Friday, August 14, 2015

Update on the Book I Am Not Writing

Lately, I've been floundering in my writing. The other night, I was admiring (yes, admiring...don't act like you've never done that) my collage meme from the last post, Trust and Follow, and I thought, "Gee, that looks like a book cover. Maybe I should write a book on this subject and self-publish it. Here's my not-yet-written book cover:



I visit other bloggers' sites on a daily basis, see their beautiful pages, and read about their latest book. They have a program, they have speaking engagements, they have a plan. I have a full-time job, a blog, and a whimsical nature that draws me into the woods on weekends. A pinch of self-pity, a little pride, and apparently, a chip on my shoulder at the moment.

Since I'm confessing, I may as well tell you that I'm a little jealous. Everyone seems to have a book, even if it's a 10 page e-book being offered to all new subscribers. 


When my writing dream got a bit skewed, I decided to ask God, "What do YOU want me to write?" I figured that made me sound holy and genuine (as if I could fool God?)

I asked this question repeatedly over the next few days, but each time, before I gave God time to answer, I moved on to the next writing resource book, a new blank Word document, the stack of blog posts to be compiled into a book.


"Where do I start?" I finally asked the empty room. 

I wasn't really asking God, because I hadn't stopped long enough to listen for the answer to the last question. Probably because in my heart, I already knew the answer and I didn't like it.


When I asked Him again the other night, I heard this:


"Listen."


So I did. For about 10 seconds. God truly has a sense of humor, because He got something in during that 10 seconds.


"What makes you think you're supposed to write a book right now?"


Well, THAT'S not what I wanted to hear! No book? But Goooooood, everyone else has a book. I waaaaant one tooooooo! (can you hear the whining?) If I can't write a book, then what am I supposed to write?


Gee, how about the blog?


I love blogging. Thoughts and stories come easily. I just write about my life and the stupid things I do or say or think (like this), and surprisingly, people actually read it. A blog post is relatively easy to write. There are no deadlines and there is no pressure. Maybe that's why I enjoy it so much.


Until I start comparing. And coveting. And getting jealous. And feeling like I need to do more. Write more. Speak more. Be more. 


I begin to buy into the idea that what I have and what I do is not enough. Therefore, I'm not enough.


I had to ask myself some hard questions.


  • Why is it so important to me to write a book? 
  • Do I subscribe to the belief that unless and until I write a book, I'm not a "real" writer? 
  • Do I think that will earn me more respect or favor? And if so, among whom?
  • Is my significance, worth or value wrapped up in "how far along" I am in my writing? 
  • Can I just write for the pure sake of writing?  
  • If I never write a book, will that be okay?
  • If I do write a book, and it doesn't sell, will that be okay?
  • If I do write a book, and it's a success, will that be okay?
  • Would I be content if I never write anything except blog posts?
  • Am I prepared to accept whatever assignment God gives me, regardless of the size?
Not only did I have to answer these questions honestly, but I had to confess my sins of jealousy, greed (covetousness), and pride--and face the fact that I was falling into the trap of insecurity I thought I'd left behind. I called it what it was, and then refused to allow it to grow. I cut it off and looked to God for guidance.



Forgive me, Lord.

When we fall prey to jealousy and ungodly comparison, it's because we're not secure in who God made us to be.

Dear reader, you may or may not be a writer. You may have other dreams, desires, and gifts that you are either putting to use or allowing to stagnate. 

Maybe you're comparing yourself and your gifts and talents to others in your field. Perhaps you are coveting someone else's good fortune, God-ordained appointment, or joy--the fruit of their hard work and obedience to God.

Why not ask yourself the same questions I did, replacing all words having to do with writing with your specific dream, desire, gift, or talent.

If you have a dream, follow it. But when you start feeling disconnected from your dream, ask yourself if the dream you're following is bigger than the God you serve. If it is, your dream, like mine, just may be a bit skewed.

Is your dream your priority or is your God?

If you never get "promoted" to what you think success looks like, will it be enough that you serve God?

Blessings along the path, regardless of its size,
Mare

I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens...I can do all this by the power of Christ. He gives me strength. (Phil 4:11,13)

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42 comments:

  1. Sensational post, Mary! You do write so well. Entertaining. Personal. Powerful. Loved this post, taking me back to our conversations at conference and the questions you wrestled with there. I'm thinking, "in due season"---enjoy the blessings of the season you're in. As a blogger you are certainly making the most of it! Bravo!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Kathryn. Your encouragement means a lot to me. Now that I've let it go (sort of...I keep wanting to write that book! But as you say...in due season), I'm actually enjoying my writing and my life in general so much more. We put so much pressure on ourselves and then wonder why we feel so anxious! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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    2. I've been struggling with these same issues. So glad you put it into words!

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    3. So many of us do, Thea. Glad to see you here!

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  2. A much-needed post, dear Mary! Each of us is a unique masterpiece created for God’s purpose. The safest place to be is in the center of His will. Thank you for your faithfulness!


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    1. Thank you, MaryAnn! I have to die to this daily, because I want, I want, I want rises out of my bed before my physical body does. Ugh! Thanks for taking the time to visit my little blog.

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  3. Oh, my! We are not only neighbors on BlessingCounters, we are kindred spirits. (Thanks for your encouraging comments on my pieces, btw). This is so transparent and spoke to me in places I would rather it be silent. :)

    Why do we do that to ourselves? It seems I am always running back to God to ask, "Am I doing enough; Is this what you want." I want to live forward, in victory, enjoying each others' company but not comparing myself to their progress. The only way I can do that is keeping my eyes on God.

    Thank you for this honest reflection on what so many are thinking. You are a very gifted writer. And if that book does come one day, I'm certain it will be amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Christi. I love your writing and your transparency as well. I've no doubt if we met IRL, we'd click right away. I do have several book ideas, and I even had a proposal for one, but it's just not the right timing. I'm pretty sure of that, based on how much lighter I feel having let it go. We want to "do" for God, but sometimes, He doesn't want us to, especially if it means seeking our own glory. Ugh! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. I loved reading this. It hit home in a lot of ways. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Cuz! Yes, it's not just about writing...not at all.

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  5. Love this Mary! It's so hard not to play the compare game, but it's one I'm trying to avoid too. Just praying to glorify God . . . to keep my eyes on Him and staying open to His direction. This really encouraged me. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! I think we all fall into that trap, no matter what we do for a living, or for ministry.

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  6. I wish I could say I've won this battle. In my 7 years of blogging, this is something I struggle with continually. Thank you for sharing your hear.

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  7. Barbie, I'm sure this will rear its ugly head again. I still want the darned book. But I have to trust in God's timing, because when I try to push my agenda, I lose my peace. I think all of us creative people have that tendency...

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  8. WOW Mary - and this question is so good: This question: Is your dream your priority or is God? It is heart-searching, thought provoking, seek God and listen for days kind of question. Thank you for keeping it real and being personal in your sharing - genuinely authentic is the word I would use. Stopping by from Sharing His Beauty

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    1. Wow, Debbie, those are some really complimentary words! Thank you so much! I struggle daily...thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Words I needed to hear today. This has been a providential read!

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    1. Thanks, Michele. And when I hopped over to your blog, I saw that you'd written along the same lines. It takes courage to give up our ideas of what our dream "should" look like, doesn't it?

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  10. It seems like the direct route every blogger should take, Mary. And though I have a couple of ebooks that I put together, they are not what I consider "official" books. I am working on one that will be an "official" book at some point and, let me tell ya, it's not all that glamorous or exciting to do every day. I tweeted recently something like "writing a book is like building a house, while blogging is like putting a shingle on that house." I said that to give aspiring writers a peek into the daunting challenge writing a book is and can be.

    You are so naturally funny, Mary, that I know God is going to use that in some way. For now He is using your humor marvelously here and preparing you all the while for your next step. I have been blogging since 2009 and feel like all of that time has been needed to be "somewhat" prepared for writing a book. Be patient with yourself, dear friend! You are a gem in God's hand this very day--not some day after having "author" after your name. Don't ever forget that!

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    1. Beth, you always have such wonderfully encouraging words! I wish we lived closer so we could meet for coffee and you could tell me wonderful things all the time! Haha. But seriously, thank you for your encouragement. And yes, writing a book is a daunting task, not for the wimpy! I'm sure that your book will be terrific, once it's done, edited, revised, edited some more, picked apart, edited again, rewritten, edited again and published. I'll be the first to buy it, and I promise, I'll try not to be jealous!

      I told the Hubbles last night that I was spending an awful lot of time on my blog and not much anywhere else, then thought about that and said, "But you know, it's where I'm happiest right now." In His time...thanks for stopping by, my friend!

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  11. Hi Mary,
    I love the raw honesty here! I think it will touch the heart of everyone with a goal or a dream. I feel so much of what you wrote. Thank you so much!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Thanks, Lori. I don't think it matters if your dream is writing or something else. We all have to experience that "death of a dream" so that we can live the dream. Thanks for your kind words, and for taking a few minutes to visit.

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  12. I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.

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  13. Dear Mary,
    I woke up this morning feeling the same type of discouragement as you describe above. Am I good enough? Why does it take me so long to figure things out? I asked the Lord to direct me and encourage my heart and get me back to why I write. So I know that it is not by accident that on the RA RA link up yours is the post in front of mine to visit. "God knows my name." Amen!

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    1. Don't you just love when God answers prayer like that? I'm so glad my post was an encouragement to you today, Valerie. I think there are a lot more like us out there than we think! Be encouraged-you ARE good enough. God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called. Keep writing!

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  14. Wow, I can so relate! We have such an inner drive for significance, meant to be filled with the knowledge that we are God's precious children. How often, though, don't we try to fill that need for significance with other things - like writing the next successful book, or at least blog post that goes viral ;) I love how you honestly acknowledged the sin that is wrapped up in this. Helped me to see much of the same in my own heart. Thank you.
    Blessings,
    Kamea

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    1. Thanks, Kamea Hope. I just wrote from my heart and am finding so many people who can relate! I love how you put it-We have such an inner drive for significance, meant to be filled with the knowledge that we are God's precious children. Yes!

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  15. All good stuff Mary! This made me think the most, "Is your dream your priority or is your God?" I've felt that sting too of God telling me not now regarding a dream I have in my heart. Here's to hunkering down and making God our priority knowing that at the right time he'll make all the details fall into place. ♥ Your neighbor over at Holley's today

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    1. Sting is such an appropriate word, Heather! Thanks for stopping in to visit.

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  16. Your words are actually a theme with me right now so I really enjoyed reading them. I just read Emily Freeman's new book, Simply Tuesday, and she calls us to be okay with our smallness and ordinary living because it is here that we are doing our kingdom work. Simple words with a big message that God's plan for each of us is big for us and our big may look like just staying where we are and honoring Him in the ordinary of our days. Good to see you! Visiting you from Messy Marriage.

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    1. That's great advice---but she has a book and she's no longer small (she said somewhat sarcastically, with a hint of jealousy--an ongoing issue she attempts to crucify daily). But seriously, that IS good advice. If we have big dreams, God has to know how we will act being small before we can become big. If we can't handle what He's giving us as bloggers, as "small potatoes," how will He be able to trust us with more? Ordinary is really not all that terrible! Thanks for the visit, Mary. Always good to see you in the blogging circles.

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  17. Mare, I'm over here because of your beautiful, heart prayer in my comment box this morning. It totally brought me to tears. THIS POST....you wrote my heart. I could sign these words with my name and use it (I won't) - I believe you have captured every single blogger's soul in this piece of writing. And, trust me, girl, YOU ARE A WRITER. Looking for Twitter thingy so I can share it. Be my friend, please....xoxoxo

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    1. I will, Susan! I confess, I don't like when people comment, then say, please read my blog and like and follow or follow me on Titter and then ask me to follow-but I know your heart is not in that place. I'll be happy to follow you! Going over there now too....maybe we'll bump into each other in our Twitter stupor---I'm still trying to figure out how Twitter works!

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    2. I didn't mean "be my FB or Twitter friend" I meant BE MY FRIEND, SISTER, in spirit and soul and flesh and blood. LOL. I know I like you. We can hike!

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  18. Dear Mary, it sounds like you are well on your way to obedience to Him in this matter. I pray that He will continue to mold and shape you in His perfect image!

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  19. I can NOT even say how very very much I needed to read this!! I was having an emotional hormonal comparing break down last night and this just spoke right to my core. Thank you so much for sharing this on my blog! Blessings to you!

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    1. Aw, Winter I am so glad it ministered to you. Who needs a book when we can touch the lives of someone right on our blog? That comparison thing is such an ugly beast! Sometimes i see the blogs of others and they are so beautiful and I think, mine is simple and quirky and unpolished and not lovely and calm and flowy. But simple and quirky and unpolished is who I am--it's a reflection of my personality and to change the look would mean that I'm trying to be someone I'm not. Be blessed. What you have is a unique gift.

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  20. I'm your neighbor at Reflecting Linkup today - and is THIS ever timely! It's hard to write a post and send it into the blogosphere wondering if ANYone is reading it. I have to remind myself on a regular basis, to trust. To trust God's plan for my writing. It may not be a book. It may just be a post here and there that reaches just the right someone at just the right time, and I may never know. But I do trust - because I pray to glorify God through my writing. And I think He'll make sure of it...

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    1. Janet, I just saw your comment--I am so sorry I didn't reply sooner. Just like your comment says, you send things into the blogosphere wondering if anyone reads them---like your comment! It's so easy to get caught up in numbers too (how many likes, etc)! We need to just write to write, and to glorify God in the process. Blessings to you, my friend.

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