Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Why Writing Isn't Your Side Hustle

Hi, friends! Before I start today's blog, I have to share that I'm just tickled pink to share a book birthday today with Pepper Basham! Our collection Finding Ever After released about an hour ago, and you can find it here on Amazon. It's so special to me to be sharing my debut novella with three very, very dear friends. I feel like my little story is being hugged between all of theirs! :) Also, PSA - I just started my own newsletter that you can sign up for on my new website if  you want to keep up with me there too.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! I hope you all have an extra-sweet holiday this year.

This past week, I've been thinking a lot about what fuels our writing. The Alley Cats chat pretty regularly, and we got on the topic this week. Maybe you ask yourself these questions too - why am I writing? Who am I writing for? What if I'm not making the income I expected? What if I'm making the income, but the rest of it doesn't look how I expected? And so on and so forth. If there's one thing that's for certain about the publishing industry, it's that nothing is for certain.

I have been writing for a long while, and writing has seen me through various stages of life - from newlywed to new mom and everything in between. The constant in it all has been the writing itself and what it offers me as the author. For me, this means fellowship with God. Now, don't misunderstand. I desperately dream of my stories being published. I can't wait to be in conversation and prayer for my own readership. But the hope of readers is not what has sustained me.

In response to faith, God brought life to the barren Sarah. In response to faith, God shielded the fire and silenced the lions. In response to faith, God parted the Red Sea. God's economy is not limited by the proportions and priorities that limit you and me.

We have a tendency to look for validation from 1) the amount of time we give a project, or 2) the financial benefit it offers. But when we do that, we miss out on what I've been calling "manna moments" - those hours or half-hours or maybe even five minute breaks that make our heart sing. In these moments of worshiping God through our gifts, we find what we need to keep going on all other parts of the journey. We become better people, better mothers, better students, better friends. We find direction, purpose, joy, and an outlet. Through the expression of our hearts, we find healing, and it is from this place we can minister more effectively.

So stop thinking of writing as your side hustle. I don't care if you aren't published. I don't care if you have a small advance, or if you've got a three book deal you're only chipping away at during nap time. Your calling matters. Immensely. You've got this.


Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's also an active member of ACFW. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her website - and while you're there, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!


kaybee said...

Ashley, this IS deep and so worthwhile. He has to bring us to that place before He can use us. His math is not our math. I started my Christian writing career in Sunday-School papers, anyone remember those? I wrote for several different denominations. I had a piece accepted by a Mennonite magazine. I was kind of grumpy afterwards, I live in New England and there are like six Mennonites in my entire state, and I wondered who would even read it. But God dealt with me, pointing out that the Mennonite paper went out all over the world and that someone on another CONTINENT might need what I wrote. And I might never know about it. Since then I've been writing for what I call the "anonymous Mennonite."
Kathy Bailey

Terrie Todd said...

Thanks for this, Ashley! I'll be retiring from my day job in six weeks to focus on writing. I'm excited but scared too because I don't currently have a book contract and it feels like a real leap of faith...or foolishness? Your article really resonates and serves as a great reminder of where to put my trust and Who my provider is. You nailed it with where we look for validation. God bless you!
Terrie Todd

Lauren said...

I definitely needed this today! I have been in prayer for months about what to do with this calling of mine. Just this past week, I realized that God has been answering my plea for revelation all along - but I've been too scared to acknowledge it. I'm terrified to start stepping out, so I call on the biblical heroes who, time and again, stepped out in faith.