Thursday, October 17, 2013

Where is YOUR focus?

God's been dealing with me a lot lately on the issue of self-confidence.

After wrestling with Him about it for a few weeks, I posted a deeply personal blog on my own site that talked about my struggle from an early age with self-image and confidence issues.

My struggle, which I think many of us have to varying degrees, has a ripple effect over to my writing.

Am I good enough?
Does my writing really stink and everyone is just lying to me so I don't feel bad?
Will people like my book?
What if I don't sell enough? Does that make me a failure?
OHMAGOODNESS what if people write horrible reviews and HATE it?

And in another super honest confession... part of me feared greatly that people would "buy" my book, or "pretend" to like it only because I'd just gone through a terrible ordeal with my daughter's health that I dealt with very publicly, that it'd be for pity only.

Stupid, huh.

When we write a book, it's different than other "business" deals. Our writing is very personal and comes from a place deep inside us. Or at least, it is that way for me. So putting it out there for rejection or acceptance is a scary thing.

But BOTTOM LINE:

IT'S NOT ABOUT US!!

YES, some people will hate our books and trash them on Goodreads.
YES, some people will hate our books and trash them on blogs.
YES, our sales might totally flop and make us look completely inept.

All those things are totally possible (and honestly, probable.)

But God has a purpose for ALL things. And for me, my #1 purpose for my LIFE is to glorify Jesus. Everything else, my marriage, my writing, my children, my job, all falls under that. I want everything I do to be with the motive of glorifying the God who made me.

And that includes my writing.

I need to stop stressing about sales and start focusing on story. God gave me stories to tell, and EFFECTIVE marketing will happen when I focus not on "how many books can I sell" but on "How can I get my book into the hands of those God wants it to be in."

See that focus shift?

It's an important one.

One I feel like I failed MISERABLY with in my first go-around at this whole publishing thing.

I'm a numbers girl. It's how my mind works. But maybe I can start thinking about "number of lives touched" vs. "number of books sold" hmm?

And then there is that darn Amazon ranking I was addicted to for the first six months... I kinda just wish they'd take it away so I would stop obsessing over it!

Bottom line: Our writing isn't about us. To have a truly fulfilling publishing experience, I highly suggest you turn your eyes toward Jesus. Follow HIM, not the just trends. Follow HIM, not just the numbers.

Discussion: Am I the only one that struggles with self-confidence issues over books?? If you've got a grip on it, share some of your secrets!!

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Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and author of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance. She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at http://www.kristaphillips.com. She is represented by the fab agent, Rachelle Gardner.

7 comments:

Crystal Walton said...

Krista, this is so timely. I'm right there with ya. I'm also a numbers girl (I work in accounting!) In my analytical nature, I've been laboring over which publishing option makes the most business sense. And I realized that the money I make or invest into it is really quite irrelevant. The number of books sold isn't really the point. As long as the books get into the hands of the readers God wants to share this message with, then that's a success.
It's still challenging though; b/c as writers, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Not only do we want our writing to connect with and encourage others, we want it to connect with many. It's difficult to release that hope from the pursuit. God's definitely been teaching me about writing for Him and allowing Him to take care of the rest. Stay encouraged. I'm convinced writing is one of God's many tools to refine our characters along this crazy journey of faith!

Karen Schravemade said...

I loved both these posts so much.

"It's not about us" - so hard to truly grasp, and yet so incredibly freeing if we can. Thanks for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

Pepper said...

Great post, Krista
And yes, we ALL deal with this in some form or fashion.
It's the ugly 'not good enough' monster.
But (smiling BIG) God says my love makes you GOOD ENOUGH - in fact it makes you BETTER than Good enough!
It's about what HIS love does - not about our strength or our plans or our 'good enoughs'. It's a

Thanks so much for the reminder.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Krista, thank you for your transparency. Yes, I've dealt with self-confidence issues most of my life. It's been a life long journey to learn to find my confidence in God, to find my identity in Him. I still don't succeed at keeping my thoughts in the right place all the time, but I'm working on it.

You're right in that it comes down to focus. Am I focused on glorifying God and keeping my eyes on what He's calling me to? Or, am I focused on the numbers? Numbers are tangible, but they never tell the whole story. That's something only God can do.

I know I'm going long, but one more thought. Years ago, God asked me, "Am I enough?" After I stopped lying to Him, I acknowledged that I had always thought this equation: God + (Fill in the blank) = Enough.

Really, God is enough. When I realized that He made me and that He delights in me, it became easier to focus on Him and less on gaining my identity from what others thought (or how many books were bought in your case. :)).

Anyway, there's a bit of food for thought. Again, I am so thankful for your transparency, Krista. You challenge me to keep focusing on Jesus. Thank you for tha.

Krista Phillips said...

Crystal, I work in payroll/accounting so I'm right there with ya! It IS hard, a constant struggle. There are also times, too, that I remind myself that God made my analytical brain, so it's okay to analyze things. I just need to keep that focus on Jesus while I do it!!

Krista Phillips said...

Karen/Pepper-- thank you sweet ladies!! LOVE you both!!

Krista Phillips said...

Jeanne... God has totally asked me the "am I enough" question too!

My response is usually "Yeah, but..."

He doesn't care for the but:-)