Blog Coaching Update
Hi amazing friends! I hope you had a phenomenal weekend and that you are as excited as I am about today being Monday. Yep, I love Mondays. They are a beautiful blank canvas…absolutely anything is possible this week. Anything. If that’s not a thrilling thought, I don’t know what is.
On Friday, I announced a new Blog Plan Coaching program that I’m offering…..and on Friday all the spots sold out! I love that you all are so motivated to learn and grow as bloggers. I’ve had several emails asking if I’ll be offering this again and the short answer is, I’m not sure.
I’d definitely love to, but I want to see how this first round goes first. If it goes well, I’ll probably open up another session in November. If you want to be one of the first to be notified, just pop your info in the box below.
I introduced you to Crystal a few months ago. She is kind of amazing and you’ll be seeing more of her around here.
Her official title is Content Manager and she arranges all our interviews and will be writing a bit more as well. I know you’ll love getting to know her and to kick things off she is introducing the fabulous Laura Krokos today. Enjoy!
A Word From Crystal
I had the honor of meeting Laura this year at the Declare Conference, and just love her heart for serving others. Not only has she grown an incredible platform around the premise of using social media for good, she is a successful author who just released “A Devotional Journey Through Judges” (in paperback and Kindle) as well as “Missional Life; A Practical Guide for Living in Light of Eternity” (available in paperback, Kindle, or as a free Kindle or PDF download for their subscribers). We’re excited to have Laura here today to kick off our new weekly format – we know you’ll love learning from her!
1.Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
I have been married for 11 years and have 4 kiddos (6, 5, 2 and 6 months). My oldest boys are adopted and have incredible stories of God showing off. Then after 8 years of unexplained infertility we got pregnant – twice.
My husband and I are missionaries to college students in Denver. Our ministry has tripled in size over the last couple years so we are moving into more of a staff training and development type role.
I love teaching God’s Word but having 4 kiddos and a women’s ministry to lead, my time is very limited. I found writing is one of the most effective things I can do with my time. I’ve written an in-depth 12 week Bible study on First Samuel, a devotional on Judges and co-authored a book on using social media for the glory of God with Angi Pratt – and I have three more books in the works.
I also started, host and blog at a contributor blog, MissionalWomen.com which exists to help women live on mission for the glory of God.
2. Tell us your blogging story.
I wish I had a super start at blogging but reality is my blogging journey began with failure. My first blog (Sufficient Grace) was birthed in 2007 or 2008(?) out of my need to teach and share God’s Word. My boys were little and I had less time and opportunity to teach so I felt like I was going to explode. I heard about blogging but was clueless about the entire blog world out there. I started a blog and thought people would miraculously find and flock to what I wrote. Oh my!
Well, one day I wrote about how after starting the ministry in Ephesians, Paul didn’t just leave the baby Christians there alone. Not a particularly controversial topic right? Well, my ministry director at the time sat me down and pulled out my post she had printed off and began to tell me why what I had written was wrong for so many reasons. I was crushed, and fuming mad. Out of spite I went home and deleted my blog.
In 2010 I was again just about to burst at the seams because I longed to teach God’s Word but my opportunities weren’t matching my output. So I started my second blog, Beholding Glory. This time I was determined to be a good steward and get wisdom. I wanted to actually try to glorify God the best I could by growing my readership. Not getting followers for followers sake, as if that was the end goal, but I was going to put effort into growing my readership as a means to the end goal of glorifying God.
One day I was asking the Lord what He wanted to talk about and Beholding Glory came to mind along with a lot of questions. Was it just a spiritual activity or really something rooted in faith? If God were to have more control of it, would it look different? And if so would I be able to let go? As my time with the Lord went on, He showed me there was some changes He wanted to make. Things I never expected yet totally makes sense with how He works in my life.
Remember in school when you had to do group projects? I really really did not like those. All my insecurities came out and I clammed up. I grew up as a very independent child and could just not understand why in the world a teacher would make you do school work with other people.
Well, He led me to keep the “it’s all about the glory of God” focus but add an emphasis on living on mission and led me to bring on contributor writers. Isn’t that just like God! Bringing me back once again to my need to be part of a team.
So in December 2012 after inviting around 20 godly women who actively live out and talk about the mission onboard, I launched Missional Women.
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
The journey of blogging itself has taught me a lot. Here’s a few key things:
1. Be willing to flex in the Lords hands. I can’t think of a time when the Lord kept things the same forever. With Him the process is just as valuable as the end result. So keep evaluating and reflecting with Him on your blog’s effectiveness.
2. Get wisdom. Just as the stewards given the talents in Matthew 25 were expected to not bury their talent, the Lord desires we steward well the blog He’s entrusted to us. We have incredible potential to glorify God in influential ways through blogging (an influence no other generation has been able to have) and He wants us to put effort into maximizing it. It has helped me to subscribe to wise bloggers, ask questions from those we have more experience and read a lot.
3. Reminding myself often it’s not about me. I began blogging out of a felt need to teach God’s Word. And though my desire was good, it can’t be the end goal. Glorifying God, not my desire to teach has to be the end goal or else I act as though the gospel revolves around me instead of Jesus. So keeping our eyes on our purpose of glorifying God (aka making His character known/knowing God and making Him known), we then have to think of ourselves as servants to our readers. Although we can technically write whatever we want to write, not all things are beneficial.
4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?
Spending time with the Lord and relying on His strength is really the main thing that keeps me going. Blogging is not something my husband really gets so it’s hard for Him to value it the same as I do. If I didn’t sense the Lord was the One leading me I would have given up a long time ago. And vision leaks. So I need to be letting the Lord continually give me vision for why my blog is eternally valuable to keep me pressing through when it feels overwhelming.
Community with others has helped me keep going. Talking with other bloggers and talking about Missional Women with other people has really encouraged me. We have a Facebook group for the missional women contributors and I am so encouraged by their faith, prayers and enthusiasm.
Laura’s Favorite Gadgets & Apps
1. What blog platform do you use?
Weebly and I really, really love it! I am really just not a techie person but it makes everything so super easy.
2. What are your most useful computer/web apps?
- Picmonkey and Scribd for making and distributing printables and memes.
- “Grab My Button” code generator is super helpful in building buttons for things.
3. What are your most useful phone/tablet apps?
Oh my – how to narrow it down?
Ok, I guess my favorites per category.
- Photography- InstaQuote, Camera+, A+Signature and Afterlight are my favorite. (WordFoto, Over and Pic Stitch are pretty cool too)
- Ministry- The Story, God Tools, Next Steps, JP Unreached, JesusFilm, Bible StudyTools and Bible 360
- Educational for Kids-BugsBubbles, Play123, GazziliScience, 3D Puzzle, MontkeyMath, Little Writer, Music Sparkle and Butterfly Math
- Reading- Kindle (free), iBooks (to have pdfs saved all together)
- I also use CalenGoo (so I have my husbands, staff teams and my calendar all in one.
On Social Media and Writing
1. How do you keep social media from running your life? Is it a struggle for you? Any social media management tips?
It helps me to think of social media as a ministry tool. When I think of it as a means to glorify God and encourage others, I don’t seem to waste time as much. If I find I’m spending too much time using Facebook more for my own fulfillment (finding approval, acceptance, adoration etc) rather than using it to glorify God, that’s an indicator for me to get right with God. The heart is really the measure for me of where I’m at with social media, not necessarily how much time I spend on it. Because reality is, I can spend just a little time on it with a heart and motive very different than what the Lord wants. Or I can be on it more than other people would think to be good (which probably happens since being on Facebook and ministering to students on it is part of my job description) but my heart is in the right place. Ya know?
“The heart is really the measure for me of where I’m at with social media, not necessarily how much time I spend on it.” –> Click to Tweet!
2. What is your writing process? When do you write? How long does it take you to create a post?
I usually write after the kids are in bed and spend a couple hours either writing (posts, ebooks, Bible studies etc), planning, making printables or formatting one of the writer’s posts. As far as the posts I write, it usually doesn’t take me that long because it comes from something I’ve wrestled through or taught or something I’m passionate about. So I guess it takes me about 15-30 minutes to actually write a post and then maybe 10-15 to format it and add all the little extra stuff (like pictures, tweetables, pin its, etc).
3. Do you have a blogging mentor or accountability group (formal or informal)? How have you created and fostered those relationships?
I don’t have an official blogging mentor (though I’ve thought about asking someone but got too scared so I didn’t) but I consistently watch a few ladies (and some contributor sites like Vergenetwork.org, RelevantMagazine.com and TheGospelCoalition.org) to learn from them. I also try to keep a learning eye out when I visit a new website or blog, usually taking note to what I like and why.
Awhile back I started a mastermind group, and then when I switched from Beholding Glory to Missional Women, I invited all of those ladies to be on the team. Now we have the Missional Women contributors Facebook group, which is pretty encouraging group.
4. What is the best blogging advice you have received? (OR) What is the best blogging advice you could give?
I think of a few things like, “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” and “call in reinforcements/ask for help” when there’s a pile of discouraging comments and you feel like no one has your back, being real with your strengths and weaknesses, and casting vision of “why” just as much as the “how”.
But I think the biggest one is to treat people like they are unique and loved by the Lord and just as valuable as you. I think this can practically look like commenting on other blogs in an encouraging way, not bad mouthing other people who you disagree with, promoting others, etc. The world will know Jesus is Lord by our love (unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good) for each other (not by our agreeing 100% on everything).
I still have a lot to learn and by no means have it all figured out. And just so I don’t come off as though I think I have it all figured out, here are some of my insecurities and weaknesses.
- A lot of times I wish I could be way more funny and light-hearted.
- I have a horrible memory and find it hard to remember faces and names let alone blogs and who writes where. I’m always afraid of offending someone because I can’t remember their blog.
- I have a super hard time with small talk and knowing what to say on the spot so commenting is pretty hard for me.
There ya have it, a work in progress, clinging to the blood of Jesus.
Don’t you just love Laura’s heart? Don’t forget to come back Wednesday for our new weekly podcast!
Q & A with Laura Krokos
What questions do you have about blogging for Laura Krokos? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!