24 Oct 2012

31 days to write your story {24} because stories are more interesting than statistics

A year ago today we rode through the Pennsylvania trees on our way to Allume Blogging Conference. I’m headed there again today.

We had two and half hours of open road and autumn miles — mere appetizers for girl talk; we dig in.

I ask her about writing – about her voice and what it sounds like this last semester of college. She asks me about social media and the public conversation that is a place like Twitter and how’s a girl to feel heard when she’s not comfortable shouting in a room full of strangers.

I know farmer’s wives and brave authors who feel just the same way.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when to speak and when to listen. Sometimes it’s even harder to speak when you think no one’s listening.

And when we pass the big grain silo and the barn with red paint peeling raw against the cornfield horizon, she asks if her voice matters. If there are only one or two who come to see what she’s sharing at her blog, is hitting publish still important?

This question scratches at me too.

But for now as we weave our way toward Harrisburg, I think about how social media gives us powerful ways to build, to connect, to give. How it hands us new and wonderful ways to live that old and grand command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

It is a dead end to pursue social media in the hopes of building more followers. Numbers are a house of sand, washed easily away on a whim.

But to build community – to build a place rich with the stories and faces and hopes and dreams of others – to build for them, that is rock solid foundation for the only Message that matters.

I tell her, perhaps it’s not about who doesn’t come to read, it’s about who does. And are we prepared for them? What will we feed the hungry who pull up chairs to our blog table?

Forget the hundreds you wish would come; feed the hungry who are already there.

Feed them your best. Lay out your story and your life and your generous love for them. Perhaps our blogs are only as big as our hospitality. Because platforms can be lonely and spotlights too bright, but no one ever felt unwelcome in that overstuffed armchair pulled up by the fire, with feet up on the coffee table, and a good friend telling you it’s OK to be you.

Perhaps less is more in the comment box just like it is in life. Especially if it gives you time to respond, to encourage, to enjoy the company and conversation of comments for what they really are – people with stories as thick and dog-eared as your own.

One on one, we don’t need to shout. The room isn’t crowded. And truth spills out when you hit publish – even at a whisper.


I’m spending 31 days writing about how to write your story.
It’s part of the 31 Days Challenge hosted by the Nester.
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{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Thanks once again Lisa-Jo. I so want to say, ‘It’s ok to be you.’ I’m only just learning that myself.
    Thankyou for your wise, gentle words.

  2. 2

    This is beautiful and so encouraging. Thank you for the beautiful picture, the encouragement, the reminders that it’s much more simple than I make it out to be.

  3. 3

    beautiful…it’s not about who doesn’t come…but who does…and yes…even if we just have a whisper…whisper to the Glory of God…I pray your time and all the ladies who come will be touched my His love…changed because of Who He is…and just have plain fun:)

  4. 4

    Beautifully written–wonderfully true. I am looking forward to being with everyone this weekend. ~Di

  5. 5

    I read this the day after reading Ann Voskamp’s How to Live, Blog, Write – but more importantly a couple of days after soul-searching around giving my voice to God. The timing could not be more gracious. Thank you for speaking truth into the blogging world.

  6. 6

    yes, yes, YES…and Amen!! It’s not about us, it’s about Him. He tells the stories. We just write them down.

  7. 7

    Thank you for inviting me to sit at your blog-table. These words felt as though they were written just for me. No doubt, the Lord lead me to this exact post at this exact time. :)


  8. 8

    Another good one. It’s like you’re almost talking about the same thing every time, but slightly different so that it’s COMPLETELY different. What a gift. Thank you.

  9. 9

    Lisa-Jo…I always find a blessing in your heart-words when I visit your blog. I just wanted you to know. Enjoy your conference. <3

  10. 10

    These posts are so encouraging. I do feel small. I do feel quiet. I do, often, feel like my words don’t matter, so I should just do something else. Thank you for speaking to our hearts these 31 days.

  11. 11

    I really needed to read this today. I’ve been caught up in who’s not coming for far too long. I’ve been following this series for about a week now and I’m really enjoying it. I found you through The Habit of Being. Love this post so much.

  12. 12

    Thanks for the push to keep hitting publish, to keep writing and drawing the armchairs closer to the fire. And that sometimes it’s one post for one person.

    Harrisburg is beautiful, enjoy the conference. =)

  13. 13

    Ah, this is wonderful. I have to remind myself frequently that cozy armchairs are far better than lonely platforms. Thanks.

  14. 14

    I was just thinking today about how I struggle with my writing so much. I probably find myself in the other boat saying…um, please nobody read this…but yet there are still some that need my words and if I let fear or if we let lack of comments or traffic or spikes in the hit counter blind us we’ll miss those wandering souls that do come across our words. Isn’t that what matters? That we would write and it would touch deep? Not just skim the surface with a bunch of folks that are cruising through their blog reader (not that there is anything wrong with cruising through your blog reader), but leave words that leave a mark on a person’s soul simply because we were willing to write them without the promise of them being read. Thanks for this Lisa-Jo. See you tomorrow! (I can actually say that!)

  15. 15

    Every day you put up a new post and I think “this is my favorite-est post ever.” Then, you post again the next day and that one is my favorite post. This post is no exception. Your encouragement is relieving that held-breath feeling as the days and weeks go by and I feel small. Small is good. It allows more relationship, more time and I love your perspective and wise words.

  16. 16

    LOVE this post and I am not even a blogger, but it applies to so many different areas of life….taking care with those present and not always looking for more!

    I have 2 friends headed to Allume. I am happy for them and jealous! :-) I know it will be wonderful!

  17. 17

    Oh, Lisa-Jo, thank you for your encouraging words today! I’ve been spending time evaluating the “why’s” of blogging…..is it for me? for my readers? am I glorifying God? I need to remember what is truly important as I strive to serve Him so that He alone may be glorified.

  18. 18

    Your words are so encouraging and inspiring! Thank you.

  19. 19

    Loved this! Thank you so much for the encouraging words and vital reminder. I’m heading out to Allume this morning. Hope to meet you!

  20. 20

    Good Morning Lisa Jo!

    You are Precious to my heart. I totally agree with the Focus of Blogging. “…build community – to build a place rich with the stories and faces and hopes and dreams of others – to build for them, that is rock solid foundation for the only Message that matters.” & “Forget the hundreds you wish would come; feed the hungry who are already there.” As Jesus is the Living Water & Bread of Life, we are to Be Like Him so all may join us at His prepared table on the mountain…even [& especially] when we are online! One of the verses for my Mountain Ministry talks about that table…

    ~ Isaiah 25:6-9
    6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
    a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
    7 On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
    the sheet that covers all nations;
    8 he will swallow up death forever.
    The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
    he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
    The Lord has spoken.
    9 In that day they will say,
    “Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
    This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

    Thanks for the enCouragement to continue & do more writing on my blog. I have soooo much to learn! I’m hoping to be with you at AllUMe next year. I just found out about AllUMe a few months ago & so many of my HelloMornings Sisters are there…but… I know God has me right where He wants me this year…at home, Praying for All of You there…doing the work of His plan for me as He continues to refine me & my message so that I may be ready for what He has next in 2013.

    ***Please let me know if you have any Prayer Requests while there. You’re already prayed for … travel mercies & family at home. I pray that you will EnJOY your time away with God and His Girls as you all share and learn. I’m sure He has something Wonder-Full and Beyond Expectations for you & all those with you.

    Love Ya, Susie :)
    You can message me on Twitter @SusieMM413 or FB Susie Sattler Cantrell :)

  21. 21

    I’m bookmarking this post to read again and again, especially on the days when running a small blog feels useless. The lure is to believe the lie that no one is listening and that others are saying exactly what I’m saying, only better. I know it’s not the truth, but I need to be reminded of it often. Thank you.

  22. 22

    Thank you for this, as a smaller blogger it is a needed reminder that we aren’t writing for the numbers, and that sometimes a smaller crowd is a blessing in itself.

    You are such a blessing in the lives of so many…thank you!

  23. 23

    Thank you Lisa-Jo for these beautiful words, such truth spoken to our souls as writers.

  24. 24

    This is such a GOOD post! It is SO true! Numbers don’t matter. It’s all about depth. I have few numbers on my blog but those few readers have been impacted greatly. That means more to me than large numbers ever could. The Holy Spirit spoke something that was intended for those few. I love that I get to be a small part of that.

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