Wednesday, December 9, 2015
How did it happen? When I first became a writer I started with a clear vision. I knew my path. I knew the direction I wanted to go. And then, somehow, I lost my way.
This didn't take place suddenly, but over time. The whirlwind of platform building, social media demands, watching other writers pass me by, trying to write toward the market, wanting to be noticed, trying to find ways of saying, "look at me" without saying "look at me" created a whirlwind pushing me this way, then that way.
A small voice inside me often whispered, remember who you are. This bothered me because I no longer had any idea. I was a struggling writer. Struggling with emotions of defeat, envy, frustration, and the temptation to compromise, maybe even quit.
Last week, while having coffee with Jesus, I asked him to help me find my way again. Later that day I received a newsletter from Jerry Jenkins. The title caught my eye. It read:
Why I Never Aim for the Bestseller List (and You Shouldn't Either)
Interesting title seeming how he has been on many bestseller lists. So I read on. He named four contemporary books in which most everyone would recognize by the title. No one would have to Google them. The reason? They were all message books. Jerry wrote how the authors had stated they were as surprised as anyone at the success their work. What was really on their minds as they wrote was the writing. For some it was the message and/or the their mission. He stated these authors cared about what they were writing, about their readers, and communicating.
He ended with this encouragement, write with passion, don't think about bestseller lists. If you do this the rest (lists) will take care of itself.
That was exactly the word I needed. I was so busy worrying about succeeding, feeling sorry for myself as I choked on the dust of other's success as they sprinted past me, frantically trying to do something—anything—to gain someone's attention, I stumbled off the work, the mission, and the message I was given to write.
I've always known my purpose in writing and speaking is to inspire, validate, encourage, and help others. If I am faithful in doing this, the Lord will take care of the rest. Lists or no lists. No matter if I sell twenty books or two million books, I will be faithful to my path.
Does this mean I won't build my platform. No, I will continue to build. But it won't consume or defeat me. I'll rejoice with those who succeed and help those who struggle.
I have found there is peace in a writing partnership with God.