Somewhere along the line, I heard or read that writers who find satisfaction in their craft, whether through the number of readers they reach or simply through personal fulfillment with the very act of writing, do so by way of the disciplined practice of writing something virtually every day. Even if it’s just a few hundred words. Even if it is mainly editing something they wrote earlier. The most accomplished and most fulfilled writers know that they need to write something every day.
For some time now, I’ve been engaging in that discipline. I write something every day. A blog post, a Facebook post, a page or two in the book I’m working on, a homily for a worship service, a lengthy email. At least half of what I write is just random thoughts, collected in a notebook, never likely to be published, or at least not intentionally written for that purpose. I do not want to be known as someone who cannot entertain a thought, even commit it to writing, without insisting that somebody else read it too.
As well-intentioned as that practice may be, it makes it too easy for me to find a reason not to publish most of what I write. That means that days and weeks pass without any new posts to my blog. For example, I did not publish a single blog post in September. I struggle with depression, and when I am there, it’s easy to convince myself that I have nothing to say that is worth reading.
One of my best friends has patiently but persistently worked to convince me that I should let my readers decide if what I write is worth reading. I decided a week or so ago that there is enough truth in what he says that I should test it by committing myself to publishing a blog post every day during the month of October. Today is October 3rd. So far, so good.
There are better writers. There are people with deeper insight, greater wisdom. I will likely never rise to the level of the very best, but that is neither my calling nor my concern. My calling is to use the gifts I have to try to make the world a little better place in which to follow Jesus and live out the values of the kingdom of God. For now, the context in which I can do that is almost totally limited to my writing. (In addition, I am a grandfather, and I take that responsibility very seriously, as well. It’s also fun… most of the time.)
I started writing this blog exactly four years ago in October 2011. In 208 weeks, I have published more than 270 blog posts. Yep, that surprises me, too. Even I expected that I would give up on it long before now. I’m so glad I didn’t.
When I named this blog The Relentless Pursuit, I was at a low place in my life. I wanted to give up on God and the church and the faith. I decided, however, that I would press re-start instead. I would ask all the questions that were crying out for answers in my head. And I would explore them, as much as I could, in plain view of my “public,” that is, people who knew me well enough to read my blog. That was mainly former students and former colleagues and those I had met in some context over the course of my ministry, particularly within the last twenty years.
Given the serious tone set by my blog’s title, I have studiously avoided using it for random thoughts and stream-of-consciousness ramblings. For the next month, however, I am setting that guideline aside. Some of what you read here will very likely be random thoughts. I won’t be trying to build a systematic argument for a comprehensive approach to Christian discipleship. Some of it may not even technically fit under the title of a relentless pursuit of authentic faith. Then again, maybe it will.
At the end of the month, I’ll take a look at these thirty-one posts, along with any comments you post here or on my Facebook page. At that time, I’ll evaluate the relative benefit of this exercise and determine if I have learned anything of value to my future writing endeavors. Until then, I thank you for reading what I write. I will try not to waste your time.