It has been almost five years since I started blogging. Here is what I have learned.

1. Loneliness because of the “Blog Lobe”

This one is a joke with a bit of truth. My friends are sometimes scared to talk to me because they know that in the back of my mind there is a new “Blog Lobe” section of my brain. It is there . . . I promise. You can do an MRI and see it. I will upload pics later and blog on it. The blog lobe is that part of the brain that is unique to bloggers that is perpetually and involuntarily writing a blog out of every circumstance and conversation. I have a permanent disclaimer tattooed to my forehead that says, “Warning: this conversation has a very good chance of turning into a blog. Proceed at your own risk.” My closest friends just don’t want to talk to me anymore. My pastor is always scared about what I am going to broadcast about his sermon. My wife…well…Ahem. Moving on.

2. Count the cost: It takes a lot of time. . . a lot of time.

A blog can eat your lunch. To get one started, you really need to post often. If you are an original content type of blog, like this blog (not simply pointing people to others’ content) and you want the content to be meaningful and good (don’t we all?), it takes a big commitment of time that most people don’t have. Count the cost here.

3. Blogging provides some good accountability or “The Angel on Your Shoulder

If you are a teacher, you know that it is pretty easy to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Those who are being taught normally give you the benefit of the doubt that you know what you are talking about. In a small audience of 10 or 20, you can scope out how smart others are and then adjust accordingly. If most are uneducated in the topic of discussion, you can get away with quite a bit. Believe me, I know. A blog—this blog—has really helped to keep me honest and careful in every venue. I know that there are people out there in the blog world that know what they are talking about. I can count on the fact that there will be some who read my posts who know more than I do about the subject. I know that they will publicly give me a whipping if I try to pull rank. You never know who is going to show up.

There are four solutions for this:

a) Don’t allow comments on your blog. I don’t ever suggest this since it is an immediate signal that will communicate to some that you are not confident enough to be challenged.

b) Hope that you never gain much of an audience. That is pretty easy to pull off since there are millions of blogs out there and it is easy to never get noticed.

c) Write a traditional blog where it is merely your thoughts and opinions, not the proliferation of ideas. Then it does not really matter what you say.

d) Take your topic very seriously and be very careful. But then you must consider again #2.

This accountability is a good thing.

4. Be ready to pull out your hair (if you have any) or “The Devil on Your Shoulder”

Since I don’t suggest turning off your comments, you need to be ready for the troublemakers who are only there to challenge you in public. I have a lot of those. It is hard enough to find time to keep up with the blogging, but having to respond to every challenge is even harder. Here is what I do: I delete every comment that makes me look bad. I rely on my audience to be able to give an answer. If that doesn’t work, considering that less than 10 percent of blog readers even read the comments, I evaluate whether it is a serious and valuable challenge and whether a response will benefit the audience. Also, I have built a culture where most of my readers know that I rarely engage in posts that are more than two days old. It is hard enough to get me to comment on the post of the day!! (As a side note: I normally do read about 10% of the comments).

5. Blogs perpetuate their own kind (but this does not make you cool)

This can be a great curse, as people who should not be teaching can, if done “right,” gain an audience who will listen. Let me repeat this: anyone can gain an audience if they know what they are doing. But just having an audience does not mean that you should be writing. Some of the biggest blogs, like some of the biggest churches, should not be allowed to exist. I have learned that the size of a blog audience does not necessarily mean that you are writing in a way that glorifies God. I could give some examples, but see #3.

6. There is a temptation to post only to gain an audience, my foolish friend

And then there’s THAT. Bloggers want an audience. Why else would we be blogging? Controversial posts will always attract the most people. Once you have one of those posts that everyone is linking to, you feel the pressure to do the same with the next, and the next, and the next. When the subsequent blogs do not gain the same attention, you go into “blogger depression.” This is not good; however (ahem), there are doctors who will prescribe a specific anti-blogger-depressant for this.

In reality, there is nothing wrong with controversial posts here and there. Simply space them out over time. Don’t worry about how big the audience is. Spend your time writing about what you are really interested in and gifted to write about. The audience will come and go—and grow—over time. Just because people don’t link to it does not mean it is not valuable.

(please link to this blog post)

7. Writers block for bloggers

Blog about blogging.

8. Bloggers networking (straight from hell)

This is the underground necessity of blogging that most people who don’t blog don’t know about. You should find a way to network with other bloggers. A good first step is to link to them here and there in your posts. Having them in your blogroll used to be significant, but not anymore. Blogrolls don’t count in blog rankings. You have to link to them in your post. Pay special attention to the big bloggers who check where all the links are coming from. Your hopes are that they will one day link back to you.

In truth, I am not good at this at all. But I do have a lot of bloggers whom I really do consider friends. The network creates a sense of healthy obligation to opine to their needs. But you need to be wise and strategic about this: no blog can ever expect to grow without networking, but don’t let the networking dictate the content of your posts. It can be rather obvious and distracting.

9. Create a footprint, my son

As I mentioned before, you need to blog according to your area of giftedness. Create themes and blog series based on the areas that are unique to your blog. Keep them coming and allow people to get familiar with them. I have been doing a series that I will probably contribute to forever about dealing with my depression. People know what to expect on my blog for the most part. This “footprint” creates a needed and welcome sense of familiarity.

10. Take off the mask

It is a blog. Respect the venue and show a bit of you. Be authentic, but don’t slobber. Let people into your life, but not in every post. If you gain an audience, it is because people are attracted to you, not just to what you are saying. Let people know about your struggles, when your dog died, and when you are not so faithful to the ideals of your posts. This will draw people in and help you keep your audience. It will let people know what they need to know…that you are one of them.

Oh, there is one more thing that, out of necessity, did not make the list. Create lists of ten and put it in the title as a “Top Ten.” People love to read top tens (but not top elevens).

…and worrying about speling and grammer is overreighted. Ok, I done now.

In the end, like I said, I started blogging five years ago this month. Though I do it more for me than anyone, I’ll be honest: I wouldn’t be doing it without you. I do appreciate all of you who have supported this blog for the last five years. Thank you.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    14 replies to "What I Have Learned About Blogging Five Years Later"

    • Stephanie Blake

      Thanks for this blog, Michael. I started following your blog after my husband referred me to it. He said, “Here is one that has something to say.” He was right and I appreciate your faithfulness to your blog readers.

      I usually don’t comment on blogs I read and have discovered that is the norm. I read somewhere that more than 90% of blog readers never comment. However, I am leaving a comment on this one because a few weeks ago I started a blog of my own (again, at my husband’s suggestion). I so agree with what you said in this one. I am always thinking about what to put in my blog. However, I have discovered that is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. It is keeping me focused.

      Again, thanks for yours and your consistency in delivering a good blog.

    • […] The second by Michael – The Theological Juggernaut ® – Patton, reflecting on 5 years of blogging experience. […]

    • Dave

      I find that the “blog-lobe” is very closely related to the preacher’s “sermon-lobe” and the Bible study leader’s “application-lobe.”

      This week I’ve been asked to step up from my normal Bible study leading and preach. I’ve found that even the process of planning my sermon has become fodder for the sermon itself.

    • Undergroundpewster

      What about blogger’s vacations?
      Should they or shouldn’t they blog while on vacation?
      Should they take time away from the blog for their spiritual health?

    • Ed Kratz

      Ah what about #11 – Invite other bloggers to help with your efforts and contribute 😉

      And a hearty thank you for allowing me to be part of it.

    • Ed Kratz

      Great post Michael, unusually insightful. 😉 You know I love you brother.

      Can’t wait for you to get in the office, I have an idea for a post I want to run by you!

      appreciate you,

    • Seth R.

      You really do have to brutally honest with yourself about why you write content, and how often you are likely to. Otherwise you’ll start a blog, and burn out after two months.

      Secondly, you need to be tough – to put it bluntly. Now if you’re just blogging about your home recipes, among family and friends, that’s fine. Anyone can do that.

      But theology is a controversial topic, and if you want to wade into that, you have to be thick-skinned. Otherwise you just won’t be able to take the sort of abuse that gets thrown your way. I’ve been ridiculed, had profanity thrown at me, been condemned to hell, had my wife insulted, all sorts of aspersions on my personal character, had my treasured beliefs mercilessly mocked, and I even had one guy threaten me with physical violence if we ever met (I’ve heard these kind of threats can be much worse for controversial or visible female bloggers).

      If you aren’t ready for that, don’t do it. Or at least severely limit your ambitions.

    • Rick


      People like your charts.

    • Steve Martin

      Good comments, Seth.

      I agree.

    • Don Fisher

      I really enjoy your blog but quite honestly because it is so good it will always attractive the “devil’s advocate” where no matter what you write and how well it is, there are those who troll and seek to undermine what you do. I love You Tube but absolutely hate the comments section. Same with the blog here, I enjoy the content of it rather then reading some of the silliness in that commenters make (some and not all of it is silly comments).

    • Cortney Whiting

      Michael, Thank you for writing this particular blog on this particular day. I’ve just begun blogging since I’ve graduated DTS. I feel this is the area the Lord is leading me, but I really have no experience and feel quite inadequate. I found your blog to be inspiring and uplifting. I subscribe to Parchment and Pen and always enjoy the discussions. God bless the work you are doing!

    • Paul Bruggink

      On the subject of “worrying about speling and grammer,” one of the best Comments I ever saw on Facebook was in response to Person B, who was pointing out a spelling error by Person A. Person C (former Army Special Forces) commented: “Spelling is highly overrated. It is sight alignment, breathing, and trigger squeeze, resulting in tighter shot groups that counts.”

      Of the blogs that I follow, I think that your blog is one of the three most interesting and helpful (even if you have trouble describing the various flavors of theistic evolution) .

    • […] Patton lists 10 things learned in 5 years of […]

    • newenglandsun

      “…and worrying about speling and grammer is overreighted. Ok, I done now.”
      Meant to say – “I’m done now.”

      I spelled “slavery” “slaver” once.

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