Who Are The Words For?
Two weeks of traveling. Meeting friends. Attending a wedding. Being with family.
I stumbled off the plane yesterday and spent the rest of the day in a sleepy haze. Checked out my book on Amazon, read emails and Facebook posts and pondered how to sell more, reach more, do more…and I’ve already forgotten.
Those breathtaking moments that seem to stop the world spinning for just an instant as you stand in awe and realize how insignificant your issues really are in the grand scheme of things.
How easy it is to get right back on that hamster wheel and spin and spin and spin and go nowhere. How ridiculous to think that happiness comes from achieving a measure of success that so often seems unattainable yet we just keep reaching…pushing, trying…and wearing thin in the process.
I tell you what. What I’ve learned? What I’m still learning, every day…is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are. How many books you sell or don’t sell. Whether you have a platform or not. Whether you land that contract or continue to duke it out in the trenches or go it alone. Frankly, it’s all crap. And okay, in my crazy moments when I want it all so badly I’m not sure how to take my next breath, it does matter. But oh how I wish it didn’t.
My friend Beth pulled this plaque off the wall of her writing room in Colorado Springs, pressed it into my hands and insisted I take it home…
Because she knows. She knows how it gets crazy and all consuming and how easily I am sucked under.
She knows how I need to stop. Stop and remember who the words are for.
Remember why I do what I do. And how I need to tell myself to get over it. Let it go and try to find normal again.
The words aren’t for some big New York publisher who doesn’t give a fig how many hours, days or years you worked on them. How you poured out your heart and soul and went a little nuts in the process because you had to, had to, had to be so sure this was the very best thing…they don’t care. So you don’t write for them.
You write for the reader who tells you she stayed up half the night reading your book. You write for the ones whose eyes get all misty at just the right parts and tell you how much you’ve moved them. You write because you love it. And you love them. And because this is what you do, dammit, and nobody, nobody has the right to tell you that you’re just not good enough.
I’ve heard it. Bought into it. Believed it.
But it’s not true.
What is true is that I am a writer. And I belong in that community. I am affirmed by precious souls and fellow sojourners who pray me through this journey.
We laugh and dream and boost each other up. And we love.
This is who the words are for.
This is why God gives us the words in the first place.
For each other.
Not to be the best, earn the most money or win all the awards. Not for the accolades or the high praise and compliments and rave reviews. It’s not about any of that. That’s what we’ve made it all about.
These words we write are a way of connecting souls. Hearts. Minds. They can soothe or sear or bring laughter, joy and sometimes tears. Sometimes, if we really let God in to do the work, they can even save.
And I know. I know I’ll go back to my fretting and my pondering and my anxiousness because I’m not perfect yet. I’m still very much human. And I forget things. Things like those sweet God-breathed moments from last week that remind me who I am and where I’m supposed to be.
But then the words come again.
And I remember who they’re for.