My new blogging leaf that I turned over hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. My new goal is to not do blogs that are longer than one page. As I write this, I write everything long hand first, I am already circumventing this rule by writing in the margins. So if I go long, that’s why.

I just received an earful from the literary diva, Chesya Burke. It’s important for writers to have close writer friends, and she is probably my closest. However, this was one of those conversations that make you regret having writer friends. She loves starting conversations with “do you know what your problem is?” instead of “hello.” Turns out that I didn’t, but luckily for me, she was there to tell me. It boiled down to two things:

1. I do too many things for no money. My wife, the one I’m actually married to, agrees and thus my writing emancipation proclamation. I’ve come to the conclusion that writers and ministry workers buy two different versions of the same reality: “for exposure” vs. “for ministry.” Either way, folks end up justifying having no business plan as doing it “for the love” or “for the Lord.” “I want to build up a fan base” is little different than the rationalization of “if just one person comes to know Christ, it was all worth it.” Both equal your project shutting down. THEN who are you reaching?

2. I spend too much time waiting for things to happen. My first novel is at two different publication houses. The respective editors know this, so no worries. I’ve spoken with them periodically and though it is going on three years, I’ve been assured that no news is good news. I’m content with that. I’ll keep writing stories in the mean time that way I’ll have follow up books for when “it” happens. Patience, I was informed by her royal highness, is strangling my career. It’s me ducking the business side of writing. Editing projects into shape. Putting together submission packages. Hunting down an agent. I do none of that, but choose to pursue all manner of other non-paying work. And there’s no shortage of opportunities for people willing to work for no money. Thus I never seem to get anywhere nor get those other stories written.

After her rant, which was meant to be edifying despite its profanity-laced vitriol, she asked if she was wrong. This is the moment where she awaits the words she never tires of hearing: “you’re right, Chesya.” Not that she hears them often. Mostly because despite our geographical separation of half a country, you can actually hear her happy dance. Don’t get me wrong, her looking out for my career was not at odds her own self-interests (read: if you translate Chesya-speak, her concern ran along the lines of “you do too many things for other people instead of yourself. However, you can keep doing stuff for me.”)

Of course I could probably find time to do more by shutting down my blog. For the amount that I blog, I could be producing 2-3 short stories a week. I suppose I could look at my blogging as being paid to write, as long as I keep writing my blogs while at work. I’m a writer. I write. Maybe one day I’ll make a collection of my essays and self-publish them. After all, my blog gives me exposure.

And if just one person comes to know Christ …

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