Timeline (for reference):
Jan 2019-Dec 2019 (Year One) Setup, preparation, writing and collation of everything for the blog to go live.
Jan 2020 – Dec 2020 (Year Two) The blog launches in Jan with the podcast going live in June.
Jan 2021 – Dec 2021 (Year Three) TBC…
I write this in Dec 2019, the blog will launch in a matter of days…
Well – it has been a year since I started properly preparing for When Belief Dies to go live. It feels like so much longer, with all the prep and planning that went into the blog that took place before a single post was published here. I hope that by the time this is published, the podcast and a couple of episodes of the audio version of the blog will be out. I am currently spending a fair amount of time getting the YouTube channel ready and preparing on Anchor so that we can upload and distribute the content from there as well.
What did I hope to have accomplished by a year? Honestly, just to have continued to write a blog post each week and edit it fully. To begin to build a community of followers who want to engage with honest reflections and thoughts about faith, religion and life. The extras that I wanted to aim for where to begin engaging on social media more – mainly Twitter and to keep my Facebook Page and Instagram ticking over.
One of the highlights of this year is joining a good few Facebook Groups, all of which aim at linking together people who have deconverted from a religious framework. I have made some really good friends in these groups, having text chats and video calls with a couple in particular and being encouraged in my story and my aim with When Belief Dies.
I want people to be able to have a place that they can turn to, where they know that the dialogue will be clear and the reflections will be honest. So that when people are in pain and they feel as though no one understands, they have this website and then a community that links out from this website in various groups, social media channels and iterations. I think we are getting there with the foundations for that, though I do have some ideas that we can try out to improve this in the future.
It’s been brilliant to see various people engaging in a variety of ways. For example, I tend to post on Instagram twice a week and have seen a steady growth on that particular social media platform – for instance, I now have a couple of hundred follows there compared to the blog itself, which is only just hitting the low hundred.
On Instagram I respond to every comment, but rarely do I comment or engage beyond what I post myself. Twitter is another story, it has been growing bit by bit, but Twitter takes a lot of work to engage and communicate out from. People won’t follow you unless you are getting stuck in, posting regularly and engaging at an active pace. I have had some amazing Facebook messages onto my Facebook page (thank you – you know who you are), but have also noticed the most push back there compared to anywhere else. Interestingly it seems to be the older generations who respond to my posts on Facebook, when they don’t know me, mainly to tell me I am wrong and that I just need to believe in God and do some research. At least I seem to be providing something for them to engage with, for better or worse. It’s fascinating to see the kinds of people who are on different social media platforms. I had no idea a year ago – I have learnt a ton.
It’s been great to begin to find my voice and to realise there is a wide world of ideas, thoughts and beliefs, some which run counter to my own, and some that seem to fade lines I once thought unfadeable as a conservative church leader. This year has enabled me to understand the basics of blogging, to begin to grasp the concept of podcasting and to realise than I honestly want to do this full time one day.
I would love to get involved in counter apologetic videos, responding to Christian blogs, writing articles for magazines and journals, live debates (online and in-person). There is the podcast that I want to hone and develop, I want to record each blog post so that this content can reach many more in audio format and I want to get better equipment to continue to keep this professional and current.
Something else I have realised over the year is how much I hate adverts. Whether on a podcast or a website, if something is taking my attention away for the content I wanted to engage with, I am unimpressed. This is getting to the point where I am starting to unsubscribe to things if they aren’t able to either create a paywall or Patreon to deal with the costs of releasing their content.
I don’t want you to worry though, I am never going to make anyone pay for having access to any of the content I share, both here on the blog and the podcast.
I have also read a lot this year and have really enjoyed sharing with you all the book reviews of the religious or philosophical books I have read. I think this is definitely something I will be continuing to do, it really helps me to learn and grow, as I think through what I have read and aim to allow it to help me understand what I think and why I think it. It might sound strange, but what you read can and does change what you think. It’s important to recognise it as it is happening, it will teach you a lot about yourself and how you are convinced. I might do some podcast reviews at some point as well, as I have subscribed and unsubscribed to a fair few this year, retaining only a couple that has really kept my interest.
All in all, I am sure you can tell, this year has been one heck of a journey for me. I have come to a deeper understanding of who I am and what I believe. I have learnt a lot about social media and communication. I have made some incredible friendships with some amazing people all over the world. I am really excited about the next year and will continue to share my journey with you all.
There is hardship, pain, interesting, enjoyment and discovery ahead – but isn’t that life in general?
Stats Tracker (Dec 2019)
Blog Subs: 0
Patreon Supporters: 0
Twitter Followers: 89
Instagram Followers: 19
Facebook Page Likes: 0
Facebook Page Followers: 3
YouTube Subs: 1
Estimated Weekly Audience (podcast): 0
The above was written in Dec 2019, the rest is written in Dec 2020 🙂
Finally – I need support on Patreon. If you like what I do here and/or on the podcast, then please consider supporting me over there. I have no one supporting me right now and for this to grow and develop I need your support. If you can, then please do. Plus for the first 10 people that support me on Patreon before the end of Jan 2021, I will send out one handwritten letter thanking them for their support at some point over the next couple of months.
Here’s to another year of When Belief Dies – I hope you enjoy the journey.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
Support: The podcast and blog will always be advertisement-free, and your generous support on Patreon will enable us to continue doing this effectively and to a higher standard over the years to come. Please consider supporting the work we do.
Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen via YouTube. I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am. For early access, support me on Patreon.
Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly twelve months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
If you want to get every post straight to your inbox then you can do that by either following directly via WordPress or with your email address, whichever you prefer. The links for that and social media are to the right if you’re on a computer, or at the very bottom if you’re on a phone or tablet.
I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂