Since I re-launched God’s call on my life to use words, I’ve come to realize three things: 1. Current writers, unless they have a team of paid promoters, have to do a lot of self-promoting to make it in the industry, B. I don’t have a team of paid promoters and self-promotion makes my teeth itch, and 4. I’m not very good with lists.
A very patient and down-to-earth agent recently told me that most first-time novelists need (among other things) an online following of at least 1,000 people. My first reaction was, “I don’t even know 1,000 people let alone those who want to ‘follow’ me.” But I understand why a social media presence is a prerequisite for agents and agencies to give writers a first chance.
However, one of the reasons I stopped blogging a year and a half ago—aside from the fact that newborns are surprisingly needy—was because I didn’t feel I had anything valuable to say and nothing to promote. Put down the phone; this is not a cry for help or a ploy for compliments. It’s an honest assessment of my state of mind at the time. I was afraid of adding more noise to the already raucous blogosphere. I didn’t want to be another voice shouting to be heard, posing like a celebrity, filling up friends’ walls with my inane thoughts.
(If you like Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec and have a minute, check out this very funny clip:)
To be honest, I was trying to avoid becoming what I don’t like.
Instead, I wanted to write and blog out of a fulfillment of what God had placed in me to say, and to do it out of love. I think of 1 Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
To borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, the tool of social media can easily become “a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.” Really, if you haven’t already, watch the Nick Offerman clip above for an example.
My prayer is that I use my words to add value to people’s lives, that I speak from a heart close to Him who gives me breath, and that when I no longer do these things I’ll have the sense to hear my own “resounding gong” and pause the writing, the blogging, and the self-promotion (ugh, I reallllly hate that I have to think about it this way) until He gives me words again.