O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Reaching a Crossroads

I need your help. I began blogging in 2007, which really wasn’t that long ago unless you’re talking Internet years, which makes 2007 the digital equivalent of the Pleistocene epoch. Since December of 2007 I have written five books: Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, Pocket Guide to Sainthood, O Me of Little Faith, and two reference-y books for children which will release in 2012. During the same time frame, I also updated Pocket Guide to the Bible and A Guy’s Guide to Life for rereleases, and contributed to another not-yet-released book.


Since 2007 I have produced nearly 700 column-length blog posts. And for good measure, last spring I left my “real” job to start my own design & copywriting business — which I consider my full-time job. Books and blogging are side gigs.

I have been insanely productive for three years and now I am tired. This weariness has brought me to a crossroads.
The question I have for you, my readers, is about this blog. I honestly don’t know where I want it to go from here, but I know I need to head in a different direction. I’d like your advice. Some things to consider:

• I write long posts. Sometimes I envy friends like Matthew Paul Turner who can post three or four times a day with funny videos, photos, and otherwise short posts and have built a huge audience doing so. But that’s not my style. Because my posts are longer, they take time to compose and research, and my time has become more and more precious of late. I try to write at least four blog posts a week, but this is becoming increasingly difficult.


• Sometimes I wonder if I’m simply writing too much. I write all day for other people as a professional copywriter. I write my books at night. I try to fit in the blog posts. Does spreading myself so thin as a writer impact the quality of my work? Would I be more creative if I wrote less? Probably so.

• I’m very diligent about how I spend my time, and make sure to make time for the things I love: my wife and kids, exercise, writing books, eating chocolate-chip cookies (to name a few). Of late, I have loved blogging less and less. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t miss it at all during my end-of-the-year break.

• I’m pretty sure that part of the reason I love it less is because I’ve been immersed in a not-so-lighthearted subject matter — religious doubt — for the last eight months. If you were a reader of my old blog before I moved to Beliefnet, you’ve seen a tonal shift since then. I used to be pretty funny, and my posts were more playful. I’ve been more serious since the move.


• I love that my readers are diverse and include steadfast believers, religious doubters, and outright atheists, and that we can have mostly civil conversations. If there’s anything I’m proudest of, it’s having built those relationships. And I guess I could blog about science and religion and questions about God on a weekly basis in order to continue that important conversation, but do I WANT to? Is it spiritually and emotionally healthy for me? I’m not sure.

• I also love the Voices of Doubt series on this blog. I love giving other writers a chance to be honest. I love introducing my readers to other bloggers and personalities. For what it’s worth, though, Friday VOD posts usually bring my lowest traffic of the week. The posts that bring the most traffic are the hot-button ones, and to be honest, I hate writing those. Generally it’s a lot of sound and fury (from me as well as commenters) but does blogging really ever accomplish anything…other than perpetuating my online visibility? That’s a big question.


• Professionally, I think it may be time to move on from the type of books I’ve written in the past — the Pocket Guide-style reference books as well as books like OMOLF. The next book I write will be a novel, and most likely a children’s or YA novel. Why? Because that’s what I’m interested in right now. That’s what I’m passionate about.

• For what it’s worth, I don’t think Beliefnet would have a problem with me shifting the focus of my blog away from the doubt emphasis. But in order to continue here as a blogger, it’s going to have to maintain a religious focus. And it needs to be updated regularly.

• I have worked hard to gain the much discussed “platform” that publishers love their writers to have. Not all writers have this. I’ve been lucky, and I’ve worked hard not only to get here but to take advantage of where I’ve landed. I think it’s important to use the gifts you’ve been given. To many struggling writers or bloggers, giving up something like this would be unthinkable, and I totally get that.


So that’s where I am. This is not one of those posts where I threaten to go away in hopes that all of you will leave comments that say, “Nooooo!!! Please Jason we LOVE you and NEED you! The internet will never be the same!” I’m not looking for self-esteem Gatorade. What I’m looking for is feedback from the people who matter to this blog — the readers.

If you’re a regular, why? What brings you back to this blog?

What content suggestions or ideas do you have?

If you’re a long-time reader, what has improved or diminished since my move to Beliefnet?

If you were playing armchair life coach for me, what would you suggest?

Should I take this blog a different direction? If I did, would I lose you as a reader?

I’d love your answers to any or all of those questions. I’m looking for feedback and advice.

Comments read comments(47)
post a comment

posted January 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

“but do I WANT to? Is it spiritually and emotionally healthy for me? I’m not sure.”
One of the things that keeps me reading and coming back is the kind of honesty that you display here. You have to do what you think is best for you and we will understand and respect your decision.
I admit that I read more than I respond and I appreciate you sharing the space with others. We will always have our hot button topics and issues that their will be articles and subjects that tweek us all at different times but you have to be you and true to yourself.

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shawn smucker

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I’ll start by answering your questions (at least the ones that I can):
– I’m a somewhat regular reader who enjoys hearing what another writer has to say on a daily basis
– I actually found you when a friend of mine pointed out the flash-fiction story contests you did
– I haven’t been a long-time reader, having only followed blogs since the end of last year, but I’d say that since going to Beliefnet the content has been a little heavy. I enjoy it, but that’s probably why I only check in a few times a week instead of every day.
– You can blog about whatever you want, and I’ll probably still come by to check out what your up to, and what your thoughts are.
– I try not to play armchair life-coach too often, but if I had to give one piece of advice it would be to make sure you are making time to write the things that invigorate you and keep you interested and passionate about life. If you are bored, your readers probably are too.
You asked for it.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I’ve been reading your blog several years. I came this way via Relevant magazine after I wrote a couple of pieces for their girl version, Radiant (now defunct, as is my writing career). I haven’t checked in as frequently since the move to Beliefnet, for various reasons. I found myself reading too many theological conversations that were only serving to frustrate me (not here only). Questions without answers, I’ve found, I would rather discuss among my real-time friends – people who know me and I know them. As my time was getting lost in the hub-bub, so was my peace. Also, I like “indie” blogs more than corporate blogs. : )
I’d love to see you ditch this gig and pursue writing for kids. Whip up a cool author website and let it field calls and visitors while you create. I have an amazing 9 year-old son who loves to read but there never seem to be enough good books for him. Famous wisdom from the Andy Griffith Show: “Shoot for the good feeling.” Do what you find compelling. My husband just read something from John Ortberg that said when we do what we are called to do we will always disappoint some people, but it will be worth it.
You’ll know what to do.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I, for one, am a fan because…
1. You are funny
2. You are honest
3. You push buttons
That being said, I understand how insanely bogged down you get. It’s hard to balance…and I think that God intended for us to be a people of balance.
Also, I think that writing about the same topic for too long would cause me to be hardpressed for authenticity. Go with your passions. Go with what you feel God is telling you.
That’s just my humble opinion.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

my phrase for ‘2011’ is “pursue what you love” …. and i think the writing’s on the wall here. do what you’re passionate about and the right opportunities will emerge to replace the ones you already have (and feel apprehensive about losing).

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Ray Hollenbach

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hi Jason:
I found your blog only in recent months and knew nothing of your books previously (sorry). I can’t speak to how or whether your tone has changed. Conventional wisdom says a web presence is useful to writers–but not if you feel the life draining out of you. I’ve sensed you have a playful side, but you’re right–the tone at “Little Faith” tilts toward the serious (as Seinfeld would say “Not that there’s anything wrong with it!”).
Advice is one thing truly more blessed to give than receive, so here goes: If Beliefnet will allow you to post irregularly, then by all means back off a bit. Follow your passion. Don’t become a prisoner to your success. You won’t lose me as a reader.
T.S. Eliot was a clerk by day. Chesterton was a journalist. C.S. Lewis moonlighted as a circus clown (OK, I made that last one up). I suggest you check in with Jesus and the Mrs., treasure each day and do what you want. This also means you don’t have to be Seth Godin or MPT (not that there’s anything wrong with them)
Grace to you, and peace.

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Rachel H. Evans

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Nooooo! Please Jason we need and love you!
Dude, I’ve gotten so burned out on blogging before that I’ve sobbed over the keyboard…so I TOTALLY understand.
I think it’s important to write about what you care about – even if it doesn’t fit your focus. Otherwise it just gets too torturous. If beliefnet will let you get away with it, I’d move in another direction. I love the faith/doubt thing, but if you’re sick of it, move on. At its worst, a blog is a writer’s obligation. At its best, it’s a writer’s playground.
It kinda bugs me that authors are often strapped with the obligation to write about a certain subject to maintain their “brand.” But I enjoy writers who are curious and engaged enough to pursue a variety of interests, but who always do so with their trademark wit and creativity. Your VOICE is your “brand,” not your subject matter.
Whatever you write, I’ll read! :-)

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Jason, I used to subscribe to your blog before Beliefnet. I loved the blend of funny and serious that you had. Frankly (and only because you asked), I got really tired of your posts after your move here – too heavy and depressing for me. I still follow you on Twitter to catch the occasional post that catches my eye. I would love to see a return to your more light-hearted self – or again, the blend of both.
As to blogging in general, follow @bryanallain’s tips from his 10 Tips for Beginning Bloggers:
#7 Your most important reader is you – and if you’re bored…
#10 It’s your gig – and shouldn’t be a burden to you.
Blessings on whatever road you choose to go down. I’ll still track you on Twitter. :) Thanks.

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Ken Grant

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm

First, I agree completely with Jeff – skilled writers are a dime a dozen, you have consistently demonstrated a level of honesty and integrity that sets an example for the rest of us and causes many of us to stop in the middle of a knee-jerk reaction and examine both a subject and our motives a little closer.
I would consider myself a faithful reader since those way-back days – and I would argue that you have not only built a solid platform, but a genuine community and a very good place for thoughtful discussion. You have exposed many of us (I feel confident in speaking for other regular readers because I’ve seen the comments here and at other blogs) to other writers, bloggers, and thinkers who we probably would not have come across otherwise.
So, that’s where I believe you have brought us so far (well, let’s not forget the fun and, yes, the hot-button issues) – but your question is “Where to go from here?”
First, I appreciate your discipline – it is obvious that you take your writing seriously and I’ve never seen evidence of you “phoning it in” – but if you continue at the four-post-a-week schedule, are you risking outright burnout? I would rather have two good Jason Boyett posts a week than see you get tired of it and walk away. So, what if you were to initiate something similar to the VOD series – recruit a few writers to take responsibility for another day of the week to explore something from their perspective/area-of-expertise. Just a thought.
Subject matter- please follow your passion! I think we, as a community, have benefitted from growing with you so far, I believe we will gladly go with you into new territory.
Also, this is a blog – not a book, magazine, or movie – you have a ton of freedom to experiment, try new things, go in a new direction for a few weeks, see if it feels right, and proceed accordingly – again, we’ll travel with you on this journey and see what there is to discover.
That’s my 2 cents’ worth – I look forward to seeing what everyone else has to say and where you decide to go with this.
Know that you have our support.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’m not a long-time reader, but I saw your transition from your old blog to this one. I did read quite a lot of your older stuff, and I still occasionally read (some) the new stuff.
Overall, this new stuff has been less funny and less entertaining. It feels more forced.
In your shoes, I’d leave this blog for doubt/religious serious stuff and write only when you feel that you have something substantial to write about. Start a new (old) one where you could write freely about Batman’s Underpants if you happened to feel like it.

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Sharideth Smith

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

i’m with rachel. what she said.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Having only fairly recently come across your books and blogs, I’m no expert on where you’ve been and I’ve certainly no clue as to where *I’M* going, so I can’t really give a clear answer for where *you* should go.
That said, I’d like to add that O Me of Little Faith is a great book and I’m glad to have gotten the chance to hear you talk about it in person. Also, I’ve just recently read Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse and LOVED IT (I have a crazy uncle who is obsessed with end times stuff and your book just put the right amount of education and humor together on what can be a touchy subject in my family).
If you aren’t feeling the blogging here, then the best thing I could say would be to stop. If taking a break didn’t energize you to go back and do more, then continuing seems like a poor decision. If you like the voices of doubt series (which I’ve been trying to read-and love-when you post them, though I’ve certainly missed a couple here and there)then post that and whoever reads it will, and whoever doesn’t will just be missing out. Like a lot of the other advice here says: do what you feel good about. If you want to write a YA novel, do it. And make sure to let us know about it so we can all read it as well. Because here is the honest truth: you’re a good writer. And a good writer of narrative non-fiction is probably going to be a good writer of narrative fiction. I would honestly look forward to whatever you are writing and all I ask is that you find a way to keep everyone informed. (I think I’d have a much more “NOOOO” reaction if you said something like you were going to quit twitter.)
That’s my two cents.
No matter what you decide, I think I can honestly say that you have a group of loyal fans/friends/readers who will support you.
Grace and peace,

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Lisa Smith @stretchmarkmama

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I read b/c your writing is some of the most well-thought out words on the web on the subject of faith. I can generally tell when a blogger is writing just to maintain the habit and writing because s/he has something to say. I think there’s value in both approaches, but I prefer reading something of value even if it’s just sporadic.

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S. Kyle Davis

posted January 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

To be completely honest, Jason, I tend to not read more than the two or three line beginnings that blogger gives me for most of your posts these days. I do miss the old days, and stay around to read those off posts that are more light-hearted faire. I know I am probably in the minority there, and that’s fine, but you wanted honesty.
This has nothing to do with the quality of what you’re writing. It’s just that the doubt stuff isn’t as interesting to me. I get it. I know why it’s important. I just don’t really care. Sorry.
That being said, I really like you and your writing, so I look forward to see what you have ahead of you. I think a novel from you would be a really cool idea. As an aspiring novelist myself, I know how to spot the type of creativity you need for fiction. I’ve seen enough people without it to know the difference. Really like that idea.
Anyway, I’m excited to see where you decide to take this. Keep us informed!

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

As a fairly new reader, I don’t feel like I could claim must stake in this blog or its direction, but I did want to share two thoughts:
1. The voices of doubt posts are what brought me here (via MPT) and I would miss them if they weren’t here. You wouldn’t lose me as a reader if they went away, but they’re the reason I kept coming back at first and I think they’re pretty great.
2. I would really love some funny, more playful stuff. Dude, you’re pretty funny.

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Kristian R

posted January 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I’ve often questioned what has been driving your doubt-fueled posts since the release of OMOLF. Doubt, while certainly an important discussion, as you say, isn’t an appropriate diet for the Christian if it’s the exclusive fare. I’m sure you’ve assuaged some fellow-doubters with your honesty, but I’m not sure you’ve inspired many people. You’re a gifted writer, witty, and honest. I would applaud a transition into a new area which would be more emotionally and spiritually preservative, and would allow you to add value and humor to people’s lives, and encourage them to exult in Christ instead of just question him all the time.
My two cents. Asked and answered.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm

1. If you’re a regular, why? What brings you back to this blog?
Like others have said, I appreciate your honesty and frankness. If I think about it, the posts that I specifically remember are the ones about your grandfather. I think that means that I like your storytelling. Storytelling can take a lot of different forms, of course, fiction or non-fiction, your stories or other people’s stories. But I think it’s honesty and storytelling that are the
2. What content suggestions or ideas do you have?
I’ve partially answered this above, but I think the content your blog should be driven by what you feel passionately about.
At the same time as I like the idea of guest blogs, I don’t really read the Voices of Doubt posts, at least not regularly. I skim. And hot-button stuff actually makes me pretty grumpy a lot of the time … especially because I’m Canadian, which means I lean towards peace & love & democratic socialism & free health care for all.
3. If you’re a long-time reader, what has improved or diminished since my move to Beliefnet?
I’ve been reading your blog for less than a year.
4. If you were playing armchair life coach for me, what would you suggest?
Don’t burn out! Do what you must, and then what you love … and unless blogging is a primary source of income, it should be a “love” not a “must” (musts being paying the bills, taking out the garbage, etc and family should be a must and love at the very same time). You should feel free to blog less frequently, or not at all.
5. Should I take this blog a different direction? If I did, would I lose you as a reader?
I can’t really answer that without knowing what direction you plan to take it, but I’d hazard a guess that I’d keep reading. If what you’re currently writing is tiring you … you should take it in a different direction.

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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted January 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I enjoy reading your blog immensely (otherwise, why would I be here?), and I can agree its time for a shift away from doubt (towards the end I got pretty tired of the VOD series too). I’d love some light-hearted stuff, which it sounds like is more interesting for you to write about.
I’d also say 4 blog posts a week is lot.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I came to know you through your book OMOLF. Had you not been as funny, down to earth and self-deprecating as you are, I probably wouldn’t have then searched you out on the Internet. As it is, I keep up with you through Facebook mostly. You have fun and interesting posts and links. If you have a blog topic that catches my eye, then I’ll read it.
So I guess what I’m saying is I would be really sad if you disappeared from Facebook. Not as much from the blog.
I think you could probably do a monthly column from your blog as it is now and keep it going. Or, if you are burned out, give it a break. If after a while you feel a desire to return to it, you should. If you feel it is an albatross lifted from around your neck, then you shouldn’t.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Lots of good advice here. And like you said, one of the handful of reasons I changed/altered my blogging style was so that I could focus my time on my family, writing, etc. I will say this: I miss some of the aspects of your old blog: The humor (You’re HILARIOUS. And somehow, still very thoughtful.) The author tips (I love that you have a sincere/earnest love for your craft–that shows) And the random (You’re great at putting your own spin on a topic or trend).
Don’t be afraid to venture out of the “doubt” topic and into other areas. Doubt is an important topic. But it’s also a heavy topic that can certainly weigh you down some. But please don’t quit (I say that selfishly). But I for one believe your “online” voice is needed.
But ultimately, you have to do what is best for you! I’ll love and follow you either way. And I’ll stalk you on G-chat!

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I love your blog, but I have to admit that the topic of doubt gets old after a while. While we all enjoy a good ham sandwich from time to time, we eventually get tired of that ham sandwich all the same.
Although I don’t think that you should drop the topic of doubt from your blog altogether, I do think it’s time for you to focus on some new topics. These could be weekly, monthly, etc… just whenever you feel like writing them. Moreover, whenever you feel the need to write about doubt, write about it! In my opinion, writing is one of God’s gifts, and it’s very possible that you’re overusing it. Or perhaps you’re overexposing yourself to the topic of doubt and, thus, causing your faith to diminish over time.
As someone who struggles with faith, belief, hope, etc., it would be great to read something inspirational but rational… does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling. Rather than write solely about why you sometimes doubt God’s existence, perhaps you can write about why you believe in Him as well. I remember reading OMOLF and identifying with your opinion about those Christians who believe that God put them in a specific place for a specific reason, you know, to preach the good news and save a soul, etc. But maybe you could share similar stories, such as conversations with friends, readers, fans, and talk about those experiences that caused you to become more faithful. Reasonable faith.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Might I suggest two posts a week? Perhaps on Tuesday and Thursday?
I only say this because it would make a huge difference on your workload, however, the change would probably go unnoticed for many of your readers.
As far as content, I’d say most readers are drawn to your writing because of its humor and honesty.
As long as you retain each of these, I’d suggest you write about whatever you want. After all, there is something to be said for variety. And by allowing yourself to explore whatever is on your mind at the time, it might help you to develop and groom future manuscripts.
Hope that helps in some way.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I follow your tweets and like the mix of “throw-away” and “serious” content. It’s a balance your blog could use. Also, that ache you feel could be a need for spiritual growth. Discuss it with your teacher, or whoever you depend on for guidance in this area.

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Holle Wood

posted January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Jason, I really miss your old blog. The random, never-know-what-you’ll-come-up-with-next blog. You’ve brought to my attention lots of stuff that I would have never heard of or read before. I agree with what Timm said (up at the top) about the just one subject matter getting old. Please don’t stop blogging entirely, but do what you have to to feel refreshed and to enjoy yourself again.

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posted January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Dearest Jason,
I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t been to your BeliefNet blog much at all (except when I was on it…heh). Here’s why:
1. It’s very messy. I can’t handle all the ads or the pop ups or the color scheme.
2. The content IS a lot heavier. I think on your old blog you had a nice balance. It’s probably important to you to cover the serious stuff, but mixing in some of your humor is nice too. That’s why most of us fell in love with your blog! We either loved your books for your humor then stumbled upon your blog–or vice versa.
I think writing fewer posts would be just fine. I have never minded the length of your posts, because they always keep my interest. Don’t overwhelm yourself or burn yourself out. All your fans want you to stick around a while longer. 😉

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posted January 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I’m a newer reader — I’ve only been here since you’ve been on this platform. I discovered you from Rachel’s blog when she reviewed “O Me of Little Faith” which I read at a time that I DESPERATELY needed it.
That said, I totally agree with Rachel about the whole brand thing. You don’t have to be “doubt guy.” You wrote a good book about doubt. If that shows up in other writing I think that’s cool, but I don’t think you should feel obligated to write about a single subject.
I would miss it if you stopped blogging. I think you have a voice that should be heard. And I love the VOD series. Lots. It’s a community I didn’t know I needed and I’m so thankful to see it here.
But ultimately, I think you need to write what works for you. And if that means shutting this down, then you need to do that. Be blessed!

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like a child

posted January 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I came here because of your doubt posts (I haven’t read the book yet). Some of the posts I’ve enjoyed the most were the VOD posts, particularly the one by Robert Cargill. Honestly, I don’t peruse blogs for “fun”, I read them as an antidote to my doubts. So I just have read the ones on doubt and ignored the lighter topics or the hot-buttom issues. That said, since I don’t have much time to read blogs anyways, so if you posted one or two per week, per month, or even per year…that would be fine with me. It would give me more time to read your book;) On another note, children’s lit is in need of better writers, for sure.

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Glen Hoos

posted January 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Nooooo!!! Please Jason we LOVE you and NEED you! The internet will never be the same!
I love your blog, and your perspective on doubt is immensely helpful to me. I enjoy your funny stuff, but the serious posts hit me where I’m at. But I can totally understand your writer’s overload. If you force yourself to keep going when your heart’s not in it, it will eventually be reflected in the quality of your work – not to mention the quality of your life, which is most important. So, if you decide to cut back or change focus, I’ll still be reading whatever you put out and I’m sure I’ll find encouragement from it. Take care of yourself!

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posted January 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

We need more writers to write what they know and love–which is what made OMOLF so good! But how long ago did you actually write that book? I can understand why you’re getting burned out, and if you no longer are passionate about the topic, then it’s definitely time to move on. What currently excites you to write about? What are you learning now? Writers need to grow and develop in their craft as well as content. Some readers will go along with you; some won’t, and that’s okay.
One thing I do know: we need you to keep writing no matter what form it takes!

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posted January 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I’m a regular reader but not a long-time reader. I found your blog through the VOD series. I’m a regular reader of VWM and found you through Jamie’s post. Your blog really speaks to me and I enjoy it immensely. Nevertheless, you need to do what is best for you so I won’t presume to play life coach.
I found your blog at a great time in my own personal faith life and if you shut it down, I will miss it a lot (I really enjoyed the year in review and have been “catching up” while you were on hiatus). If you continue but switch topics, that would be great as I think you have a great perspective on following Jesus that I really relate to and your posts have a humorous and authentic tone to them. If you feel led to discuss other topics, go for it.
In any case, thank you for your blog. I hope to continue being a regular reader and I hope you continue the VOD series or some type of guest blog equivalent whereby others’ blog followers can hear your thoughts.

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David H

posted January 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I don’t think I heard anything from you about what you feel God leading you to do. Prayer should be your main focus for decision-making. Who cares what your readers think?

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posted January 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

If you’re a regular, why? What brings you back to this blog?
Your content is easy to read. It may be longer than some; but, it always flows nicely.
What content suggestions or ideas do you have?
You’re in luck. My blog had like 87 hits last month. You’ve come to the right place for advice. . . . .nevermind. I struggle to come up with one idea per month. If I do come up with a good idea, you are welcome to it. (cliff notes: I’ve got nothing.)
If you’re a long-time reader, what has improved or diminished since my move to Beliefnet?
I wouldn’t say things have improved or diminished…just changed. Some days I prefer the lighter content. Some days I prefer the heavier. You are very good at both.
If you were playing armchair life coach for me, what would you suggest?
Jump into the world of novel writing-syphon some blog material out of it. You will be awesome at this.
I’m betting that a majority of your readers are actually more interested in reading (and discussing) your thoughts on issues that interest you more than they are interested in your thoughts on the issues that interest them. i.e. focus your writing on issues that motivate you rather than issues that you think people want to hear about.
Please don’t write about vampires.
Dial back to 2 posts per week.
happiness = # cookies eaten > blog posts written
Should I take this blog a different direction? If I did, would I lose you as a reader?
I’m ambivalent. Barring a transformation into a wordy apologetic-esque or Justin Bieber fan club blog, I’ll still read.

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Mindful Searcher

posted January 4, 2011 at 11:54 pm

If you’re a regular, why? What brings you back to this blog? I need to hear from those who deal honestly with their doubts, as I struggle to reconcile my own evolving faith life with the demands for Christian orthodoxy.
What content suggestions or ideas do you have? I’d love to hear more about how your faith and faith struggles impact your day-to-day life, more about how you balance the demands of work, family, and service.
If you’re a long-time reader, what has improved or diminished since my move to Beliefnet? I’m sorry that I’ve only recently begun to follow your blog and can’t comment as a long-time reader.
If you were playing armchair life coach for me, what would you suggest? Maybe to lighten up?!
Should I take this blog a different direction? If I did, would I lose you as a reader? I enjoy reading what your write and like your writing style. I’m sure whatever direction you go, I’ll continue to follow your blog.
Read more:

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posted January 5, 2011 at 12:37 am

I love your blog. it is nice to know that i do not have the only unanswered cries, nor am i alone in my wish for faith along with my inability/unwillingness to believe.

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posted January 5, 2011 at 4:51 am

>>If you’re a regular, why? What brings you back to this blog?
The honesty. Easy to read and relate to. I also like VOD segment. :)
>>What content suggestions or ideas do you have?
None. I barely have ideas for mine. 😀
>>If you were playing armchair life coach for me, what would you suggest?
Blog less – once a week is OK. :)
We readers have other blogs to keep us occupied.
Quality over quantity.
>>Should I take this blog a different direction? If I did, would I lose you as a reader?
Yes, why not. :)
No, you would not.

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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted January 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hey Jason,
I know what you mean with realizing that maybe you write too much. I used to stew a little that I could put so much work into writing 1000 words or more, and then someone else could write 13 words and get a zillion comments. I’m gradually figuring out how to get my point across a lot quicker. My goal used to be 900 words, now it’s down to 700 words.
I’ve seen the tonal shift in your content, and while it’s been a great discussion, every discussion has to have a conclusion at some point. You may put doubt away as a topic for a couple of years, and find you have some fresh things to say about it. I know it’s probably been great for some of your readers, but focusing so heavily on doubt may have proven to be a bit of a downer for others.
I’m sure whatever direction you go, it’ll be good. I read your blog because you’re genuine, whatever it is you’re writing about. A shift will be good, both for your readers and for you.

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posted January 5, 2011 at 10:05 am

I am an occasional reader and enjoy what I find here. Here’s my advice: if you continue the blog, write whatever you want to write. If it is satire, write it. If it is humor, write it. If it is your grocery list, write it. Write what you enjoy and good things will come.

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posted January 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Posts like this are the reason I keep reading. You’re one of the few bloggers I carve out time to read and it’s because I never feel like you’re talking AT me. It has a conversational feel, and you don’t pretend to have it all collected and together.

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David N.

posted January 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I read your blog because you are one of the voices putting into words the experience of our generation of American Christians. It all comes down to honesty. You write what many of us think and feel. You (and others) put down in writing an expressed shared experience that we can point to and say “Yes!”
That said, I am in favor of writers writing what is on their minds, regardless of whether it is “on topic” with their previous writing or not. Write about what is stimulating your thinking at that time, with honesty, and it will be worthwhile. It is more about community and solidarity between readers and writers than anything else, so don’t feel any need to maintain a certain theme (like doubt) just for the sake of those who have been encouraged by it.
We have been encouraged, more than anything, by your honesty, and continuing to write about a theme that is no longer pushing you as it once did is not honest. Write what you feel like. We’ll keep reading.

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posted January 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm

You could consider me a leecher of Christian counter-culture blogs. I consume much more than I produce, but I think I enjoy analyzing the greater trends more than providing my own opinions. I started with a little bit on Jon Acuff and Donald Miller, and from there launched into the waters that make up the “ring” of blogs, authors, and thinkers of a counter-cultural revolution happening in the Church.
Because of this blog, I’ve gotten to know Rachel Held Evans, Matt Appling, Jamie Wright, and Anne Jackson. Add to that fact that you give a platform for creatives like Bryan Allain and Wes Molebash, to and you start realizing that a group of visionaries has formed. You are in the process of unpacking the Beauty of the Church that has been hidden in old boxes stored in the attic. You’re putting that Beauty on display for the world to see.
I believe a new direction is fine, but I’ve always considered this blog to be the central hub of thought on this movement. It’s like all the heavyweights I’ve listed above get to go out and think on their own blogs for a bit, then come here for a week and deliver powerful ideas that could change the world. Meanwhile, little ones like me still get to have a say in the comments. Therefore, in my opinion it’s very important to continue to cultivate the ground God has blessed you with, in whatever way you feel led.

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bryan a

posted January 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

hesitant to write because this hits pretty close to home to me. let me see if i can distill my thoughts down into a few points.
1. I liked your blog better before because it resonated more with me. Like MPT said, i liked when you talked more about the craft of writing. And i liked the dumb conversations with yourself. Before it felt like I was following you when i was reading your blog, now it feels like I’m following your thoughts on doubt/faith. It’s more focused now, I guess, and i don’t know that i like it.
2. That being said, all the advice out there is to narrow your niche and focus your blog. And i think it’s good advice. Doing this with Doubt has probably brought you new/different followers. but if you are losing interest in it, then so are your readers.
3. Platform is a funny thing. When you don’t have it, it’s the one thing you need to have. But if you have it, it doesn’t seem to matter as much as they said it would. But like you’ve said, you’ve earned yours and i dont think it just goes away even if you closed up this blog tomorrow. Your friends would find you at your next venture. So would your fans. (maybe not all of them). And if you were doing great things, others would find you too.
hmm…maybe I’ll email you the rest.

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posted January 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I agree with Seeking Pastor – Write as you feel led. Don’t quash your thoughts. How can we really know you if you don’t share your thoughts. Additionally, go down the path that God is leading you – if it’s a children’s book, it will be extremely successful if that is His plan. How can you be sure it’s not if you don;t try?

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Charlotte Smith

posted January 6, 2011 at 2:42 am

I’m completely new to your blog, my best friend suggested your blog to me while we were in a conversation about Science and Christianity. My personal belief is that they are both correct. Translating languages to English is not easy and I think it is very possible that words here and there could be translated slightly off of where they should be. For instance to me Science and the Bible make more sense to me in Genesis if you exchange the word “day” for “eon” it just seems to fit. I would really like to see your point of view on that topic.
On another note writing about doubt in Christianity and even talking about it, is really hard for me. It’s not the explaining why Christianity is so amazing, or why I will always believe no matter what. But it’s the process of trying to answer the unanswerable questions that we have no way of knowing the answer to. I honestly believe that some of those questions we’re not meant to know the answer to.
You should spend your time doing things that you enjoy doing. Too much of life is spent doing things that are just “work”. But that’s just my opinion. It took me almost losing my mother to a suicide attempt, my grandmother dying, a deployment to Iraq, and my grandfather dying to finally believe completely in God. If you wish I can explain more about that another time.
Good luck in your career, and I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Charlotte Smith

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Jana Riess

posted January 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

Jason, I completely understand about the burnout question. I aim for five days a week at Beliefnet (and that’s what is stipulated in my contract), but it doesn’t always happen. And even when it does, some of the posts I worked hardest to craft attract little attention, and others I wrote on the fly take off, much to my mystification (and sometimes mortification, as I look back on them later and realize how half-baked they were). Next year, when my contract is up, I hope to negotiate a less insane schedule, or else I will move my blog elsewhere.
One thing that has helped me a good deal is having guest bloggers at least once a week. Judging from the impressive quality of comments here for this post, some of your regular readers could be excellent resources for you to draw on as you enlarge your conversations.
I agree with the tenor of these comments: your honesty, and your humor, are wonderful assets in your writing. Do whatever you need to create the space for those assets to flourish.
P.S. I am a ridiculously fanatical YA reader and would love to see you try your hand at that.

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Larry Shallenberger

posted January 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

A YA novel?
What a small world? I’m deep into the first draft of my first attempt. If you do down this road I want to compare notes.

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