Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blogging is a First-Aid Kit

First Aid

I wake to a Monday I think I understand. School the kids. Do the laundry. Pick up the co-op delivery from our neighbor. Blog. Play the flute, maybe cello too. Make dinner. Read before bed. Lights out.

Then I get the email.

Just checking to make sure you're set to speak tomorrow.

TOMORROW?! TOMORROW?! By what disaster of administrative fall-through-the-crackishness did this occur? No time to answer the question. Must write, all day. Must have something to say.

And so I sit. Type. Daydream. Two pages. Sort the whites. Dry the brights. Sit. Type. Three pages, four pages, five pages, six pages. Fold the darks. Eight pages, nine pages, ten pages, plus the prayers. Forget dinner. Leftovers rule.

Who knew? Blogging is a first-aid kit. It used to take me five weeks. Yes. Five weeks to prepare a talk of this magnitude and depth. Especially on a passage like Romans 14-16. But, over two years of blogging later, it has come to this...

Just checking to make sure you're set to speak tomorrow.

'Sure. I'm set. For over two years I have:

- blogged 1-3 times weekly, increasing my speed and basic writing skills
- archived a set of anecdotes and quotes, easily searchable and cut-and-pastable
- processed these anecdotes and quotes with a community of smart, funny, compassionate people
- been forced to focus my writing to meet the goal of a 250-ish-word post (okay, every so once in a while I push the outer limits of this, but not much)
- learned to accept imperfection and half-done-ish-ness (within a certain standard of acceptability)'

Sometimes people ask me, 'How do I become a better writer?' From now on I might just say, 'Why not blog? Especially in short posts. 'Cause blogging is a first-aid kit.'

[UPDATE: the talk transcript]

Marcus Goodyear's 12 Things I've Learned Through Social Media and Blogging

Just Plane Faith, at the High Calling.org

Dora Bandaids photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Craver Vii said...

Seguro que si. (That's for sure.)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Nice...I love it.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Absolutely! Blogging is good medicine for writers. Good luck with the actual talk!

6:54 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I felt panic rip through me as I read your words! You are my hero.

But I must agree, blogging is a great first aid kit...sometimes I use it a little too much to cover my booboos though :)

Wish I could hear that talk on Romans. Sure to be some awesome insights and good medicine there too.

7:03 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Craver... Love the Spanish. Teach me more! :)

Sarah... thanks. :)

Joelle... already delivered, this morning. This post is a chronicle of yesterday's drama.

Laura... funny, I panicked at first too. Then I just thought, "No, you can do this. You can write it." So began the rhythm of the day. One, two pages at a time with tiny breaks in between. I smiled at your mention of using blogging too much (been there, done that :) As for the Romans talk, I didn't manage to get a recording, but the transcript will be at llbarkat.com soon.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I hope it went well.

When I worry that I'm not doing much personal writing now because of the heavy educational writing load, I remind myself that I'm storing up posts that perhaps can be repurposed someday.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, it is.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I don't know at what expense, but I came out of the closet this morning on my blog in regard to origins. I like that about blogging, you can be yourself, I mean up to a point anyhow, though in some circles I most certainly crossed a line. Wish there was more latitude to think freely, and blogging does make me do that in a hopefully coherent, clear way- probably much more for myself than for anyone else. Though I do hope, as do all writers (and I aspire as such) to help or impact readers for good.

But your words do ring true here, in your good, creative way.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Bill Cash said...

Very nicely stated.
We used to “trailer” our beach-cat back and forth from our home. This required we had to “rig” it every time we sailed which was 2-3 time a week. Back then we could pull into the parking lot, rig, get undressed and into our wet gear, and launch the boat in 30-45 minutes. Now that we keep it rigged all summer on a floating dock we only rig 2-3 times a year. Now just to rig the boat takes us an hour and a half to two hours.

Use it or loose it.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Billy Coffey said...

Agree whole-heartedly. I've never written so much so steadily (and with such a sense of purpose) since I started blogging. Clears up the head, and the heart.

Hope your talk goes well...

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i love it!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Ed G. said...

Good stuff here. Thanks for this quick little writing workshop.

I agree that blogging keeps the machine well oiled and, over time, provides an excellent repository of content. But here's my thing: The creative ease that I feel doing blog posts doesn't necessarily translate into me having an easier time when writing articles or books. Writing those non-blog pieces is still as difficult and tedious as ever.

Nevertheless, I wonder if it would be even more tedious if I didn't do the blogging thing? In any event, I look forward to a longer version of your thoughts here: "Blogging Is a First-Aid Kit." Sounds like a great article, or writers conference class, or maybe even a book!

5:13 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ruth... thanks, it went very well. :) And I like to remember that it was here where God in the Yard seeds were first found.

Flo... welcome to Seedlings. :)

Ted... I like that about blogging... indeed it helps me think and rethink.

Bill... nice analogy. And the good thing about using it is that it just gets better and better.

Billy... I wonder if you have done it long enough to recognize recurring themes? The talk went well, btw.

Nancy... I'm glad someone likes my silly little humor. :)

Ed G.... I wonder why. I wonder if it's because the process feels different or if it's because your emotional state is different depending on the project? Because one would think that writing is writing, after all... but perhaps not.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Sherri Watt said...

Just started writing myself, getting my feet wet with blogging...

God Bless! Found you on High Callings blog.

11:56 PM  
Blogger sojourner said...

isn't it grand that you received the e-mail and could actually "write" your talk rather than give it off the cuff? Side note: I've been taking note of the different verification words I encounter and how they sometimes fit into the context of the posts they are connected to. The verification word for this post is "bulogr" sounds like blogger right? :0)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

Good for writing and good for the heart. I never expected to receive such encouragment, help, and felloship through such a wonderful community of people.

Glad all went well for you.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

I find blogging really helpful to clarifying my own thoughts...which are often muddled.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Joe Blackmon said...

I've been expositing the book of Matthew on my blog for about 2 years now. Anyway, this past fall my pastor asked me to preach one Sunday evening. Since I'd been studying in Matthew I had material ready to go. I agree that blogging, in that instance, was a kind of first aid kit.

BTW, Romans is like one of my favorite books. Everything you ever wanted to know about salvation but were afraid to ask all in one place.

I'm really digging your blog. Thanks.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

So true.

Oh, and "administrative fall-through-the-crackishness"? I think I'll have to use that one somewhere.

8:39 PM  

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