Friday, July 20, 2012

Verbal Diarrhea: On Writing and Faith

In writing about faith and faithfulness earlier this month, I mentioned that I was having difficulty focusing my energy. That lack of focus is still present, unrelenting, and at times insufferable. I do my best regardless to show up at the page each day and write. The writing is slow going, but going nonetheless. I should be grateful, that I am able to write during this period of restlessness, but I want things to be “normal” again, when there was a perfect ebb and flow to my days, when I was confident of where I was going and what I was doing. It could be that, for the first time in my life, I’m in the midst of a crisis of faith.

Life doesn’t always unfold as planned. There are ups and downs, good days and bad days. Lately it feels like the bad days outstrip the good days 4-to-1, but I’m doing my best to remain positive hold on to the belief that this is the Great Creator’s plan for me, that I am in fact on the right road. That is not an easy task.

I was thrilled when my novel, Freestyle Love, was accepted for publication. I did pinch myself to make sure that it was real, that it wasn’t some cruel joke as I read, and reread, the acceptance e-mail. But I never really knew what publication would mean, or what it would entail. In all the reading that I’ve done on writing and the writing process, there isn’t much talk about the writer’s life after publication. What do you do? What’s expected of you? What do you expect?

There was no one knocking on my door asking for autographs, no one automatically stepping forward to review what I had spent a long time writing. Freestyle Love isn’t one of Oprah’s Picks, and hasn’t made it on to the New York Times best-seller list (at least not yet!). There were good friends and acquaintances who came forward offering congratulations for a job well done, for clinging steadfast to a dream. There were also “good friends” and acquaintances who were silent and who have, perhaps, not yet read my novel. Was I expecting instant fame? No. My book is out there for the world to like, dislike, or be indifferent about. I may never be a household name like Danielle Steel or Stephen King or Margaret Atwood. Why? Because I’ve never sought to be front and centre in life. But that doesn’t make me any less of a writer. I tend to forget that my publishing history shows that I do have talent.

Now that Freestyle Love has been published, I’ve spent some time promoting it through various advertising campaigns on sites like Goodreads and Manic Readers, and a second virtual book tour is currently underway. These are difficult things for me to do not because I’m afraid of what people may think of my book, but it means putting myself out there, on display. That’s what I struggle with. I like my “privacy,” something which is difficult to maintain in the era of Facebook and Twitter. How quickly it seems we (myself included) have latched on to social media, and how social media has become the template for our lives.

I am at a crossroads. Yes, I’m in the midst of a faith-crisis. Despite encouraging comments from friends and fans, I still doubt myself, and my talent as a writer. Am I really chasing some pipedream as some people would have me believe? Am I still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams or have I allowed myself to be, somehow, sidelined? Do I have the courage to follow my bliss? I want to say, triumphantly, “Yes,” to this last question, but I’m not sure. I hope, and pray, that I can, day by day, keep on keeping on.

I am, still, trying to feel that there is meaning in life, that I can somehow ward off the emptiness pinning me down. I am, still, trying to have faith again to feel the joy and peace as told to us in Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” I want to believe. I want to live in that faithfulness.

In the meantime, what’s a writer to do? Keep writing. So I write on …

No comments:

Post a Comment