As a writer, you’ll face times of profound despair and, I hope, massive victory. When successful, you’ll want to share your news with your supporters. But I recommend muting your enthusiasm with your detractors. And we all have those.
To my surprise, a person who never speaks to me or contacts me except to ask a favor linked me to a lengthy fluff piece touting sundry accomplishments. I sent sincere congratulations but didn’t feel excitement and awe as I would have for a friend. I wondered, was this person:
Desperate for approval, any approval.
Wishing me a great big, “Look at me! I’m wonderful!” Ninny Ninny Boo Boo!
Why would I think these things? Could it be that in the past, I was guilty of the same thing? When I sensed someone wasn’t on my team, someone who should have been, wasn’t, I recall sharing news of my accomplishments. Now I see that I appeared:
Desperate for approval, any approval.
To be wishing them a great big, “Look at me! I’m wonderful!” Ninny Ninny Boo Boo!
I also see that learning of someone’s achievements when every interaction with that person has been negative doesn’t change my opinion.
The subject of that piece never once acknowledged our Lord and Savior. I’m so accustomed to those around me giving honor to His Majesty that His absence hurt my heart. And, yes, I did pray for this person because though I am puny, God is boundless. I’m glad He used the article to show me an area where I need to pray.
When we examine the motives for our communications and how they may be received, we may be less inclined to produce discord and error. On the other hand, if the Lord chooses our writing to make others uncomfortable, we must be strong.
May the Lord grant us right hearts and spirits in all of our communications.
DAMON J GRAY
Tamela, this is such a struggle for me specifically because of the position we (writers) are in. It’s that dirty cuss-word – Platform!!
We must have/build/demonstrate platform or “No contract for you.”
As I navigate the world of social media each day, I find myself questioning motive. “Should I respond to this? She has a big following!”
It feels disingenuous, and I don’t enjoy feeling that way.
DAMON J GRAY
I’m plowing through the morning mail and the very next email I see if from Barb Roose at Books & Such – Subject line: Platform: Staying Positive and Productive as You Build Your Audience!
I used to long for affirmation,
to be loved, and how!
But success won’t be my destination;
I can see that now,
so I’ll turn with what’s at hand
to those who need to hear,
to try to help them understand
the heartache and the fear
that lurk astride the cancer’d road,
that gibber, drool and roar,
and that there’s One to share the load
for He’s been there before,
and will walk them to their Calvary
where death will have no victory.
Amy L Harden
Amy, thank you so much!
I enjoy reading your comments in the form of poetry, Andrew.
Thank you, Paula…I’m so glad you like them.
These are deep truths. Beautiful — thank you Tamala.
Kristen Joy Wilks
“May the Lord grant us right hearts and spirits in all of our communications.”
Such an important prayer to take to heart and lift before the Lord regularly! After writing for so long and stacking up rejections as well as some victories, I could see this being very tempting indeed. Lord, grant me Your wisdom and gracious way of looking at the people around me, whether they encourage or scoff. Grow me to have Your strength and love.
Amy L Harden
I struggle with this myself as I go through my feeds. I find I appreciate the posts that sing of accomplishments but turn the glory back to God, but then scroll past those folks that center all posts and comments around themselves and their agenda. I will happily share or help promote another’s work if it brings the glory back God. I take note for myself as a new writer. I hope I will be able celebrate wins with a humble heart and let others sing my praises for me.
This was an excellent article – something that I had been pondering.
First, I cannot imagine anyone treating you like that.
But, let me tell you what my grandpa Harvey taught me through example.
Anytime anyone got something new or got good news he would say: “I’m right proud for them.”
I try to follow that even when I wish it was me.
You stay wonderful.
My favorite thing about the posts on this blog is that they’re always Christ centered, despite the subject or tips you want to to share, Jesus is always included. Thanks for always encouraging and reminding us that He’s all that matters in the end.
Thanks for the insight. In my opinion, we introduce a slippery slope when we rely on self-promotion. And while I know the reasons for a publisher’s demand for a platform, I’ve thought the same as Damon J Gray when he says it can sound like a dirty word.
A message from God came through Jeremiah “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not.” Jeremiah 45:5
My first sale of a devotion to The Upper Room made me happy for three reasons: 1) I’d finally made a sale. 2) It was sold to a devotional I remembered my mother reading in the morning every day when I was a child. 3) I was able to tell a painful personal story, being able to support my thoughts with God’s word.
I believed then, as I believe now, if even one person can find comfort, insight, or a desire to explore the Bible more, then my effort was enough. I believed God would be in the work to bring someone closer to him.
I’m not always humble about my writing, but I know I can’t always rely on my “press.” It so quickly fades.
I forgot to mention this quote, which also helps. I wrote this on a 3 x 5 car and keep it on my at desk at eye level so I can read it often as a reminder.
From Thomas a’ Kempis’ “The Imitation of Christ.”
“I know your secret thoughts and I know it is more helpful to your salvation that you sometimes be left without any interior relish; otherwise, you might begin to boast about your success, yield to self-conceit, and then think yourself better than you are.”
Good thoughts! Hard to keep things balanced and not cross over into boasting about self-effort instead of focusing on Christ.
2 Cor. 12:1-10 — “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in WEAKNESS . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
You have addressed the elephant in the room. I try to remind myself when posting to social media that what I share doesn’t come across as boastful or to make others feel less than. It helps to look at my own FB page from time to time and make sure it’s not about me. It’s a work in progress.
Thank you for the reminder.
“ But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Tamela Hancock Murray
Thank you all so much for your comments. All of them are meaningful to me.
Yip, I agree. Thanks Tamela and all, for your inputs. We were all created as social beings? All of us need recognition or approval, or to share, some time or other? I guess the challenge is to keep a balance, and many are not good at that 🙂
Yessss. This. Though I find I struggle with the opposite side of it sometimes. Instead of posting too many good things I have to watch my motivations for posting something that goes wrong–that it’s for a valid reason and not just looking for pity. To be fair, that happens more with interactions with friends than actual marketing. Still, it’s a good reminder.
Carol R Nicolet Loewen
I resonate with this, Tamela. Even with good friends who I don’t feel cheer me on, I have to be careful because it’s easy to want ANY approval, from ANYONE. It hurts when it’s a good friend, but that’s life. We each have our own style of communicating and encouraging and some are better at it than others. And if we look at our Savior, He sure didn’t look for the approval of the crowd. He received just the opposite. Thank you for your reminder that these are opportunities to pray, for our own right attitude as well as the other person.
Sydney F. Grey
Amen! Very well said. A word to the wise. Thank you.