Listening and thinking… some thoughts about the future

Every so often I wonder if maybe this blog has run its course and, as with all good things, that maybe the time has come for its end. Maybe I should end this one and start another one. Maybe I should stop blogging and write books… maybe an online magazine… or maybe I should stop writing and take up golf.

Oh, maybe not golf; you probably need to be able to see to do that.

I want a YouTube Channel!

Of course, I’d need to learn video editing and… you probably need to see for that too.

I go through this every year around this time; is it a case of “spring fever”? Nah, maybe more like cabin fever; we still have snow multiple times each week! Whatever it is, it’s irritating. Yet I fear this blog is a bit one dimensional because I’m always going through books of the Bible.

Why do I do that? There’s a story to tell about that…

Back in 2010 I wanted to learn to write in a less technical way. Before that, I always found myself doing technical writing. I did political writing for years, and that was technical, but not exactly in the sense of writing a technical manual, it was simply a formula. You have lists of words, a style book and an assignment. The Big Guy needs a statement for such and such, so you get the information, grab you “Use” words and your “Banned” words and the outline format, and in 10 or 15 minutes you print out the statement. The Big Guy loves it because you didn’t use any words he can’t pronounce (the Banned words) and it sounds like he wrote it himself (the Use words) and you’re pronounced a genius.

Back to the story… I started a Facebook page that was mainly devotionals in 2010. I wanted to be able to crank out devos like I did political stuff: Here’s a text, write up something to inspire people in 10 minutes. I did that almost every day for over a year, and some of them were pretty good while others… not so much. The problem was that I became so sick of writing devotionals that I could hardly stand it. Besides, I had very few Facebook friends, and beyond an exercise, what was the point?

So, I switched to WordPress and broadened the scope of things I wrote about, and again, some of it was pretty good, and some was pretty bad. Yet my problem was always that the hardest part was thinking of a topic to write about, and that’s how I came to write through books of the Bible like preachers who preach through books of the Bible, or as I taught through them to Seminary students: I always know what to write about and in 10 or 15 minutes, I’m done.

And with 2 Corinthians, I’ll be out of books. I need a new format, but I have enough coms training and experience to recognize that I have a following here based upon a certain format, and if you toss out the format and make everything new, you lose the following and have to start over, so why not just kill off one blog and start another one?

Oh, that’s true, you can slowly transition into a new format, yep that would work, but I should have done that a year ago… and I knew it a year ago… but for various reasons, some of which are actually valid, I didn’t, and here we are.

One thing is for certain: I will write up 2 Corinthians, contextual issues will be dealt with either academically or non-academically; that’s the last editorial decision. After that, we’ll see. I am open to ideas of course, and I may do some experimenting. One idea I’m leaning towards is running multiple strings of posts and subjects like a Bible study three days a week, a topical discussion one or two days, a video feature once a week, a random feature once a week and Sermon Notes once a week and… well I’m not quite sure. I’d try a poetry corner… only I’ve never gotten the hang of poetry… oh I know: I could serialize a romance novel!

Actually, romance is about the easiest writing format I know; (the things you have to learn for a Communication Degree!) there’s only five main outlines for romance, and if you can think up enough conflict for each chapter, filling in the rest is easy.

Yet somehow, I doubt that’s the way I’d go. Besides, you need to be a woman to write romance, and it’s way too late for a nom de plume for me… unless I set them up with a “guest writer”! 😊

At any rate, I’d love to hear your thoughts: Is there anything you would be interested in seeing here? Do you have any brilliant ideas you’d like to have ripped off? Do you have any suggestions?

I’d love to hear them!

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Christian Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Listening and thinking… some thoughts about the future

  1. I must confess – I don’t usually read the books of the Bible posts; they aren’t what I am looking for, though I appreciate the work that goes into them and that they are useful to others. The topical idea interests me, given that none of the other blogs I subscribe to have that approach.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you Lorne, that’s good to know. Topicals are actually a lot more work up front because unlike expositories, all of the research has to be done first. I have done several over the years though, and they have all been well received. Of course picking topics is another hard bit… One way or another, there will be more of them from here on out.

  2. Hey Don! It sound like you are talking to me. I have changed my blog format twice. And I regret doing so in the first instance.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Ah Noel! You know what I’m talking about here. After as long as you and I have been doing this, re-formatting is tough to do, and mustn’t be done with haste…

  3. Stefan says:

    You know what, Don. God has a plan for everything, even this blog.
    Keep praying! He is the one with the brains, anyways! 🙂

  4. You have gone through all of the books of the NT, might I suggest one of two topics:

    Obviously the OT, there are a number of ways to approach it: just through the books as they stand, or as a prelude to the NT.

    A comparative of the NT books. Comparing the three Gospels is one option. Another one I had tossed about, but never been able to get off the ground, is a comparison of the teachings in the various letter; how they each approach similar topics.

    • Don Merritt says:

      All good ideas, in fact one I had is similar. That is to do a life of Christ that is all of the gospels together at once which would be like the “Fourfold Gospel” I used to teach in Bible College to freshmen; it was a great class and could be adapted to a blog format without getting overly academic with a little work. Of course, the OT has possibilities as well.

      Hey thanks for your thoughts; much appreciated!

  5. Pete says:

    Topical studies would be good. Only not just one post. A string of posts related to one topic. Grace could be one, mercy another, prayer another, salvation – etc.
    Another would be the Psalms. I did the Psalms and it took me over a year to get through them all. The learning was great and the following consistent.
    Bible history would also intrigue me. How did we get out bible? Start with the New Testament and go from there.

    Anyway, there’s a few ideas. Thanks for asking!

    Be blessed!

    • Don Merritt says:

      You have some good ideas there Pete. Yes, I agree, topical studies should be serials, not so much one hit wonders. I almost did Psalms a couple years ago, but the length of it held me back… maybe broken into sections with other things in between would work…

      Bible history of some kind might work. Hmm… You’ve got me thinking and I appreciate that; thanks!

      • Pete says:

        Psalms does take a long time, but it is so rich it did not get cumbersome for me. I grew tremendously from it as well. Wish you blessings as you seek the Lord for direction.

  6. Efua says:

    I totally enjoy your blog and I love how you stick to teachings of the bible. Have you considered Old Testament stories maybe?

    • Don Merritt says:

      I have indeed, in fact I’ve done some over the years, in addition to Ruth quite recently. I’ve considered doing things like Major and Minor prophets for instance, or a line by line of Isaiah, or Pentateuch… and then I realize I’m approaching the subject as a professor, and I back off. I’ve also thought about topical discussions or biographies of key characters in the OT. The thing that seems to make me shy away from that is the number of Christian doctrinal positions on those topics, and my desire to avoid this becoming a debating society (format change). At any rate, everything is on the table right now…

      Thank you so much Efua for your kind comments and for the suggestion!

      • Efua says:

        I get what you mean about the debate. It will be interesting to read and know more about key characters in Old Testament though. But yeah whatever you decide to go with, I’m here waiting to read. Blessings!

  7. jessicamaymoore says:

    I’ve learned so much from your blog over the years. Thank-you for your efforts. Your wit and humor are inspirational. I pray God bless you in whatever you are called to in the future. More than anything, I am most thankful for the still waters we’ve shared.

  8. slaininthespirit says:

    I always just ask God…and I love your blogs btw! The possibilities are endless…Why don’t you look at some name studies…in context of course…I was always fascinated at how God changed people’s names in the Bible… The well is never dry!

  9. Whatever new ideas you go with, perhaps you could rerun your previous Bible studies because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God…”. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been seen before, really, because reviews can be beneficial.

  10. Russ P. says:

    Don, you have quite a following as evidenced above with everyone’s suggestions. I think Stefan’s comment said it best. Keep praying and wait for God’s guidance and plan. When you have that you’re sure to hit a home run.

  11. Wally Fry says:

    Well, I have certainly enjoyed the trips through the books. Maybe topical would be good as others have said. You are correct, though; they require a bit more upfront work, or you end up with something that just sort of fades off. I have been guilty of that in starting to explore a topic and not finishing.

  12. atimetoshare.me says:

    I know how you feel Don. I go through this same thing at least once a year. Why do we write? Mainly because it is our voice – our means of getting our thoughts and beliefs into the hands of others- not because we need to be gratified through it, but because we need to do it. Changing things up once in a while is a good exercise to keep our material fresh to others as well as ourselves. Ask questions like, “do my words matter? – “am I stirring action, making a difference, inspiring or encouraging.” God has a plan for our creative outlets. He will use them in spite of ourselves, because it’s all part of a greater good than us. Keep writing. He will guide your words❤️

  13. gaustin00 says:

    I feel your discomfort! Such angst when we have hit a roadblock of sorts. I love your blog so don’t quit posting. Where to go next; that is the dilemma and I wish I had the answer but I don’t. As one reader noted: “God is the brains on this anyways.” I so agree. I am at a similar point. Have done the NT/Ps/Prov the last 6 yrs for the readers for our ministry. But, like you, am in need of fresh “meat” but am unsure where to go. So keep on keeping on falling at the feet of the Master for His divine leading.

  14. Don, I read your Bible posts, as well as your Sunday sermon notes. I frequently forward them on to friends who enjoy them also. There are times, like much of the Ruth series, when I feel like I am in a behind-the-scenes tour, with a talented and passionate tour guide. Your commentary has become a integral component of my morning habit. Whatever you end up writing, I will read. Your gift of insight and explanation has benefited me immensely.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you prodigal, I couldn’t possibly begin to tell you how much I appreciate that. This is a miniatry for me, not a hobby, and I usually approach it like a job; I have times blocked out when I am “at work” doing this, and a glimpse of a result is both rare and encouraging in this medium. Thanks again!

  15. Matt Brumage says:

    Don, my wife and I recently moved from Nevada to Oregon, so I no longer have my Bible study to lead, which is what I used my blog for. So, I started a new “sub-blog” to compile what I learned in my last project, Judges, into a study guide/journal. So far, nobody, and I mean nobody, has spent any time there. I’m not really about the following, and, like your blog is accolade-free, I’m not really about the kudos either. It just highlights your point about format change and starting over. Since my purpose with this new project is different, any following would be more about being able to market the end result as a book. It just feels kind of…cheesy(?) to view it that way.

    So, I’m with you on your problem. On the other hand, I’m no where near through the Bible, not even through most of the narrative. I have so much of the Hebrew Scriptures left it’s ridiculous, I’m probably not going to be around long enough to finish (one can hope anyway). The main blog (knothole theology), will continue, even while I’m working on the other project. And one day, I’ll start another small group here in Oregon, and the entries will begin again in earnest. One day…

    As for what you should do, as prodicalraggamuffin said, you’ll do great with whatever our Master leads you into. He’s probably just being quiet to get your attention (did your parents ever do that? My wife does that too, it’s unnerving). Which is probably me projecting, because I can’t (rather, won’t) shut up. Regardless, you will hear from Him, in His time, on His terms, about His topic. Who know, perhaps He’ll want you to thread the topic of “worship” through Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. How’s THAT for a project? I’m with Wally on this one, I’d never finish either.

    Blessings upon you! And if you ever want to explore that Bible study option, even try Skype again, I’m in! I’ll even try to shut up 😉

    • Don Merritt says:

      Hey Matt! I didn’t know you’d moved to Oregon; I hope that’s a good thing for you and Mrs. Matt.

      Since yesterday, I’ve had some ideas along the lines of a transition, rather than a completely different format and I’ll probably post about that soon. One thing: I have lots of uncharted territory in the OT, but up to this point, I’ve only mined OT things that fit my format… Am I just hung up on format? Many might think so, but it’s one of those things that I remind myself I’m supposed to know about, and a massive format change with an established “audience” is a rookie mistake.

      Anyway, I am very confident that God will lead me in His direction one way or another and blogging for me is far from over.

      All the best to you Matt and… I wouldn’t mind skyping in the least.

  16. daylerogers says:

    Stay away from romance! Seriously, I love what you do. And since your ability to communicate Scripture clearly and quite visually is such a strength, don’t fix what ain’t broke. I’d love a line by line of the Pentateuch. The foundation of the first five books is such a wonderful springboard for all of Scripture, and frankly, so many are around today who have no context for the New Testament. No stories, no big picture. Nada. Keep it up, my friend. The Lord is using what you do.

  17. Cathy Merritt says:

    I would like you to co-author my book.

    Your insight would make it practical to the newest and even a mature believer on how to live true world grace.

    So let’s go for it. Never stop writing

  18. Mel Wild says:

    I agree on maybe going into the topical. Maybe ask your readers what pressing questions they may have as your subject matter? Just a thought. Your Bible exegesis has always been a blessings. Thanks for doing this!

  19. I really appreciated your NT survey. What about Bible people? Have you done OT survey?

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you Katheryn, I appreciate that. No, I haven’t surveyed the OT, nor have I done people per se. I will probably do some things with the OT, although not a complete survey (soon, anyway), and I do have some thoughts about following some key people, Abraham for instance. At one time I seriously considered a detailed study of Isaiah, but the overall reaction to my survey of Revelation gave me the strong impression that I don’t have the right following for a study that would need to be rather more academic than I have generally done on TLP in the past.

  20. Praying for you, Don. God will show you the way. But I do hope, for our sakes, His plan includes your continuing with the inspirational writing you share with us. Many times God uses your writing to speak to me. God bless you and you family as you write for Him in whatever form that may take.

  21. Melissa says:

    Seek God for direction. It’s all about Him anyway.
    When I read blog posts, my favorites are always stories of authentic ways God has reached out of Heaven and touched Earth.
    I wanna read your heart.
    I’m a Technical Writer by profession; a Creative Writer because that’s how God designed me. I appreciate writing in all forms, but please smear the page with your heart. It’s my favorite genre.

  22. fairchild7 says:

    Hi Don. My pen name is Chris. Wrote “Twin Sisters” today. Thank you for stopping by on a regular basis.

  23. I can relate to your writing frustrations, Don. I have often struggled to be heard, which is why I write blogs as well as articles for Faithwriter’s contests. At least I get some feedback that way. Finally I am getting involved in the church I used to go to many years ago and hope to make new friends with whom I can share my writing ideas. Maybe we can give each other feedback and I can make a video with them. I used to like that sort of thing. Then I was at a church where I didn’t connect with many people and had no one to make videos with. They weren’t very welcoming of women in ministry unless they belonged to the youth. Now I’m in a church where I feel I can actually have an impact.
    I think you need to plant yourself wherever you feel you’ll bloom the best, so best of faith to you as you follow your calling.

  24. fairchild7 says:

    Don: wrote “A Memorial Letter” this morning … may be the last entry that I make for a while. I appreciate you visits and likes. I also am refreshed by your blog. Continue to “contend earnestly for the faith” as Jude admonished us. God bless and keep you in the love of Christ. Chris

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you Chris, may God bring you peace as He continues to keep you from the Evil One. May you continue to be a beacon of His grace in this dark world that so desperately needs His Truth.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you write a political romance novel? You have the inside scoop and knowledge. Also, just go for the Youtube thing – what’s the worst that could happen? God bless you whatever you decide.

  26. hearmorefromgod says:

    Thanks for the like at DailyBiblePrayer. Appreciate it. Don’t know where you live but you might consider attending the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park next week. Or the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference at the end of July. Both have opportunities for improving craft, networking and meeting one on one with publishers, editors, authors and others in the industry. Everything from Bible studies, to romance to screenplays! Great place for advancing and gaining direction! Laura

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