Does it ever feel that no matter what or how much you do, it’s never enough—or good enough? Read on and embrace Carla Laureano’s encouraging words.
Before I sat down to write this post, I logged on to Facebook to see how many likes my status update had gotten and where my newest release stood on the Amazon rankings. I’ve stopped reading reviews because I’ve found they’re detrimental to my creativity and peace of mind, but try as I might, I haven’t yet completely cut the cord of internet validation.
When I started pursuing writing as a professional career, I didn’t realize that it’s not at all a solitary endeavor. We write alone, yes, but we publish in a community. We seek the approval of our agents and editors, perhaps our contest judges or our peers. We spend long hours on social media, cultivating our “platform” because we’re told that’s what we have to do to get an agent, get a book deal, get on the best-seller list. And even when you do all those things, sometimes you still find yourself on the receiving end of a rejection letter or a disappointing royalty statement.
The thing is, if we’re not careful, we begin to lose sight of why we begin writing. We begin to lose sight of our own creative agenda. We begin to lose sight of the Creator who put this desire to tell stories within us. We begin to mold ourselves not in the image of our Creator, who formed the world with such wonder and creativity, but in the images of our critics, our naysayers, those who have rejected us. We begin to wonder what other people are doing better. We begin to subtly change ourselves, thinking, “Maybe if I do things like this person, I’ll be more successful. Maybe if I’m not so [insert character trait here], I’ll be more appealing as an author. Maybe if I act more Christian and make my work more overtly spiritual, God will see how much I want to serve Him and give me that publishing contract.”
Let me be clear—I’m not against hard work and learning from others and giving my work to the Lord. Completely the opposite! Those are all good things. The problem comes in when we convince ourselves that we are not enough—that God is not enough—and begin to measure our worth in terms of false values. We imprison ourselves in a cage of others’ expectations and chain our creativity in the pursuit of impossible measurements.
In God’s eternal currency, book sales don’t matter. The status of your agent, the prestige of your publisher, how many books a year you can write—all irrelevant. Those things don’t make us better people or more loveable or more worthy in His sight. That’s all been taken care of. Our accounts are filled. As children of God and followers of Jesus, we can cease striving.
And rather than feel discouragement that things are so far out of our control, we should feel a great freedom. To follow God’s plan for our lives. To write the stories of our heart. To be true to the calling we’ve been given, which may look nothing like your next door neighbor’s or your critique partner’s or the authors on this month’s best-seller list.
Maybe that means reaching a hundred thousand readers. Or maybe it means reaching that one, that single person who needs your message in only the way you can write it.
So let us go on promoting and marketing and diligently performing the tasks our publishers and agents expect of us. But let’s not allow it to become the sum of our endeavors, the only validation for our paths.
Write free, write brave, and follow your calling.
Conor and Aine have barely escaped Seare with their lives. Conor knows he must return to find the harp that could end the Red Druid’s reign of terror, but in the midst of their escape, he and Aine are torn apart once more. Surrounded by despair and thrown into as much danger as they left behind, Conor and Aine must cling to the whispers of Comdiu’s plans for them and the homeland that depends on their survival. But at what cost? Will they learn to depend on Comdiu completely? Or will they give up hope?
Carla Laureano is the author of the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C.E. Laureano), as well as the RITA® Award winning romance Five Days in Skye. She's an avid cook, an enthusiastic but untalented singer, and a thwarted world-traveler. She currently lives in Denver with her patient husband and two rambunctious sons.