I’m doing it all wrong.
Thanks to our friend Harv, I recently had new laminate flooring installed in my home office. Which prompted some rearranging of the furnishings. Which prompted some rearranging of the wall décor.
I thought I’d go a little funky displaying my canvas book covers. I Googled “cute ideas for hanging picture frames crooked” but the only images that appeared were crooked picture frames and none of them were cute. I charged ahead anyway, and this is what I ended up with. It was much cooler in my head.
I know, I know. It basically looks like someone banged on the other side of the wall until everything went wonky. And I’m just OCD enough that I won’t be able to stand it for long. It helps that the wall is behind me as I work.
But my wall provides a metaphor. As an author, I often feel I’m doing it all wrong. I don’t plot out my books ahead of time. I don’t create clear story arcs. My main characters tend to be unlikable. Every week, my inbox is filled with articles about how to do it right until I become overwhelmed with how thoroughly I’m doing it wrong.
I don’t have my own website, only this blog. I don’t use Twitter, just Facebook. A friend reminded me recently that I “ought” to be on Instagram. I’m not. I’ve turned down every speaking invitation I’ve received since my first book came out. Not that there have been dozens, but experts would tell me I’m committing career suicide. Which is ironic, because it kills me to say no.
It’s that right now, with my physical limitations, I know it’s logistically impossible to pull that off, maintain my day job, keep writing, and still get the rest I need.
So I say no a lot. And I torture myself, because I ought to do all these things. I ought to say yes and I ought to trust God to provide the strength and resources I need to keep saying yes.
Unless God can be trusted to get my stories into the hands of those who need to read them, regardless of my shortcomings.
Unless, if a story is good enough, it will soar without my having to constantly push it in front of people’s faces. (Ever notice that the authors we love to read most are rarely the ones dishing out the how-to advice?)
Unless what Jesus said to Paul is the same thing he says to me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Unless what he’s already accomplished with my books is more than enough.
Here’s the thing. There will always, always be more you ought to do. At some point, you must know your limitations and focus on what works for you. Yes, do your part. But trust God with his. And go write a really good book. Hopefully, without a wall full of crooked picture frames behind you.
What are you doing wrong? I'd love to hear about it. And here’s the rest of my office.
|I love that I write WWII era novels on a WWII era desk.|
|Didn't change my book nook. Still love it.|
|Had to unload and move the bookcase to do the floor!|