THINK Before You Publish
Every January I evaluate my blog and the direction of my writing. Am I where I want to be? Headed where I want to go? This year I discovered a distinct lack of courage. I play it safe too often. Since then I’ve discovered something I should have known all along: hot topics sell.
(Brilliant – right? I know. I’m a genius.)
The more controversial I am, the more hits I get. (Blog posts hits, not physical blows, though those sometimes come, too.) Traffic and reader interaction increase. It’s great! But it can lead to a very slippery slope.
In July I wrote a piece about 50 Shades of Grey that, for me, went viral. In less than twenty-four hours, that post surpassed all records for my six-year-old blog. The next day it did it again. And then again. More hits, more shares, more comments than anything else I’ve ever written. My husband and I watched this, a bit stunned. He turned to me and asked: “What are you going to write next?”
It’s scary. Yes, I would love to keep that kind of readership and interest, but how? I cannot possibly maintain momentum like that, can I? It’s a lot of pressure. The pressure tempts me to seek controversy, to push limits just for the sake of pushing. I don’t want to be too safe, but I also don’t want to be careless.
I believe that as Christians we should engage culture. That is not synonymous with entertaining shock value. Our words should be purposeful, premeditated. Of course, writing is often part of processing. I’m sure many of you need to just “get it out” to know where you stand. I’m like that. But I encourage you (and me!) to get it out in private and think before we publish.
The theme of our last school year was THINK. The challenge presented to the kids also applies to us as writers.
T = Is it true?
H = Is it helpful?
I = Is it inspiring?
N = Is it necessary?
K = Is it kind?
Consider these things before you publish that post, submit that article or leave that comment. Yes, shock sells, but those skyrocketing numbers can plummet just as quickly if we tackle social issues the wrong way.