I have a student coming in Thursday to interview me for Westminster's school newspaper, The Wildcat Roar, on the topic of my blog (or more specifically, I think, the fact that I have one). I asked her to send along her questions so I could think through my answers. Here's what she sent (and what I think):
1. Why did you want to begin writing your blog?
Second Drafts is not my first blog; it's actually my third. Back in the early part of the "aughts," when I was on staff with The Navigators in Colorado Springs, I was using a really poor content management system to post book, movie, and music reviews to our family ministry website. This was novel and fun, but there was no means (other than email) for interaction with others, so it was basically a static page that I just added to and kept up. I wouldn't call this a "blog," but it was a step toward what was coming.
In the fall of 2003, as part of promoting my first book, TwentySomeone, a friend of mine set up a promotional website and suggested including a blog as part of the homepage. I liked the idea since it provided the opportunity for feedback and interaction, and especially because the software (I used WordPress for the interface) was so much better than what I was used to. It was also cool to be in on the early stages of blogging, particularly since the book was aimed at people in their twenties (surely, I thought, this made me ultra-hip). I kept this blog for two-and-a-half years.
When we moved to St. Louis to start course work at Covenant Seminary, I felt the need to chronicle some of my experiences, but I wanted to do so in a different way. Using Blogger (which has come a long way from when I started using it back in 2005), I created an anonymous third-person "reporter" – Seminary Tychicus – who kept track of the ups and downs, ins and outs of the life of a new seminary student, "Learner," who was adjusting to graduate school with a family of four and plenty of insecurity to boot. The Tychicus connection came from Paul's words in Ephesians 6:21: "Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing." I kept this blog for almost two years, from June 2005-April 2007.
Having started the Tychicus blog and getting further into my mid-thirties, I felt it was time to discontinue the TwentySomeone blog, as I didn't want readers to feel like I was desperately clinging to my twenties (I also didn't have a lot of mental energy to spare for two blogs). So, I shut down the TwentySomeone blog at the end of 2005 and stopped blogging as me all together for six months (which I now consider a mistake as I lost hundreds of readers in doing so). It was around this time that Facebook really started to explode, but I wasn't a big fan of the whole micro-blogging idea as it seemed a cop-out on real content.
Probably as a reaction to all this (as well as the fact that I missed writing as me in first-person), I started Second Drafts in June of 2006. The idea was to use the blog as a place where I could combine all the past writing I had done – books, magazine articles, online resources – with new stuff that might turn into new books, magazine articles, and online resources (my second book, Learning Education, is made up of a lot of my posts about teaching). In addition, I use the blog to pass along interesting links I come across through the inclusion of my Delicious and Twitter feeds, as well as to try to sell my books and some of the music I've recorded as a way to generate some (very minimal) additional income for my family.
2. What was/is your inspiration?
From the beginning, my goal in blogging has always been to offer my thoughts to others for the good of God's kingdom. I think of myself as a maven of sorts – "a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others," and while I'm no "expert" in anything, I do know people trust me and that I love to learn and help others do the same in a wise way. Translating big ideas into more manageable thoughts has always been my modus operandi, as it's an opportunity to influence others. Sometimes I'll come up with an original idea, but most of my writing seems to be along the lines of discerning or restating something in a way that helps readers better understand than they did before (at least that's what readers have consistently told me I do for them). I'm grateful for (and gratified by) that.
(To be continued)