, but do we use too many words without saying anything? Simple answers are often shorter answers. The attention span of our society is getting collectively shorter. This means that I must develop the skill to match the will.
Great writing should have one memorable point or statement that is repeated several times throughout the piece. There should be one driving idea, a “twitterable” big idea.