Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Insecurity and Encouragement

Lay thy sweet hand in mine and trust in me by Edmund Blair Leighton

Sometimes I think the world inside my head is a very strange place. Full of double-think and a pendulum of balance I knowingly employ to keep myself cheerful. A fair amount of rationalization when it comes to exercise and indulging in chocolate, and a strange collection of hope and fear.

All that comes into play at this point in the game with a book releasing. I so love Ring of Secrets, I so believe in its message. Of all the books I've written, this is the only one that I not only loved but about which I felt a perfect confidence. I knew this book would find a home. I didn't know for sure where, but I thought Harvest would take it. So when they did, in additional to the excitement, there was this great, peaceful, "Yes." Yes, this is right. This is where it's supposed to be, and it's going to do what it's supposed to do.

But with the book a month away from release, the thoughts are bashing about in my brain. I have such hopes for it...but what if it flops? Harvest House has put so much faith and effort into me...but what if I disappoint them? I so adore this book...but what if others don't?

I'll admit it--I crave the validation of praise. I try not to, and I don't define myself by it. I will always write, as long as I'm able and God permits, and if all the world tells me I stink, then I'll write anyway. Maybe I'll change the what or the how, but I am a writer. But those words of encouragement from readers? Those keep me going. And occasionally words of harsh criticism have been known to derail me for a day or two.

So I've been biting my nails lately. And the reviews have started coming in from advance readers. Mostly good. Nothing proclaiming it the best book ever or anything. And then yesterday, my first bad review of it. Three stars. Sigh.

I was pretty proud of myself for shrugging it off, but it niggled here and there through the night. But not because of the review itself...more because a good review from this same source on Annapolis I had grasped hold of firmly. I grinned and laughed over it. I touted it. And now, with a bad review from the same outlet, I'm perfectly fine with shrugging it off and saying, "What does it matter? It's just one reviewer."

To some, this no doubt seems hypocritical. Perhaps slightly unhinged, LOL. But let me explain.

I'm doing what I have to do. What I'm called to do. It's a ministry for me. While I know that my books aren't the end-all-be-all, aren't Shakespeare or Austen, likely won't top any charts, I also know that I've written them for a reason. And that I have other stories to write for their own reasons. I have, now, commitments and obligations to fulfill. Contracts. Deadlines. I have to write.

And so, I have to feed my spirit. With prayer, with the Word...and with the encouragement of my brothers and sisters of the Church. I have to focus on the good. And I have to push aside the bad, the insecurities. Not criticism that help me grow, but that which just tears down? Out the window it goes.

I have to trust that whatever this book does, what any of my books do, it's okay. I have to remember that it's not about sales or reviews or awards or acclaim or royalty checks. It's about obeying. Listening. And most of all, loving. Loving my Lord enough to write what books He lays on my heart. And loving you enough to risk insecurity and disappointment enough to put my work out there.

4 comments:

  1. Write, write, write. You are a great writer and one of my favs, and I don't say this w/prejudice or favoritism. When I say it, I mean it; I'm pretty hard to please. :)

    Best on the success of your books. Let God work through them.

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  2. I can SO relate to this. Thank you SO MUCH for your honesty. Praying for God's will for your books, and your writing career.

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  3. BEAUTIFUL, honest post, Roseanna! Thanks so much for sharing the WHYs of why you write. When we get those down, I think we can let those negative crits float over us without harm. So thrilled God gave you peace about this book finding a home and the need to write it. You will get plenty of good reviews, I'm sure!

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  4. Dear cousin, I'm always amazed at how honest you can be with the world in your blog. Thank you for putting your heart out there for us to see. We all benefit from your wisdom and reminders too, because we all have something in our lives that can be looked at through the same lens. Your work is beautiful, even your blog is beautifully written! :) You're right, you are a writer. Period. Can't wait to read the new book! Love you!

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