“So have you just quit writing?” This is a question I’ve heard a time or two over the last two years or so. My blog, once a weekly fixture on my social media feeds, grew dormant with each passing week of silence. My passion for writing, once a blazing hot fire that became an important way I expressed myself, had become a pile of ashes as it became less and less a part of my rhythm of life.
Had I quit as a writer? It seemed like every time I want to go back and write, something else – more important, I always say – would get in the way. Sure, a lot has changed since I was last an avid writer – I’m now preaching every week, already through an appointment where a great deal of creative energy was spent on helping to lead a 3-church merger, now into a new appointment with lots of potential and not enough hours in the day to harness that potential into fruit.
This Lent I’ve decided to try to do a little soul-searching about my writing. Why did I love to write? And what’s been stopping me from continuing to write lately? Maybe this post is more confessional than constructive, but below are a few of the reasons why I think I stopped writing:
- I became more concerned about clicks, and less concerned about content. It’s true. There’s a very real temptation in the blogging world to write for clicks. I don’t know if I would go as far as to say I began to feel tempted to write clickbait. But I definitely began to filter my ideas based on what I felt could gain the most digital traction.
- The environment where my writing niche lived grew more toxic. My blog began to gain more traction in the blogosphere leading up to, and following, General Conference 2012. Methonerds became my primary audience. The problem was the Methonerd world only grew more toxic leading up to, and following, General Conference 2016. It was all about picking sides, playing “gotcha,” and creating an echo chamber where your opinions and views could be heard above everything else – even if they were mean-spirited. I grew weary of trying to keep up the rat race in this environment. And because I had already sold my writing soul for clicks, my blog lost its voice too.
- I got really busy. And that was a good thing! People used to joke that I’d write less once I transitioned from the role of Associate to Senior Pastor. And they were right. All of a sudden your focused ministry gets blown wide open with anything and everything that can happen in the life of a church. I enjoyed a challenging (!) 2-year appointment where I grew as a pastor and a leader. It was a sweet church full of wonderful people. I was so proud of them for taking a leap of faith in electing to close in order to give birth to a new church. And I promised myself I would write about it along the way. Funny thing was I found those life-giving moments were best spent between me and them. I soon lost the passion to share with the world what was a tough process, but one that ultimately made me believe even further in the miracle of resurrection. Maybe one day I’ll write about it.
It turns out a lot of creative energy in ministry is spent on preaching every Sunday and producing bulletin fronts and emails. But I want to offer more. I need to find a new voice. Maybe that voice begins with my struggle to find who I am as a writer again. Either way, I’m excited to be back again to clicking away on my laptop as I process the joys and struggles of ministry. And I hope you’ll humor me by (re)joining me along the way…