Encouragement, discouragement, and publicity
As I sit here finishing my raspberry Italian soda at Grounds for Thought (oh how I’ll miss this coffee shop when I’m gone!), I’m contemplating my writing, both my blogging and my article and book writing. I’ve been both encouraged and discouraged to write recently. Strangely, publicity has neither really encouraged or discouraged me, but it has been a touch overwhelming. Also, I can’t figure out how to make publicity rhyme with encouragement and discouragement (which don’t actually rhyme since they simply have the same final sound).
Anyway, I’ll begin with the encouragement. First of all, all of you, my readers, have been a source of encouragement for me. The response I get when I post encourages me to post again. Secondly, my husband John has been amazing and supportive of my writing endeavors. Rather than asking me to pursue writing as a hobby and look for a profitable career, he has accepted and then prompted me to act on my desire to become a barista and writer. Also, I have been blessed with the most spectacular friends. They, along with John, tell me the truth about my writing, help me edit, and push me to keep writing. Finally, all of the people (mostly friends) who have heard my story and then told me that I should write a novel have motivated me to actually pursue the idea… or at least to continue writing and blogging while I begin my novel.
The encouragement is very… well, encouraging. It motivates me and pushes me to carry on when I’m discouraged, down, or frustrated. I’m frequently very insecure about my writing and sadly let that fear inhibit my writing. I choose to do so, which is not fun to admit, but it is true. I could choose to write every single day. I want to write every day. I want to improve and hone my skills. I could choose to edit my writing and really pursue what I say I want, but I let myself be discouraged. I let myself believe that I am a terrible writer. I let myself think that people don’t care about what I have to say. I become discouraged and don’t write. It’s something I think every artist/writer struggles with. The truth is that my identity isn’t in my writing or how much I achieve as a writer or otherwise. The truth is that my identity is in God as His child, and I could accomplish absolutely nothing with my life and He would still love me. Of course, He wants me to be obedient and follow Him. Right now, at this very moment, that means writing this post. In the next few weeks, it looks like writing a book proposal and a query letter, then sending that query letter to agents. Then it means packing everything I own into a suitcase and my backpack, boarding a plane, and moving to Portland with little to no money. If God really did tell us to go, He will provide. I would be a liar if I said that I was totally confident in that; I doubt it almost constantly. Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, I often find myself discouraged and staring at a blank screen that just begs me to begin typing and fill it with words if only I could get past and out of my own mind and fear.
Then came the publicity. I actually finished an article, which sometimes feels like a small miracle in and of itself. It wasn’t anything I was proud of; in fact, the subject matter was rather personal and embarrassing. However, it was published on Relevant’s website, along with an article John wrote from his perspective. The response I received was surprising, from the e-mails and questions I received to the debates and personal attacks in the comments on Relevant. I wasn’t really prepared for it, though I should have known to expect it. A week later, a writer from CNN.com contacted us and asked if he could link our articles to CNN’s belief blog. We said yes; the response was entirely overwhelming. People were really reading what I had written and contacting me. Random people who have mutual friends were asking if we had written these articles. We even got interview requests. After praying and thinking about them, we turned down a TV appearance and accepted a radio show interview for a Christian radio show in New Zealand. That interview was yesterday night; it was intense and surreal. I still don’t believe it.
I have mixed feelings about all of the publicity we’ve received as a result of these articles. The article I wrote certainly wasn’t I wanted to be known for. Our purpose in writing them wasn’t to bring attention to ourselves, but rather to exhort and encourage people in their lives and walks with Christ. Even though the attention makes me uncomfortable, I am encouraged that people were touched. Knowing that I was obedient in writing and publishing this article and that people were touched and helped makes all of the negative attention and discomfort worth it. A follow-up article, jointly written by John and myself, will be appearing soon. I’ll not give away the date and let you all be surprised. 🙂
This post has been a bit more personal than most that I write, but since you all read my writing, I thought I’d share a bit of what I think about my writing. What are your thoughts? Areas I could improve in? Adventures you would like to hear about?