When I started blogging, I’d just finished three and a half years of seminary where I read academic books and wrote academic papers for academic professors. Part of my reason for blogging on a regular basis was simply preserving my sanity when I was removed from the social interactions at seminary.
I needed to write and read blog posts because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. The trouble was that I blogged terribly for the first five years.
I took all of my seminary knowledge and dumped it on my blog.
Blah, blah, blah, theology and culture…
Blah, blah, blah, theology and context…
Blah, blah, blah women in ministry…
Blah, blah, blah church makes me grumpy…
I’ve been writing about theology, context, and women in ministry since 2005, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I learned how to blog in a way that would help people actually care (more about that in another post!).
I failed to engage readers. I failed to understand what successful blogging looked like.
The only solution to my writing woes came from reading other blogs.
I started to notice that some blogs engaged me quite a bit more than others.
After reading these blogs, I made some changes to my blogging, and I saw a sharp rise in comments and readers
Bloggers don’t write in a vacuum. While there are only so many hours in a day, reading high quality blogs is essential for improving your writing.
One blogger who I’ve really enjoyed watching grow is Alise Wright.
Over the past couple of years I’ve watched her change and shift both in some of her beliefs and how she communicates them on her blog. As she writes, she regularly mentions what she’s reading and who is influencing her thinking.
That ability to both read and interact with other bloggers and writers has really paid off on her blog. Although she is always learning from other bloggers, she has carved out her own unique voice that is both passionate and kind—a delicate balance!
Perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn from Alise is that we don’t just read other people’s blogs to repeat their ideas to our own audiences. Those days of blogging are done now that social media sharing makes it easy to promote other blogs.
We read other blogs in order to share our unique perspectives with existing conversations or to start new conversations that aren’t happening already.
When Alise tackles a subject, she’s always aware of what’s been said, and how she can add something unique and worthwhile. The quality of her writing has sky rocketed because she’s an avid reader who has learned a thing or two about blogging. In addition, she is generous with her links, always giving credit to the people who have influenced her.
That is the sign of a solid blogger.
Want to improve your blog? Check out one of Alise’s most recent blog reading lists.