It's Your Fault . . . "
Yep, that’s how the latest email began . . . all in shouty, bold letters.
I tried digesting the phrase, rolled it around in my head a bit and then just sat with it. It became probable truth as my old nemesis, perfectionism, joined forces with the insecurities that survive, alive and kicking, within my introverted self. And through their critical lenses the actions of my last several months started to play across the landscape of my writer’s life. My mind generated a well full of questions, each bubbling up to ask what more I could have accomplished. I supposed it must be true . . . as an author, I am at fault; I’m simply not doing, not being, enough.
I took a moment to look back at the email’s header once more: “It’s Your Fault . . . You have a great story . . . it has to be told.”
Since launching my second book, Finding Grace, 9 months ago, I’ve been getting various emails and phone calls from people in the marketing game who have found the book, checked out its content, statistics and sales reports. All work to assure me their business models can offer better ways to sell my books more productively, effectively and efficiently. Because this particular marketer went a step further, hoping his words would spur me to find my fault and buy, literally, into his ideas, I began to relive my decisions.
I studied the rest of the marketer’s pitch and found myself focusing on these sentences:
“If a tree falls deep inside the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If the book was published for the world to read and nobody is finding it . . . is all that hard work for nothing?”
The conversation in my head did an about face. It was that last question – is all that hard work for nothing? - that centered me squarely into the space of intention. Why had I spent the time as well as the physical, emotional and spiritual energy to write my books in the first place? What were my best hopes. . . the grand purpose for it all? My heart answered immediately: it’s always been about love.
I wrote my first book, Letters for Grace, as a love letter to my son and daughter. I authored the second because I had discovered that the unconditional love of grace was key to reconciling the pain and chaos of deep grief. By writing both, I chose to fully own and share my story as one way of detailing how healing love can flow into and through the brokenness of profound loss.
Has my work earned its own value? Am I at fault for doing less than I could have to make my books more successful, more profitable? Would my fault be wiped away if my author life could be measured in earning thousands, in selling thousands, and in meeting and talking with thousands? What measures are best for judging the success of my own work?
I expect I’ll revisit and ponder all of these questions again. But, by striving to be present, always a loving face of grace for each person who reads my work, listens to me speak, attends my workshops, contacts me or joins me in conversation, I am content that today, I am enough. As for fault? Today, I accept the fault of temporarily losing sight of why I began my writer’s journey.
May you know in your heart, without a doubt, that you are enough for this and every journey you walk.
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