On Thursday, August 15, 2013, I debuted my blog site, David C. Hughes, Writer. I was ecstatic! Two months of design, layout, and content development culminated in the launch of what’s turned out to be more than a labor of love—it’s the fruit of faith!
I remember June 11, 2013 well. With my digital recorder in my pocket and my Mead Five Star notebook in the other, I traveled to Southlake to meet with Bob Hamp, author of Think Differently Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom, and the Freedom Minister for Gateway Church at the time. I originally had plans to meet Bob at the church to interview him for The Epiphany of Joy, but his admin called and asked if I could meet him at a restaurant for lunch instead. “Sure!” I replied, wondering immediately how well the voice recorder would pick up our conversation over the background noise. But I was elated nonetheless.
You see, Gateway Church’s Foundations of Freedom video series, featuring Bob Hamp (http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1), had inspired me several months earlier to finally quit messing around in the mud of apathy and fear and swan dive into the clear lagoon of full time writing. I’d absorbed every word Bob had spoken in the video series, and I just knew I had to interview him for the book because, as I saw it, he not only lived his passion, he shared it. I wanted to get his take on joy and living joyfully. What I got instead was something much more valuable: a lesson in social media!
Yep, here I was sitting across from one of my heroes, eating grilled fish and sautéed green beans, and he’d deftly charged forward discussing how to use social media to market my brand. I listened as intently to Bob in real life as I’d listened to him speak on the Foundations of Freedom videos. He showed me his Twitter feed and explained the potentially exponential spread of a message as other folks picked up the tweet and re-tweeted it. I nodded in appreciation as I listened to Bob excitedly explain the logic of using Facebook and the common sense of developing and maintaining a blog page. Until that moment I’d been using email to broadcast my “Dailies,” and I’d been transmitting them to thirty people each time I clicked “send.” As we wrapped up lunch, he asked me what I wanted to talk about regarding joy. I conducted a short interview, scribbled a handful of quotes, and left the restaurant knowing what I had to do next. I was suddenly overjoyed at (and scared of) the prospect of building a blog.
Two months after that interview I opened the curtain on David C. Hughes, Writer, and I’ve been having a ball ever since. Don’t get me wrong—as my newborn has grown into a toddler, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it. Having a blog page—an active blog page—sets before me the challenge of regularly sitting down to write. Imagine that! Instead of merely hanging out on the sidelines dreaming of writing, when I committed to posting a meaningful essay at least once a week, it forced me to grab that dream by the collar and drag it into reality. Writing’s hard work, but with practice and passion it becomes doable. And with time, it can become viable.
Having a blog site gave me the drive to turn the crank on The Epiphany of Joy. Blogging the book was an amazing experience, and having a vehicle to “test drive” the initial manuscript in a public forum kicked butt. It’s hard to write a book, even harder to finish it, but publishing the book serially on the blog page kept me motivated and conscientious. After all, I knew I just couldn’t post an unpolished first draft out there—someone might say something negative and hurt my feelings! Just kidding . . . . sort of.
Speaking of which, when I jumped into this undertaking, I thought I had thick skin. I’d been a member of read-and-critique groups off and on for the past twenty years, and I thought I’d developed a tolerance for criticism. But launching my work into such a public forum pulled the covers off that myth! The first time I received a less-than-favorable comment on one of my posts, I allowed the remark to toss me into a two-day funk. Now that I’ve experienced that, I’m coming to realize that, as a writer, not everyone’s going to agree with my opinion all the time. And as a Christian writer, it will be even more challenging as I face people who have dissenting opinions backed up with zeal. But I welcome the challenge and look forward to the dialog—just keep your comments short and to the point, please, so they don’t take up three pages of my blog!
But this endeavor is only worth pursuing if it not only inspires me to keep chasing after my passion, but also if it affects the lives of those who take the time to read it. My job, my obligation as a writer is to write. My job, my obligation as a Christian writer is to write to glorify God. God’s job is to bring the readers to my writing, and if one blog post, essay, or book that I’ve written touches a one person’s life and changes it profoundly for the good, then I’ve done my job, I’ve fulfilled my obligation.
So as we celebrate my blog site’s first birthday, I look forward to seeing what happens as my toddler starts developing an attitude! Thank you all for keeping me motivated to continue turning the crank, and thank you all for your support, prayers, and interest as we travel on this incredible journey together. Without you my life’s calling would be meaningless. With you the world is truly blessed.
P.S. I’ve now taken the plunge and set up a Twitter account: @TheJoyGuy. What else?!