Updated: Challenging the Aspect of Consistent Blogging

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Several weeks ago, I stared at my blog wondering what to write. I had mentioned that I would publish twice a month or alternate weeks. Why? I asked myself. To be consistent, of course. Why do I need to be consistent? At that moment, I challenged the aspect of blogging consistently and discussed it with a blogger friend, Lisa.

I asked her, why do bloggers post consistently? Of course, we both knew the obvious answer was to gain followers. But was this my intention? Nope.

Of course, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. I however didn’t want to vomit content for the sake of consistency because I wanted to write properly for Christ. To clarify my meaning, there’s nothing wrong in posting consistency. The important aspect lies in the purpose.

What’s my intention to blog?


I recalled the moment I created this blog. Actually, I created it on Blogger during high school. It had the similar “Train” concept. I wrote book reviews and rambled about my life. However, I had no vision or long-term goals for it, and it wasn’t His timing for me to blog. I closed it.

Once I started writing seriously, His time for me to blog came. Thus, I created it again using WordPress instead. I wrote about the Conductor’s (Christ) guidance in my writing journey, and what I had learned from Him.

My intention was to share my lessons with other writers. To tell them that this writing journey can be lonely and difficult, but the Conductor is with them every word of the way.


Gradually, this blog changed to include the TCK email ministry, and my writing style changed. Despite those, my purpose remained the same: to write what the Conductor taught me during my personal journey with Him, so that He would use it to reach people.

To reach these readers included having followers or subscribers; thus, I incorporated a form of consistency. I initially posted once every week. (Keep in mind that the number of readers is not my primary goal.) However, my writing projects increased and I struggled to maintain quality content while risking myself to a burnout.

So, I asked Lisa on which she values more:

Consistency or Quality


We both agreed that to us, quality is more important than consistency. I thought of an example of a particular blogger who doesn’t post often, yet I’m still subscribed to her because her articles are high-quality to me. Specifically, they are truth-filled, and they draw me closer to my Lord.

At the same time, yes, it’s possible to publish quality posts while being consistent. But this might not work for everyone, well, it didn’t work for me at least. I could even challenge the aspect of every writer or author needing a blog. Blogging itself is not suitable for everyone; however, let’s not chug off the track, Clarissa.

After discussing with my friend, I prayed about it. Then I decided to post as and when God leads me to it instead of sticking to fixed dates. (To clarify again, I’m not saying that He did not guide me to post each week. I did not have much work back then.) At the same time, I won’t post inconsistently in a way that I publish content once every three to four months.

Rather, I set a general target of one to two posts a month. So far, I’m less overwhelmed than before, and perhaps, just perhaps, I’m improving in quality. But we shall see as I continue. Ultimately, the most important thing is that God is building it, and not I (Psalm 127:1). And that focusing on the number of readers does not take His place in my life because

being close to Him and loving Him is my goal.


How about you, my friend: is blogging consistently working out for you? Are you blogging to increase the numbers of followers or because you love your Lord? And is He building your house?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. You can peek into Lisa’s blog here.

P.P.S. Sarah who wrote the article on productivity also has a Part 2 of it! I highly recommend you to read it because it’s a very important lesson for all of us: Part 2: Has Productivity Become Your Idol? And if you miss Part 1, here it is: Productivity from a Biblical Perspective.

P.P.P.S. Also, should I write an article challenging the aspect of every writer/author needing a blog? Just kidding! =P



~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.

Sorting My Priorities to be Priorities Again

Journal, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

It seems that many people are swamped with work these days. Be it school or normal career work. As for me, I could not escape my own mountain of writing projects. I’ve always wanted to write a post on priorities; however, the right time for it didn’t come until recently.

A few months ago, I was going through a difficulty, and subsequently took a break from my own writing. After God brought me through my challenge, He eased me back to writing. Weeks later, I found myself buried in the mountain pile. Before I completely lost myself in it, He reminded me that writing should be treated as a job, instead of something that threatens to take His place and permeate every aspect of my life. I wanted to slap myself. How could I forget that?

And a few weeks ago, I told my mother I would do a certain project after I completed a writing task. She replied,

“Your work is never-ending.”

She was right. Just like secular work, my writing doesn’t “ends”. So why was I overwhelmed with it?

The problem lies with my priorities.

It was important that I settle this as soon as possible because they surround my personal walk with the Lord. I prayed, reflected on my priorities, and arranged them by macro (the big picture) and micro (within writing). My list of macro priorities showed what should be most important in my life.

Macro Priorities:

1. God

2. Family

3. Friends and people

4. Work (secular and writing)


I needed to ensure that God is always first in every aspect, that I’m protecting my quiet time with Him, and that I’m trusting everything into His hands. As a result, everything else naturally fell in their place. Then I asked Him to sort out my micro priorities within writing. He then reminded me of the list I wrote right after my difficulty.

Micro Priorities:

1. Letters for Book F

1. Fiction writing once letters for Book F are completed

2. TCK Ministry and blogging

3. Editing lessons, reading to give feedback, and guest writing


My problem was that my mind shifted from Him, and was fixated in completing my projects that they all became equally important. Before they could consume me, I surrendered them to Him, returned to the list He intended, and gave each moment to Him.

I reminded myself, priorities are something that I need to make a conscious effort to trust the Lord with each day. I shouldn’t have taken them to my own hands and assume I could handle them by my own strength. The truth is, I can’t because I’m not perfect. But Jesus Christ is, and I have His Spirit with me.

As days passed, I did not strictly follow the writing list because I was sticking to His leading. At times, He wanted me to rest from my letters and work on a blog article, or give feedback to another writer. Other times, He wanted me to pause from writing and spend time with my family and friends. And sometimes, He wanted me to encourage someone who needed it.

The writing list that He sorted became a reference for me when I have no clue on what to do next. I also found that ultimately, everything on my lists surrounded Him. And currently, I’m not overwhelmed by life anymore because

Christ is in the center of it.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. A friend of mine wrote an article on productivity which encouraged me greatly. It is not what you might expect it to be. I expected it partly because I read several of her writings before. Anyhoo, you can read it here if you’re interested.

P.P.S. I’ve started a small section called Snippets of Truth. A snippet is a bite of the Bible, a simple lesson which you can read from the homepage. It’s also open for anyone who wants to contribute. If you’re interested, contact me.



~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.

New Updates on My Journey

Journal

Dear Friend,

Much has happened in my life for the past six weeks. And today, I can finally type my own blog post. The last article was drafted in June actually. The draft and the two guest posts helped me when I needed it. Thank you for your articles, Katja and Breanne, and I thank the Lord for His perfect time. If you haven’t read Katja’s personal writing journey and Breanne’s TCK article on citizenship, please do so.

Currently, I have a mountain of writing projects and non-writing related tasks waiting for me. I’ll thus be posting blog articles twice a month starting from this week. If I can’t, I’ll post as and when I’m able to. Here are quick updates on where I am in my journey:

Writing

I’ve returned to blogging, and Book F (written to maintain contact with my close friends). God willing, I may resume my fiction projects after I completed several letters for Book F. Other than that, I’ve resumed drafting articles to be submitted to other channels.

TCK Email Ministry

It’s continuing as usual by God’s grace. Any other update will be sent through the emails. Although they’re for Christian TCKs, any Christian would find them applicable. You can read sample letters here. If you want to receive emails every month, you can register here.

Content Editing Lessons

The editing lessons I’ve been taking taught me significantly in both crafting and editing. Also, I’ve been reading other writers’ projects, and giving them tips to help improve their craft. I subsequently learned a lot from all of these, especially from my mistakes. Funny how that works.


And there you have it folks! How about you? How are you doing in your journey? And do you need me to pray for you?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo Choo Train

P.S. You may be wondering why I post in letter format. I started using Dear Friend and Very Sincerely Yours in the letters I wrote to my close friends (Book F). Then I decided to use the format in my blog, and articles published elsewhere.



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Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.

Two Tips Every Christian Writer Should Follow

Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

You probably saw the title above and clicked it to read what the two tips are. Yes, it’s about writing. At the same time, non-writers could apply them if you change one word from below. I’ve heard/read practical advice such as, write consistently, set your writing aside before returning the next day, write your first draft as quickly as possible, etc. Many of them are subjective to personal preferences. I could continue on about them, but I don’t want to leave you hanging. A fellow Christian writer, who’s also a friend, told me two words which I think every writer should follow:


“Don’t write!”

Sarah Rhomberg



After all, we’re humans with lives to live. We have priorities outside of writing: spend time with God, learn from Him by reading His Word, and apply what you’ve studied by living it! How does one write well if one only sits at one’s desk and writes all the time? How could one convey stories of brokenness, humility, tragedies, hope, love, redemption, the Truths, and God when one never learned them in one’s life?

And spend time with your loved ones: family, church, brethren, and friends. Go out. Fellowship with them. Study the Bible and talk about God with them. Do activities with them. Have meals with them. Another suggestion: pick up a new hobby or continue your current hobby. Do something that’s non-writing/non-reading related. Rest!

“But I need to write for Him.” You may explain.

Check which is first: writing or Him? If you find that writing is taking His place, pause and re-examine your priorities. Remember, your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), belongs to Him. If He wants you to rest, do so. Trust and obey. Months ago, I experienced a week of writing several thousands of words per day regardless of my increasing fatigue. I was leading myself toward an impending burnout until God used a friend to warn me this, which is the other good advice:



“… give [God] every word that you write that He might use it to reach someone and give Him complete control of not just your writing life, but your life in every way, shape and form … Also, don’t push yourself too hard. Take it easy, but don’t be lazy. Write as much as you can a day, and no more than that … Putting God first above everything else doesn’t mean everything will be easy … however, God is with you at every step, every moment and every breath … It doesn’t matter if all you write one day is five words, those five words will add up. Just one word a day dedicated to God is worth far more than a hundred pages not written for Him.”

A Friend




God already knows you’re doing your best for Him. My parents ingrained these words in my mind since I was a teen, “Do your best and leave the rest to Him”. So, rest. Even if you’re not a writer, pause from whatever you’re doing that’s draining your health and/or taking God’s place in your life. Go into your bedroom, open your Bible, and tell Him you’re tired. If you find yourself holding on to what you’re doing, give it up to Him. Then Christ will draw you close.


“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, KJV (Emphasis added)




I too need to be reminded of the above. That is why I wrote this article.


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. What are two important writing tips you apply in your life? Why?



~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.

Guest Post: Citizens of Heaven

Guest Posts, TCK's Articles

Dear Friend,

This week, we have TCK guest writer, Breanne Eckman! She contributed this encouraging piece for the TCK Email Ministry.



When someone asks you where you are from, what do you say?

My answer looks something like this: Well, ethnically I’m from X country, and both my parents are from there. But actually, my dad grew up in Y country, and I grew up in Z country. 

I have a passport from a certain country, therefore I am its citizen, but I’m not very patriotic. I don’t share many similar views with the people of that country. Thus, I don’t feel like I belong there. Instead, I live in a different country. I adore it immensely, love the people, and yet I’m not its citizen. I don’t belong there either. So,


Where do I belong?

That’s the question every human tries to answer. Many do find their answer. However, TCKs tend to not really know. This can be frustrating to them. But for us Christian TCKs, it’s different. 


Why?

Because the Bible tells us that our identity is in Christ, and our citizenship is in Heaven.


Our Identity: If We Don’t Belong, Who Are We?

As TCKs, we’re different. Some people love that, and others hate it. We can tend to find our identity in our TCK-ness. We try to tell people that they don’t get us because we’re different. We wrap up who we are in the fact that we’re different. As a result, we can be defensive. We can have self-pity because we don’t belong, or we can get rebellious when people talk about our passport country as home, since to us, it isn’t. 

Where is our identity first found? Are we first TCKs, or first Christians? 

The answer is pretty simple, but it’s important. First and foremost, we belong to Jesus. 

How does that change our relationships? 

If we belong to Jesus, we love others who belong to Him as well. That includes the person who hasn’t left their town their entire life. That includes the person who seems to know nothing about the “outside world”. That includes the billionth person who asks you how life is like where you live.

We love them completely. Christ gave His life up for billions of people who can never understand Him. He is God, and we’re not. If Jesus could love like that, we need to love others who honestly, can understand us more than how we could understand Jesus. 


Citizens of Heaven


“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” 

Philippians 3:20-21 KJV



The old English meaning of conversation is the place where one lives (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2020). In Greek, conversation is politeuma, meaning community or citizenship (Bible Study Tools, 2020). In the context of this verse, the idea is that there are two spheres: the earthly world, and the heavenly world. Returning to the verse which reads, “For our conversation is in heaven”, we conclude that we don’t belong here. Our community, our citizenship, our home is in Heaven.

Most Christians aren’t TCKs. Whether they are Canadian or Kenyan or Turkish or Singaporean, they’ve grown up in the same place their whole lives. They have roots. They have a culture, an ethnic or patriotic community. They have a sense of belonging. 

But the thing is, all Christians are citizens of Heaven. None of us truly belong here. We have a better Home. 


“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV



This passage comes after the “Hall of Faith”, as many people call it in Hebrews chapter 11. It lists the numerous heroes of the faith from the Old Testament. The passage is talking about them. They sought a better country. A heavenly country. A country where every nation will come together and will be one people. God’s people. 


What Our TCK Lives Teach Us

I think TCKs have an advantage. We don’t belong, anywhere really, on this earth. I’ve heard many TCKs call themselves “global citizens”. However, Christian TCKs don’t belong anywhere on this earth. Being a Christian TCK is a blessing. Because we’re not attached to any country 100%, we long for a better one. Thus, we can comprehend better that our citizenship is in heaven as compared to someone who has never left their town their whole life long. 

And just think about it! A country where all ethnic groups, all cultures, all languages will live together, as neighbours, praising God! Is that a comfort to a TCK soul or what?

~

Image by Breanne Eckman

Breanne Eckman is a 16-year-old writer, artist, sister, TCK, and Jesus-follower.  She wrote Painful Goodbyes Are Good. In the future, she will have a section in her blog dedicated to TCKs. You can also find her on Instagram @breannewrites.


Want to receive TCK letters in your email and access all letters? Register here.
For more sample letters, read here.




References:

Conversation. 2020. In Online Etymology Dictionary.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/conversation

Politeuma. 2020. In Bible Study Tools.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from
https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/politeuma.html