Friday, October 4, 2013
My Huge Decision and an Announcement
In my last post, I told you that I’ve been trying to decide whether my decades-long pursuit of publication is perseverance or insanity. I told you I’d let you know what I decided. So here it is…perseverance or insanity?
Yep. I think it’s good to keep striving toward a worthy goal, even for a long, long time. That “definition of insanity” proverb, however, talks about the craziness of repeating some unhelpful action over and over. That’s where I’m making my mistake, at least recently.
I’ve been going at it the same way all these years. I write, I get feedback, I rewrite. I submit. I’m told that my writing doesn’t exactly fit one genre or the other. I study guidelines, I rewrite, I try to make my stories fit a genre or a publishing company. I get feedback. I submit. I’m told my writing crosses genres. It has science fiction elements in women’s fiction. It’s too literary to fit a genre, too popular to be literary. It’s too Christian for the secular publishers, doesn’t have enough Christian content for the CBA. I start over, trying to make my poor little square pegs fit into the round holes.
If I were walking down a path, trying to reach an urgent destination, and I fell into a hole because I wasn’t watching where I was going, it would be virtuous for me to get up and keep walking, even with a sore ankle. But if I still didn’t look where I was going, if I continued to let myself fall into holes and break my bones instead of just keeping my eyes open and walking around them, that would be crazy. Not only that, it wouldn’t get me to my ultimate destination, because I eventually wouldn’t be able to walk anymore.
I’ve been trying the same things over and over for MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS, trying to get published. And I’ve hurt myself in the process. I’m starting to hurt my writing. It’s time to try something new. I’m going indie.
Yep, the dreaded “S” word. Self-publishing.
It’s not what I dreamed of. It’s not how I thought my writing career would go. But for a lot of reasons, I feel that’s where God is leading me—at least with one novel. I feel like He has taken my hand and is trying to lead me around that hole I keep falling in.
A year or so ago, I was at a gospel music concert by an amazingly talented band. The church was small but packed. I’ve seen this band numerous times. They’re talented enough to make a lot of money, and they always pack people in. People also frequently get saved at their events. One of the singers was giving a mini testimony and said that she didn’t worry about pursuing fame or fortune or huge audiences. She just asked God every day to send her where her music could be used to reach the people He wanted her to reach—two or five or a thousand, it didn’t matter.
I felt as though God had reached down and shaken me. Doesn’t the Bible say something about not hiding your light under a bushel? What if this incredibly talented woman never sang or gave her testimony because no one was paying her to do it? What if I continued to hide the testimony that I pour into my writing, waiting for someone to pay me for it? Would God really bless that kind of pride?
I know a lot of my writer friends will be disappointed in me. I’ll have more to say about how I came to this conclusion and about just what I’m planning to do. But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with another thought: When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked Him what he should do to be saved, Jesus told him to sell everything he had and follow Him. But another time, when Jesus cast demons out of a very afflicted man, the restored man was so grateful that He wanted to follow Jesus and go with him. Jesus told him to return to his home and tell what the Lord had done for him—to stay put.
The Lord doesn’t want every one of us to follow the exact same path. He has plans for all of us—different plans. This path I’m embarking on is scary, but I think it’s the right one. I’ll keep you posted.