I took time off from blogging and my column to really think about what I want from my writing. I wound up in the parking lot of a coffee shop bawling my eyes out. I was confused and fraught with questions: what is my brand? what do I want? what is success? I went to Confession and spent time praying. Here are some of the thoughts that came to me in the past couple of weeks:
- Am I a Brand? No, I am a person. I have nothing to sell. I have no agenda other than honest writing. I used to think I might like to make a living out of blogging--but I don't anymore. I'm just happy the ads I run cover the cost of my site. I don't do well under pressure. If there's one thing I really hate, it's pressure. As soon as someone tells me what to do or how to do it, I freak out. And the pressure to "brand" myself was getting to me. I can't write authentically if I feel pressure to "perform" in order to be commercially valuable.
- What is Success? I've tasted a little bit of writing success this past year. Just a taste. And I'll say this: it means absolutely nothing if my personal life and relationships suffer. For me, my primary value is solid, flourishing relationships. I define success by the depth and richness of my relationships: my faith, my marriage, my children, my friends. I have always chosen relationships over things and that includes a career. The only way I'll be happy in my writing success is if my relationships come first.
- What Do I Want? This was the hardest question for me to answer. I used to think I wanted to be a bestselling author, get hundreds of thousands of pageviews and make good money from my writing. But I am now unequivocally convinced that those things will not make me happy, nor will they make me a better person. If that kind of success happens, fine. But it's not my primary pursuit anymore. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I had neglected praying about my writing career. So, I spent time praying. What a difference that made! What I really want is to be a disciplined and emotionally honest writer. That's all. This will bring me the success I really want: increased love, truth and personal integrity. The rest? It's just gravy, baby.
Have you ever re-examined what you REALLY want? What did you discover?