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The Secret to My Writing Success

Today marks Express Yourself 4 Him’s 500th blog.  What began as a hobby, something to sharpen my writing skills has developed into an internet ministry.  To celebrate this day, I am going to unveil 10 Biblical principles which have guided, inspired and motivated me to express my faith in Christ.

1. Don’t Force the Issue.  Sometimes in life, people panic like Sarai, trying to build a legacy on their own, Genesis 16:1-2.  With this in mind, I have begun each day with an open mind, ready to let Scripture and the Holy Spirit guide each word I type.  Whenever a blog doesn’t flow naturally, I stop, wait a while and either start over or go in a different direction.

2. Follow the Convictions of your Heart.  My best pieces are often conceived with a thought while sleeping at night.  If I don’t have a pad of paper nearby, I try to visualize each paragraph in my mind.  Whenever I sense a moving in my spirit, like a prompting on my heart, I get up in the middle of the night to complete these convictions before they vanish.

3. When the Spirit moves, keep Writing.  Writers block is something all writers must face and conquer.  Therefore, when God anoints me with words to write, I try to maximize these days.  It’s not uncommon to write 2-3 blogs if moved in one sitting.  As long as time permits, I try to tie all loose ends, bringing to completion each blog until I sense a peace from the Holy Spirit.

4. Find a Solitary Place.  Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek recounts times he spent at a local Burger King in Michigan, sitting in a back corner booth, listening for God to guide his thoughts for future sermons.  Before I attended his church, I practiced this while in college, making for great study sessions.  Today, I use restaurants with free refills, off hours when possible, allowing me to stay awake, disciplined and focused.  This practice has led to the creation of 15 songs, hundreds of poems and a complete movie script.

5. Always Keep a Journal Nearby.  Every time I read the Bible, I write down anything that strikes a cord with my soul.  In addition, I underline powerful passages or jot down a title for potential blogs.  While watching movies or sermons on television, I am like an eager student, writing down each important point I hear.  On the days when I struggle to come up with an ideal to blog about, my journal usually triggers memories that result in new pieces.  Without this method, I would not be able to write day after day.

6. Don’t practice Isogesis.  There is a temptation at times to read too much into a passage or chapter of the Bible.  Thus, isogesis means to read things into scripture which is not supported by the actual context.  To be theologically sharp, one must examine the Bible, line by line, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, known as hermeneutics.  Though I do receive rhemas, words from the Lord, from time to time, I try not to force my beliefs into a specific passage unless I am certain of it.

7. Stay in Tune with the Holy Spirit.  When I lose my hunger and fervor for the Lord, my connection with the Holy Spirit becomes temporarily disconnected.  As a result, some blogs aren’t as powerful or well received.  However, the moment I practice Galatians 5:25, ideas flow, powerful truths come forth and writing becomes natural, like I was born to do this.

8. Use the Sabbath as Inspiration.  After my first 6 months of blogging, I realized how difficult it was to write with the same passion daily.  Therefore, I began to rely on sermons from the Trinity Broadcasting Network and my home church in Delaware to develop Express Yourself 4 Him.  By taking the first 15-30 minutes after returning from church, I have been able to stay a few days ahead, using Sunday as an outline for the rest of the week.

9. Be Discreet.  Being a teacher for a decade, has helped me maintain care, tact and prudence while blogging, 1 Peter 3:15.  It only takes one ill-timed word to create an internet firestorm.  Therefore, it is essential to review every paragraph, think about how your words will be received and adjust each line to  promote diplomacy.  The Bible will convict hearts, my responsibility is to weave truths from the word of God into each piece I write.

10. Be Original.  There are days when I throw away ideas because there are not unique enough or don’t provide an original perspective.  Current events are great aids to overcome this dilemma.  Yet, the secret to my success is striving to become like a modern day John Wesley.  When I attach theology to writing, using the Bible to answer problems in life, people are drawn to the Word of God, not me, Romans 10:17.

I want to thank all my readers for their prayers and support.  I can see 1000 in the near future.  Until then, I urge everyone to fan into flame that gift or talent God has given you, 2 Timothy 1:6.  Don’t be afraid to express yourself 4 Him, Acts 4:29!

by Jay Mankus

10 Reasons Why Writers Should Continue to Blog

To celebrate Express Yourself 4Him’s one year anniversary, I have created my first top ten list.  Similar to a David Letterman countdown from 10-1, I will examine what expires me each morning to get up and write.  May this list inspire a new generation of bloggers.

10) Blogging provides writers with a historical time line of their life.  You can go back to any day in a previous year to review what you were thinking, what happened in the world on that day and what you learned about life.

9) Blogging connects your opinion with other like minded people.  Often, people share similar beliefs, but they don’t have the time to voice their opinions.  Thus, blogging affirms that other people share similar convictions with you.

8) Blogging gives you an opportunity to share what’s on your heart.  The fast pace of life on the East Coast makes it tough to slow down.  Blogging provides an avenue to share what your heart is touched by and relax daily for a little while.

7) Blogging creates networking opportunities through E-Traffic.  As individuals comment on pieces you write, I have been able to visit their blogs, join their sites and begin corresponding with people who share common values.  In particular, I have been blessed by TR&B SHOCKLEY’S, It’s a God Thing, Mere Inkling, Morning Story & Dilbert and Candy Coated Reality in 2012.  Thanks for writing!

6) Blogging helps individuals verbalize their worldview through words.  In a world filled with chaos, its vital for people to discern what’s really going on, articulate their beliefs and help others understand the American culture.

5) Blogging offers an arena for instant feedback.  After a slow start, I have received nearly 250 approved comments this past year, one in German that I had my wife translate.  Besides hearing from complete strangers, Word Press keeps track of your most popular blogs along with each individual message.

4) Blogging instills a discipline for writing.  If you are able to do what you love without pay, then this is a sign that writing may be something you want to pursue.  However, even during cases of writer’s block, blogging forces you to piece together a blog worthy of reading.

3) Blogging presents you with a stage to get noticed.  Since I began last February, I have had 2 people from Hollywood comment on my blog.  While it’s a long shot, I am holding out hope for my screen writing of Express Yourself.

2) Blogging serves as a vehicle for healing.  If I didn’t lose my teaching position of 10 years last January, I would probably not have a Facebook account or Word Press blog.  However, as I have endured the anguish, disappointment and frustration of unemployment, God has used writing as a vessel for healing.

1) Blogging satisfies and soothes your soul.  The sense of accomplishment I receive from writing blogs is amazing.  Even when I don’t gain any attention from what I believe to be a great blog, I feel as if by addressing specific topics I am fulfilling God’s will for my life on that particular day.

Thanks for all of you who supported Express Yourself 4Him in 2012!

by Jay Mankus

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