I love blogging. Below is an article I wrote on blogging for CWT Online Magazine two years ago –
Blogging for Social Justice
Like many writers, I tried my hand at different writing genres, including song lyrics and a screenplay. Plus, I’ve journaled for years. My writing focus changed abruptly when my son was murdered three years ago.
I automatically began blogging as a way to deal with grief, and also share my quest for justice in my son’s case. My blog was my companion as I sought clarity after I befriended the defendants when the case ended. Blogging has not only been a way to see justice for my son, but also to make a connection with my “real” self and with others.
God gives us a personal identity at birth that no one can imitate, so I didn’t need to imitate or fear anyone else. If you’re being your real self, others will see it. A real godly person writes to share a common perspective on life that reverberates with others. Relating your topic to your real life is more interesting than manufacturing sentiment, making up fantasy, or using a rant to make your point.
When my son was murdered, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. I wanted to seek justice for him, but I had to be real to myself and to God in my writing. These are some of the things that helped me keep my focus.
Journal for Release
If you haven’t found your voice, sometimes journaling can release a side of you that you didn’t know was there. All of us have hang-ups or doubts of some sort. The great thing about a journal is that you can say anything and no one will read it. Whatever awkward, upsetting or trite thing you could write about in your journal will never be seen by a soul and no one will judge you. You can share the deep things that move you that you might not share with others. Or the things that anger or scare you that you are afraid to admit to yourself out loud.
Journaling helps release hang-ups, even bad writing habits. It’s a tool for evaluating yourself so you feel more confident in developing your writing.
Write Your Deepest Beliefs
Never be afraid to write your real heart on a matter. That’s how I usually start a blog post. I write down my inner voice, then I go back and add a quote or example or I see I need to delete something. It’s exhilarating for me to write my heart out. At least I am good to my conscience and can sleep at night.
Use discretion when you write like this, but don’t fear the risk you are taking. I’ve written about things I felt might be misconstrued, but in the long run I’m glad I risked writing it. Many times people would write me saying they have a similar reaction, so my fears were unfounded.
If you don’t share it may mean you don’t care. You’d be surprised at the breadth of knowledge and concern many godly people have, and how welcome they’d be by you revealing their thoughts. You don’t need to play it safe all the time. God likes it when his kids take risks at times.
Pursue Hot Topics
Our media is full of chatter on various issues. I believe people are hungering for understanding about hot topics. They want clarity. But they want writing that is informed and insightful. You may have genuinely constructive things to say about a vital subject in life. You may have a suggestion on how to deal with an economic or environmental issue that never occurred to anyone. You may have a good answer for human relations in some area. But if you fear you don’t know enough or people won’t listen, your desire to see others live a more vital life will be lost.
I don’t let bad reporting on a hot topic I care about get past me. It’s one of my pet peeves, I guess. If I read or watch a story that ministers to me or aggravates me in some way, I know others notice it as well. I jot down my “take” on the issue, until I can assess if it will make a good blog post. This method keeps me feeling involved with life. There’s nothing worse than feeling riled over the political or other realms and feeling you’re helpless to bring change.
God speaks in our spirit all the time, showing us his ideas on family or world issues. An old writer’s axiom says, “A good writer doesn’t remember, he writes it down.” So, write your hot topic thoughts. You may be surprised at how much it helps you think about the issue and seek prayerful solutions, and this could lead to a great article or book.
Seek Wisdom from Other Writers
I compare and contrast my writing on any topic with what others are saying about it. I don’t want to be repetitious or bore my readers. I especially don’t want to be too self involved, that I’m no good to others. I want the instincts of other good writers to rub off on me. I value their experiences and views.
When I wrote on the topic of grief, I shared my heart. But I listened to and read about the experiences of others.
When it came to murder, it was the same. I asked questions and did research. I dug deep to share at times, and it encouraged me to see how others handled such a hard subject with grace and grit.
Write for the Future
How does your topic relate to the lives of people in the future? As godly writers, we need to think about that. Say why your topic is important in the long run. Explain why it’s a common issue that others deal with. Centering your piece on a person, your personal passions or difficulties can be a good way to start an article, but you always want to consider the larger scheme of things. Writing with God’s purpose in mind we need to understand that even commonplace topics have eternal significance.
Write without fear or condemnation, in your first draft. Always be alert for those who write and confirm something inside you, or convict you to change or look at writing in a fresh way.
The murder of my son changed my perspective on my life and my writing. I started sharing my authentic self about all the important issues we face. His murder may have ignited my writing, but now I seek love and justice on a greater scale.
* Note – Diane De Han is a blogger at MarcsJustice.com. She’s currently writing a book based on her blog entries which share how God carried her through the murder of her son, and how she befriended the defendants. Diane is a CNN Documentary candidate.