This is the Journal I’ve Always Wanted

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I’ve kept a journal since I was a little girl, I just haven’t kept one very well. I promised I’d write in it daily, but I would miss days at a time, and then days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it I had forgotten I’d even had a journal. But, I would try it again and again it would fail.

I never could figure out why I couldn’t keep one. I also tried not putting a lot of pressure on myself to write in it daily, but that didn’t help either. When blogging got popular, I thought “YAY!, this will be much easier”, but again not! I think now I know why.

Every journal I started was about topics that I had minimal experience or knowledge in. It’s hard to write about something you don’t know much about and also if you don’t have a passion for what you’re writing about.

So, when I got the idea to start “Growing Up in Grace“, I planned it out on paper. I prayed if God wanted me to do it and I asked myself some tough questions like, “why do I want to do this project?”, “what will my topics be about?”, “who will be my target audience and how will I get them to follow the blog?” I mapped out every detail. Even where I would get images from and how I would tie them into each post.

I also decided that this would be my ministry where nothing on it makes me any money at all. This is all about my passion for Christ, to understand His grace more, to share my struggles in a real, down-to-earth format. I don’t want to cut corners or sweep over certain emotions to appear religious…I want to be real with my audience. Being a Christian is wonderful but it is also tasking and there are times I want to give up. I wanted to write about that, share how I work through those emotions and get back on track.

I love God with all my heart, but I do struggle living for Him and by writing down what I feel, I hope it will relate with someone who reads GUIG and at the same time help me work through my stuff so that God in the end gets the glory.

So, after I prayed, I kicked the idea around for a few days. That’s not typical for me. When I get an idea for a new project, I jump in feet first! Well, not this time. Journaling is a commitment, much like marriage. Marriage takes effort to be successful. I didn’t get married for a week and then abandoned it. And journaling can’t be something I do for a week and put down. So I had to really think and ponder that.

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I also had to be sure I really have a passion to be committed, in other words… “is this a burden that I can’t ignore?” I took a look at other blogs on the internet taking notes about what I liked about them. I decided to have a catchy blog titles. You only get mere seconds to catch someone’s attention so my titles have to do that.

Other questions I asked myself were: “what kind of headlines can I come up with?” “How do I engage my target audience with just a phrase?” “What categories would my writings be about?” “Would it be devotional-type, poems, or simply thoughts like in a letter?”

Once, I answered all those questions, it was time to look to do the work First, I had to look for an appropriate theme. What colors do I like? What fonts do I like? I also kept referring back to my notes to ensure I was keeping with my original idea but making notes along the way as things changed or if I had to shift gears a bit.

One thing I really wanted was a clean, elegant, and simple blog look. I knew I was onto something when I began looking at themes and I came across beautiful minimalist themes. I started out with Blogger but I began to want to do more with the blog. I wanted to add additional features to it such as a bible search feature, a video library, featured posts and categories. So, it made sense to go to WordPress.

I knew right away what theme I wanted and that is Kemet. I like this theme because everything is customizable, I have so much design and creative control. It’s pretty easy to understand even without much documentation. I use this theme on my day job as well. It works for any time of business or personal.

And, what I like most about GUIG is that it’s for fun and no stress. I can’t run out of ideas of what to write since my subject is my life’s journey. I decided I’d post to a few social networks and just let it get found without doing too much advertising.

I wanted a journal that I would feel no pressure working on. I can focus on the writing which I love so much. And, if I don’t post every day or even miss a whole month, no worries! I’m not on any time schedule, I post when I’m inspired to write or if I have extra time. Now, that says something! This isn’t work for me, it’s pleasure and it’s the journal I’ve always wanted!

Kim McDougal

Kim is the founder and creator of Growing Up in Grace. By day, she's the Director of Interactive Communications for the Hispanic chamber located in Jax, FL. Kim also owns "Beautiful Food Photography" and sells her handmade greeting cards and vintage art printables on Etsy.