I’ve been a seminarian, twice. I’ve been a blogger during both programs: a MA and a ThM through Western Seminary. While in my MA program I was employed (mostly) full-time working a graveyard shift at a lockdown facility for adolescents who had been placed there for various mental health or legal reasons. It could be very stressful at times as you can imagine. Then I lived about an hour away from campus, so my commute to class (during the day, when I wanted to be sleeping) was far from convenient. If you read through this blog’s archives from 2006-2009 you will see (1) that the post are less frequent and (2) lower in quality.
When I graduated I went into my ThM directly. I worked full time during that program as well, but I worked on campus as an Enrollment Counselor and I took a course load of no more than two classes in a semester. This is when this blog attracted readership, finally, since I had been blogging since late 2004 (this blog has archives back to early 2005).
Blogging as a seminarian can be difficult. If you browse the blogosphere you will find the carcasses of many blogs, or if alive you will find them on their last breath. There isn’t enough time in a day to blog as a seminarian, unless:
(1) You know those notes you are typing during class? That one paragraph of thought that is inspired by something your professor said is enough for a blog post. If you collect four or five of those you have a week’s worth of post.
(2) You know that book review you had to write. That can be morphed into a blog post as well, maybe a few.
(3) You know that link your professor shared in class to a website that helps you with your Greek paradigms? Others may want to know about it as well. You can make it into a blog post.
(4) Finally, you know that classmate who complained that s/he can maintain her/his blog? If you blog together, voilà, like Captain Planet (for you younger readers, go here) “your powers combined” have created a blog that may be self-sustaining. Add another classmate, or a student from a nearby seminary, and your blog might thrive.
The mistakes seminarians make when trying to blog are (1) thinking each entry has to be article worthy, as if some magazine or journal is waiting to offer you the opportunity to transition your blog post into something publishable and (2) forgetting that more than one contributor doesn’t hurt your blog. It helps! (I should know. I have had more than a half-dozen other contributors over the years, though I do 95% of the blogging now).
Finally, remember, no, most people do not want to read the blog of a first or second year seminary student, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog. If you want to blog you will benefit from having a place where you have stored notes and past thoughts on categorized subjects (FYI, you will want to make sure your blog categories and tags are well-defined). You will develop a semi-frequent discipline of writing, even when classes are not in session. When you graduate, you will have some readership, and if you choose to continue blogging after seminary as a pastor, counselor, social worker, or whatever vocation you enter after seminary, you won’t be starting from scratch. So blog now, blog for your own benefit, and consider what I wrote above as advice as to how one should go about maintaining a blog during these difficult-to-maintain-a-blog years of your life!