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Have you noticed how many good stories on streaming services currently are coming from books by authors being published today? It’s inspiring for a writer, isn’t it? Or is it? Working on a novel I have had to ask, is that a means to the end?

Or is writing itself the goal, from which other things freely flow? Like friendships and connection, knowledge and deeper work, fulfillment, purpose, greater wisdom…and yes, being published. We want our words read.

But why do we write?

What is your goal? I have had to spend a lot of time digging deep for my own. To step away from trying to build a name for myself, sort through the desire to be acknowledged and a longtime need to prove my worth. I’ve been searching for the Pearl of great worth.*

Everything’s a journey.

Just when I learned about some brilliant marketing surrounding a novelist’s book, was ready to buckle down and follow suit, I also learned that the same author spent a lot of money.

Even with all that marketing which included many awards, reviews and endorsements, she never came close to selling enough books to recoup her investment. She said she did it for her ego. A debut novel happens only once, shouldn’t we pull out the stops?

Over the past decade of building a foundation, a “platform” on which to stand, I have been slow to try or work at publishing anything beyond my blog. It’s my cozy, safe corner where I can be myself and find like-minded friends. Like you. It’s my home base.

Also, I was learning to write and I’d be wrong if I didn’t admit I also felt inadequate (unworthy) to step out into a bigger field.

If I’ve worked hard at anything, beyond my writing that is, it’s to learn to not be concerned about being popular. That has taken work. I don’t know why, really, I was never popular. Not until I started teaching ballet to children did I become remotely popular in a small neck of the (American) woods, so to speak.

That felt good. But it wasn’t about being popular. It was about loving what I did, and the people the work brought into my life.

Something happened after I heard that story about the marketing behind the debut novel that was very freeing. My attitude changed. I realized how content I am, how thankful to be able to write words that flow from my connection to life and people and to God. I’ve written about that quite often. You know if you know me, that writing is a form of worship.

I usually sit just as I am right now, Bible in lap, writing down thoughts like these from my journal into the Notes App on my phone which I then copy and paste into a WordPress post.

Sometimes I’m finished then and post pretty quickly. Other times, I will edit and revise for days, even weeks, until I feel that sense inside, something (or Someone) saying, “I know who needs to read this, leave it to Me.” It’s then I hit Publish.

It’s a beautiful thing to have arrived at this place where I am content. It’s my happy place and I couldn’t help but start writing about it last Sunday morning before Church. Maybe you can imaging how I felt when I heard the message titled “The Planted Life”, addressing, what else? The happy person! Sometimes I get confirmations like this, then I know I’m on the right path.

In the bigger picture, this happy place began recently, with people, fellow writers. I had to leave my cocoon and join a Critique group. I was so scared, the day before the session began, I had a little meltdown and wrote to my mentor/coach, Laurie Scheer, who leads the group. “They’ll think my novel pages are so superficial. No one will be interested.”

She told me not to worry and reminded me, self doubt is a theme with writers, I wasn’t alone with those feelings. So I decided I would set my ego aside and be there to support others. I’m so glad I did!

What can I tell you? We’ll have our fourth session tomorrow, and instead of feeling like a fraud, I feel more affirmed as a writer than ever. There’s nothing like receiving pats on the back from colleagues, fellow authors and writers you respect.

And then, something beyond my expectations happened.

Three weeks in, Laurie let us know about a magazine deadline. Four of us submitted work and four of us had our work accepted for publication! That was pretty thrilling. We cheered for each other. The best part is we’re doing this together. Loner me, no longer feels lonely beyond this space, where you, my friend, have been deeply valued and have kept me going when I wanted to quit.

That sensation I would get of being a speck on the edge of a whirling marketing tornado, clinging for a moment’s recognition, is gone. I am more attuned to the turns leading off my path that used to so easily entice me. I don’t want to be where God is not. He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.* What might be right for someone else, may not be for me. I have to discern.

How quickly a meaningful message can become a shallow formula for someone else’s benefit. We can’t serve two masters. We cannot seek the spiritual through the material or the Spirit’s wings will be weighed down in the earth’s murkiness.

I still remember the first time I shared one of my dad’s stories on Facebook in 2013. Those posts grew to connect him to family and friends he had long lost touch with. Such happiness that brought him.

And I’ll never forget how our stories grew too large for FB and moving into a blog space. I’ll never forget hitting “publish” the first time. And I’ll never forget the joy on my dad’s face when he held the manuscript filled with his stories and adventures. I value all that like a pearl. This, to me, is what is precious about the gift of writing.

When I link my heart and mind, with all my frailties, up with the limitless Powers of God and surrender, I can’t help but write.

When our pen hits the paper or our fingers the keys, (or as in my case this morning, my thumbs tap the letters on my phone), when it’s God’s will that comes to pass, the whirling tornado dissipates.

See, I never wrote to become a writer. It was my way of talking to you when there was no one else to talk to about faith and beauty. It was my way of connecting more deeply to God. It was a way of sharing my gratitude. Gratitude brings happiness.

We are not a speck of success for a moment in time. “You are a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society, providing a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” So keep the faith, claim your rights and “Carry the light-giving Message into the night…”*

I guess I’ll hit Publish now…


Feature photo and inspiration for my website, I think because it made me happy (when I was writing about grief): Edu Lauton.

*Scripture references: Matthew 13: 46, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:24, Philippians 2:14-15.

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