Three weeks gone and Iâ€™m already in trouble.
Last month I attended a series of webinars on social media for spiritual writers. Sponsored by Writing for Your Life, the series was a pleasant surprise: it provided enough tips and insights for me to put together a workable marketing strategy for my own writing. One of the tips:
When building your marketing platform, start with your blog and one social media outlet. Blog at least weekly; post to social media at least daily.
Years ago, I could never quite manage this kind of frequency. So I set it aside to pursue other things. When the webinar brought it up again, I thought, maybe now I can do this.
And maybe I canâ€™t. Perhaps you noticed that I missed last week. Am I rubbish at this? Or is something else going on?
Specifically, Iâ€™m wondering whether the weekly/daily regimenâ€”doable for writers in general, and even for spiritual writersâ€”is much harder for contemplative writers.
Hereâ€™s why. So much of my writing comes out of my inner self. In that inner self, I pray, meditate, connect with God. Things rise to the surface: new insights, fresh angles on old insights, different ways of seeing things that I (or we, or the world) have been stuck seeing in one way. These are the nuggets that animate and inspire my writing.
The linchpin of all this is the deep connection with God. As you may have noticed, God is completely rubbish at sticking to human schedules.
This kind of quandary is so typical of the contemplative life. God seems to slow us down. God calls us to listen much and speak little.
So a week may go by, and nothing bubbles to the surface. I could throw something together and splash it up there. But it wonâ€™t be my best work, and it wonâ€™t reflect what I can give as my own one-personâ€™s contribution to the world. Which is the point of this blog in the first place.
That doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m sitting around eating bonbons and waiting for the muse to strike. Far from it. Iâ€™m still writing every dayâ€”working on my next book, developing articles, posting questions to stimulate dialogueâ€”not to mention occasional spiritual direction and speaking. But I may have absolutely nothing for this blog on this week.
Itâ€™s an uneasy balance, and Iâ€™ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to strike it. Yes, there are workarounds and happy compromises. But this kind of quandary is so typical of the contemplative life. God seems to slow us down. God calls us to listen much and speak little, from within our deepest selves. Contemplation requires things like stillness and solitude and silence in generous helpings.
None of this will win me a plaque in the Marketing Hall of Fame. But thatâ€™s OK. It brings me back to a lesson that God has been trying to teach me, with limited success, for the past few years: our calling is not to results, but to faithfulness.