Keeping your blog healthy and alive!

As a lover of blogs, many times I would find public blogs in the blogosphere that terminated abruptly without a proper closure from the authors. One week of unannounced hiatus from blogging could easily stretch to months, years and eventually become an evermore farewell. You will not pose much of a disturbance to the blogosphere if you are writing for yourself, keeping a private journaling blog set only for your viewing.

However, to sustain the practice of online spiritual journaling still requires discipline and consistency on your part as there is no one to monitor your progress and to cheer you from the sideline.

I think a good way to help you to upkeep and maintain your blog is to see your blog as a living organism. You have to keep it healthy and alive! Some blogs stay in a coma and get resurrected after years. Can you imagine waiting for a part 2 post of a story from a public blog that you are following regularly and finally getting it, after years?

Also, the consistency of the posts reflects whether the blog or her author is healthy or not. Has any problem occurred to the the “DNA” (focus, direction and scope) of the blog? Has any event in the author’s life disturbed her motivation and clear frame of mind to write? I had derived these from my own experiences when I failed to sustain a private interest blog and eventually had to leave it dormant (Fortunately, I had revamped and revived this blog during the course of writing Secret place blogging!).

Be consistent. Set from the start the minimum number of posts that you will post every week, every month, or unfortunately, every year, and stick to that. For a private journaling blog, it is still valuable to have a yearly posted one, though it will be difficult to write a quality yearly summary post relying on your memory without any notes taken throughout the year.

When I was creating this blog, Secret place blogging, I found it really difficult to make any progress because of procrastination and a mental block (Some call it the writer’s block). I found the secret to get things moving lies in getting myself to visit my blog (logging in with the user name and password). If I do get past doing that, then I will be able to get some work done at least on the unfinished blog and make some progress. When I continue to do that, momentum will build up, I will become more productive and will eventually complete the blog, which I did. Good job!

Give yourself ample preparation time for the following before you officially start your private journaling blog so nothing will disrupt the momentum once you have started your blog.

Settings, customization and design

Get all the settings, customization and design done step by step. You must love your blog to want to visit it regularly, so take time to construct it in a way that you will love to visit and write in it. The next page of this blog – Get started now – talks more about how to get these done.

Set the “DNA” (focus, direction and scope)

Set the “DNA” (focus, direction and scope) of the blog right at the start by writing the “About” page. A well-written “About” page clearly defines what you set out to achieve in your private blog and gives you the scope of the topics that you can write about. You will also define the minimum number of posts that you will post in your blog (goal) and set a dateline when you will conclude and end your first blog (preferably in a year’s time or less). Successfully concluding your first blog gives you the sense of accomplishment to continue blogging.

Also construct the items in your menu, other pages besides the default ones, and post categories. You can also write a few introductory posts to get used to writing before writing and posting the official first post.

If you need more examples on how to write an “About” page, you can read my previous post – My own journey of online spiritual journaling.

Hope the “About” pages have given you more ideas and clarity to construct yours.

The next page of this blog – Get started now – talks more about how to get all of these done.

Set the date or event for the official first post to launch

Set an official date or event that you will start your blog. A year from it will be your one year anniversary of blogging which you can celebrate.

The official first post on the start date is important to kick-start and propel you, to give you the necessary momentum to continue writing.

After posting the official first post, do not hold back any impulse to write and post in your blog having the fear that you will mess up your blog. The limit which you have set is for the minimum. You can have several posts a day. Keep posting to create a momentum to write and post regularly. Also re-read and edit the posts that you had written and posted every time you visit your blog before you write a new one. Make this a ritual to re-read, edit, write and post a new one.

Eventually you will get used to this ritual, and reach your dateline, assuming in one year’s time, in no time. Celebrate. Email and share with me.

If you do experience a writer’s block, which is rare, you can still write and post a short post consisting of one or two sentences to describe your emotions to keep the ritual going. A writer’s block doesn’t last, your blog will.

Keep and maintain your momentum. It is the life of your blog!

Are you ready to start your own online journaling blog now? Click on the page – Get started now. You may also re-read any of the contents about online journaling at this page – Why online journaling?

Write for yourself

There is a double connotation to the phrase – Write for yourself.

The first one – To start and continue to journal online only to please yourself.

The second – To let the only online audience that you are writing for be you.

On the first connotation, I think it is miserable to do, and to continue to do something, if we are not doing it for and to please ourselves. It is perfectly okay to discontinue something if it doesn’t go against your ethical values, therefore, do not feel guilty to stop online spiritual journaling if you realize that you are no longer doing it for yourself, meaning if you don’t think online spiritual journaling is your life’s passion.

A link to a well-written online article about practical ways to find your life’s passion and a career that you love written by Deena Varshavskaya, founder of Wanelo4 practical ways to find your life’s passion and a career that you love.

Having said that, many times we need to start something first, and continue to do it for a period of time to reach any conclusion if we are doing it for ourselves and if that activity is intrinsically rewarding.

After some time of sticking to it, if you do decide to exercise the first point that Deena has wrote, “When you know that it’s not working, quit fast”, do give a proper closure to your private blog and move on to something else.

Still on the topic of doing it for yourself, this is an extract from my previous post – My own journey of online spiritual journaling

After Place it in his hands and Faithfulness to the next step (total of about 4 years of spiritual journaling), I have become a loyal fan of blogging using WordPress when most people have switched to using another social media platform such as Instagram to express their thoughts and ideas. God has given me the grace to sustain through writing both of these blogs and in the process, I have fallen in love with blogging. I love writing and the satisfaction that I get from the activity itself rather than doing it for the cheer and approval from others.

After about 4 years of online spiritual journaling, I can safely conclude that it is my life’s passion.

It is only fair to evaluate if online spiritual journaling is your life’s passion by setting a small and achievable goal from the start and commit to doing it until a set dateline.

The goal that I have given myself over the years is to post only once a week in each of my spiritual journaling blogs, what I have termed as a weekly update. For my first private blog, Place it in his hands, I have chosen to start on Easter Sunday in April 2012 and to commit to journal weekly in it until the last week of the same year. I moved on to my next private blog, Faithfulness to the next step, which I continued for about 3 years from 2013 to 2015.

Do set for yourself an achievable goal and dateline when you start to journal online.

Now to elaborate on the second connotation – To let the only online audience that you are writing for be you.

I think the only way to be close to perfectly honest in your writing is to write as if no one else is reading it except God and you.

When you write in a private journaling blog, you can be more free and secure to express, not hiding certain details you are ashamed of to reveal and not inflating any details to impress when you write for others. Of course, even with a password, you can never guarantee that no one can access your private blog but the degree of freedom to express truthfully is significantly much more.

Jeff Goins, an author of many books, including the national best seller, The Art of work, has listed many more benefits of this point and the whys and the hows of doing it. The online articles related to this can be found in the links below –

  1. Why you should write first for yourself
  2. Three ways to write for yourself

If you are a Christian, your private journaling blog is your secret place with God where you develop a history with Him. Read more about this in this page – Spiritual significance of this blog.

“Your history with God is shaped in the quiet place, the still place.” – Bill Johnson.

At the time of writing this blog, I have 3 spiritual journaling blogs. All 3 of them are private blogs, two of them were completed. I am currently journaling weekly in my private blog, Loving faithfulness.

Through the making of this public blog, Secret place blogging, I wish to share my love of online spiritual journaling and hope that you will benefit from this practice as much as I have through the years.

Read the next post – Keeping your blog healthy and alive! Or go back to the page – Why online spiritual journaling?

Traditional journaling versus Online journaling

There are many benefits to keeping a journal, no matter you do it the traditional way, using a pen and a book; Or do it online through blogging. This post compares traditional journaling and online journaling.

Privacy and security

Although there is a password safeguard when you keep a private online journal, it is definitely safer to journal in a book and lock it up somewhere than to keep your records online.

Despite having a password to your blog you can never guarantee that no one can access it – The system manager of the website content management system, any domestic or international intelligence or security organizations, and unfortunately, hackers.

“Do you confess to a priest if you have murdered someone or reveal to him where do you keep your family heirloom?”

The level of security should be sufficient for most people writing their spiritual reflections and experiences. If you do decide to start journaling online, still be selective what you write inside it.

Access and organization

I find this is the greatest advantage of online journaling over traditional journaling.

You can write and edit your posts in your online journal everywhere you go when you have a computer and internet access and you don’t risk losing your only copy of records when you are traveling. However, do be cautious if you are using someone’s else computer (It may be infected with a Trojan horse to steal your password).

It is easier to find and refer to a past record of your log in an online journal than a journal book by the help of the widgets such as the Search Widget, Calendar Widget, and Archieves Widget. You can do away with the trouble of flipping of the pages to find something by an easy click of the mouse.

Attachments and links

This is another great advantage of online journaling over traditional journaling.

Digital pictures can be attached to your online journal without the fear of them falling out which is what you are faced with when you attach any “real”pictures to your journal book. You can even attach links to videos and websites to relate to what you are writing in your online journal.

If you are an artist and do a lot of rough illustrations in your journal book, you may consider switching to an online journal by scanning your illustrations or taking digital photographs of them before uploading these images on to your online journal.

These are a few points for sharing. No matter you choose to journal the traditional way or online, the most important thing is that you do it the way that suits you most, the way that you like most, so that you may sustain in doing it.

Bottom line, you are doing this for yourself, so choose whatever way you like best to journal. Read the next post – Write for yourself – Or go back to the page – Why online spiritual journaling?

My own journey of online spiritual journaling

Every spiritual journaling blog records a season of your life. At the time of writing this blog, I have 3 spiritual journaling blogs. Two of them were completed.

I started online spiritual journaling on Easter Sunday, 8 April 2012. I remembered I was at a low point in my life when I built my first blog, Place it in his hands. This is what I wrote in the “About” page of the blog –

After reading John 6:8-13, which recorded the well-known miracle of the feeding of the 5000 by Jesus, I named this blog – Place it in his hands.

I am reminded that Jesus can use every possession, talent, or effort, regardless of how little it may be, and turn it into a miracle if I am going to place it in his hands. This blog is an encouragement to be faithful in small things (Luke 16:10) and see God turns them into greater things.

One of the small things is to spend time with God, through reading His word and prayers. I long to do this every morning, and be led by Him to do other activities during the rest of the day.

I am learning to be disciplined in other things also – like eating raw asparagus and blogging. I will like to share more of these things in this blog in the future.

At the end of this year, I want to evaluate my faithfulness in doing these things.

I had written and posted in this private blog for at least once a week, what I termed as a weekly update. Eventually, Place it in his hands concluded with 38 weekly updates and a total of 109 posts.

I started the 39th weekly update in my next blog, Faithfulness to the next step, on January 6, 2013.

This is what I wrote in the “About” page of the blog –

Faithfulness to the next step is my spiritual journal to record my walk with God from 2013 to 2015. It is the continuation of my previous blog, Place it in his hands, which was written in 2012. It is creating my own history with God like what Pastor Bill Johnson has said.

Faithfulness to the next step concluded with a total of 492 blog posts, and contained weekly updates from Week 39 to Week 194.

Finally, from Week 195 onwards, I continue to post in my current blog, Loving Faithfulness.

This is what I wrote in the “About” page of the blog –

Loving Faithfulness is my third spiritual journal that is intended to record my journey as a disciple of Jesus from 2016 into a decade – Year 2025. A lot of focus of Loving Faithfulness will be on discipleship, prayer and thanksgiving.

After Place it in his hands and Faithfulness to the next step (total of about 4 years of spiritual journaling), I have become a loyal fan of blogging using WordPress when most people have switched to using another social media platform such as Instagram to express their thoughts and ideas. God has given me the grace to sustain through writing both of these blogs and in the process, I have fallen in love with blogging. I love writing and the satisfaction that I get from the activity itself rather than doing it for the cheer and approval from others.

I have decided that Loving Faithfulness will focus inwardly on prayers and spiritual reflections and outwardly on spiritual revelations to edify (using art to communicate). Preferably, I hope to blog two posts per week, though the minimum commitment for spiritual journaling I have already set at one blog post a week.

The theme color for Loving Faithfulness, which I did not intentionally choose, is green. Green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. These are all the positives that I want for myself in the next 10 years.

I’ll end off this About page with a quote by Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China –

“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.”

Most of the contents in this post are extracts from what I had written in the “About” pages in my spiritual journaling blogs. Writing a good “About” page is crucial in setting a direction and focus for your blog and for future references.

Now you have an idea of what spiritual journaling is about.

Before you start your own journey of spiritual journaling, you may want to read the next post – Traditional journaling versus Online journaling – Or you may go back to the page – Why online spiritual journaling? – to access to other contents.

What is spiritual journaling?

Journaling is basically the activity whereby you record your experiences, ideas or reflections regularly for private use.

People journal, or keep a record, about many things – The food that they eat; The places and countries they traveled to; And even research findings that are published as periodicals such as the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

This blog, Secret place blogging, is about journaling, but more specifically spiritual journaling. The word, spiritual, as an adjective is defined as relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things; Or relating to religion or religious belief.

To elaborate, if your blog is a record of the places you have traveled to – You may choose to compile pictures and itineraries with little foot notes; Or you can record what these places mean to you and how you are feeling when you are at this particular city, attached with a picture. The latter is more of a spiritual undertaking. The word spiritual becomes comprehensible and applicable to journaling when we take into account that it involves the human spirit or soul other than just a projection of the material or physical thing.

Christians spend time in prayer, bible reading and meditations, what they termed as Quiet time. Through Spiritual journaling, Christians record down their experiences and reflections during their Quiet time sessions. In the future, when they re-read their blog, they can be reminded of their Walk with God, or the journey that they had traveled with God, and reminisce how He had intervened in their lives.

As a Christian, I may relate to my faith when giving examples.

You may click on – My own journey of online spiritual journaling – to read next or go back to the page – Why online spiritual journaling?