Archives For Blogging

babies happy cryingThis week is the 1 year anniversary of the Second Chair Leadership blog. I recently saw the statistic that 80% of blogs go silent within the first year, so I am happy SCL is in the surviving 20%. Thank you to the 1,000 unique visitors who stop-by to read, share and comment each month.

At a pace of more than two posts per week, I have written 60,000 words in the form of 120 blog posts over the past year. During that time I have ridden the roller coaster of writer’s emotions. Here are the emotional stages I have experienced as a first year blogger plus a little take-away I’ve learned from each one.

Stage 1: I have something to say…

For two years, before I published my first blog post, I used a system of note taking that allowed me to capture fleeting thoughts for potential posts. Because of this “note taking incubator” I felt I had something to say beyond momentary thoughts of inspiration.

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Cooking showMy kids love Food Network shows like Chopped, Iron Chef and Good Eats. Several times my wife and I have been roped into being judges for an at-home episode of Chopped. We have four kids (ages 16 to 9) and Chopped starts with four chefs, so it works.

It gets quite comical since we don’t have four kitchens. The flour is flying, wisks are turning and I usually narrate like Alton Brown on the side. A bit of warning, do not try this at home unless you are ready to do some serious clean-up.

If you’re thinking how hard it would be to “chop” one of your own kids, well it’s not after eating some of their culinary creations. Plus you get to compliment them before putting them on the “chopping block” with phrases like, “Your peanut butter pickles were robust in flavor, but I just felt they needed more cayenne pepper.”

From judging my kids “Good Eats” I’ve discovered 5 ways blogging is like a cooking show:

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Using EvernoteEvernote is a “productivity workbench.” For over a year the FREE version of Evernote has been my number one productivity tool. When it comes to collecting, managing and sharing content Evernote works seamlessly.

Here are 3 ways I currently use Evernote:

1. Blog Post Incubator

I mostly write about social media, productivity and leadership on my blog. I rarely get ideas for blogging while reading books on these subjects even though I read them. I usually get blogging ideas while I am engaged in everyday activities.

I keep a file in Evernote called “2nd Chair Blog Thoughts.” Whenever I get a thought that I think could develop into a future blog post, I start a new note in this file. I give the note a potential title and then jot down a few sentences about the blog idea. I try to capture enough of my thoughts so that later when I read the note I will remember what I was thinking. In this way Evernote serves as a blog post incubator to hold my thoughts until I can cultivate them into full blown posts.

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hands typingAs a consultant, I often get asked by pastors, “Should I blog?” My go to answer is that blogging will increase your social media traffic by 55% on average. However, blogging makes sense for pastors far beyond just growing their following on twitter.

Conversation
Church leaders often interact with people in a “touch and go” manner. Hospital visits, funerals, Sunday sermons, counseling sessions are all environments with a predetermined focus. While genuine connection does happen in these environments, it is connection born out of need. Think of the ER physician with a good bedside manner who connects well with patients.

Blogging allows church leaders to enter a voluntary conversation, which is a connection born out of choice. When people leave their comments they do so at their own discretion, and pastors are able to listen without the pressure of delivering an “expert” opinion. If pastor’s hope to have influence with current generations they have to be open to conversational engagement, not just preaching engagement. Lolly Daskal offers good advice when she tweets, “Stop using your leadership as a monologue and start engaging in a dialogue.”

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