Thursday, April 25, 2013
A One Word Update of Sorts
When I chose Focus as my One Word for 2013, I intended to post about it monthly-ish to keep me accountable. Since I'm doing a pretty poor job of Focusing, I've procrastinated on the updates. It's hard to be accountable when you're not even sure what you're supposed to be doing. All I know is that I began this year, like many other years of my life, feeling overwhelmed and scattered. I knew I needed to prioritize and figure out the best uses of my energy.
Most importantly, I wanted to get serious about this blog and about finding more writing (and editing) opportunities. Even if I don't have much to show for it, I have made a start in that area. I'm more confident in what I want this blog to be and not to be, even if that means I miss out on the instant popularity provided by a more commercial approach. Aside from the blog, I'm soaking up information from experienced freelance writers and creative people. I've identified group blogs and websites with messages that resonate with me. I've responded to calls for guest posts, gotten no feedback, and decided that apparently I'm out of my league (while simultaneously at a loss to find a place that's in my league). Most successful writers experience years of rejection, but I fear I'm going to be, like, 80 years old, still trying, and still have zero published pieces of any kind to my name. My niece's future children will be like, "What's wrong with Great-Aunt B?" "Oh she just got another rejection from Today's Elderly Christian Woman."
The thing is, writing is supposed to be what I want to do, a source of happiness and fulfillment. Not to say it should always be easy – there's a deep satisfaction in doing difficult things when we know we're meant to do them. But if writing is reduced to a source of frustration at my continual lack of "success" as defined by others, I shouldn't be doing it. I need to think about my motives. I have this misguided idea that if God has called me to write, and I'm not on my way to reaching the masses, I'm letting Him down. In the words of an empowering blog post I read last night, the world "increasingly equates being extraordinary with the right to exist." If I'm just an average person sharing my average thoughts with a few people, what right do I have to speak? At the same time, I feel increasingly convicted that I don't take myself seriously enough as a writer. If I do have a calling, I need to own it regardless of whom I've written for, how big my audience is, or who thinks I'm any good. I could say my writing still matters even if only a few people care about it. But (if I could just believe this), the truth is, it matters even if only I care about it. Writing is the way I process everything. It's how I know I am alive. If my writing only makes sense of life or glorifies God to myself, it's enough. Seeking growth and working toward goals is healthy. Striving as an end unto itself is unhealthy. It can be a fine line.
So, that's my career-y Focus right now.