By Molly Jo Realy (@MollyJoRealy)
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24, NLT
TL;DR: I haven’t been who I need to be. For God. For myself. For my readers. That’s gonna change.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A girl moves cross country to be with friends, write books, and drink sweet tea work toward achieving her lifelong goals. But what’s a good story without conflict and external interference? Well, it’s not a good story, that’s for sure. Insert financial struggles, physical ailments, and a heaping mound of self-doubt … Yeah. You know where this is going.
Obviously, we’re talking about This Girl.
Many of you have been on this writing journey with me for years. You’ve helped shape and reshape and yet again reshape my professional identity. Except in all that shaping, I’ve lost sight of who you are.
So, Imma gonna try to make a long story short. (TOO LATE!)
Success is scary in so many ways because moving forward means, well, moving. Which puts something in the rearview mirror. And I’m kinda afraid to admit I’m worried it might be you: My peeps. My readers. My Swarm.
I’ve been afraid to let loose … And I’m the Bohemian Hurricane! Can you sense my struggle yet?! I’m on the shore of different oceans, afraid to go deep into any one of them for fear of losing what I’d miss in the other ones.
Not wanting to alienate anyone, I cater to everyone, but in broken, disjointed bits. First I’m here. Then over—no, not quite. Wait. Maybe I should pivot… Hold on what’s—
You see my hot mess? There are family and friends who will always support me no matter what. And there are Christian friends who aren’t readers, but listen when I share God. Let’s not forget the reader friends who don’t openly profess their faith, yet encourage me with every word I write. And there’s a huge unknown audience that I’m trying to fit into some demographic I don’t even recognize. And instead of writing the way I want to write, using MY voice every single time I blog or post or share or comment … I’ve become a chameleon of sorts; hiding parts of me to make others more comfortable.
Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes we need to be aware of the introverts in the room, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean we quit speaking.
See? Too many oceans, and I’m only one Hurricane. Look: I can’t even commit to one weekly theme in my Happy Planner. Ugh!
Instead of trusting myself to be myself, I’ve been trying to be Complacent Every Girl. And that has obviously never worked for me.
But let’s get to a different crux of the same matter: I continuously ask God to bless my writing, and then I continuously leave Him out of it. Ouch! That is some serious no bueno! Look. We all know those few people who claim to be Godly but use Him more as a marketing tool than a personal ministry. There are so many people who are authentic, but I didn’t want to be misunderstood. I didn’t want to put up a barrier between my people and my God. Well … I’ve come to realize, to my horror, that by not wanting to alienate anyone, I’ve alienated far too many. By not wanting to sound preachy in my every day writing life I’ve effectively removed God from my every day writing life. GodsWritingGirlSayWhaaat?! When it comes to sharing Him with my world at large … Dudes. I suck.
Y’all ever get that nudge? You know what I’m talking ‘bout. Call it what you want: Your muse. An internal whisper. The Gibbs’ Gut. Yeah. That’s been happening lately. In my mind there’s this sort of chaos, just waiting for me illuminate it and settle things down. I’ve been ignoring it. Not like, oh-I-forgot-you-were-there ignoring. But more of a two-year-old, if-I-close-my-eyes-you-can’t-see-me ignoring.
“Where did my kid go?” Said no parent seriously, ever. Including God.
Okay. I get it. I’ve been slacking. I’ve been diversifying my audience and not really doing much for any of them. And, I’ve taken You out of the equation. You know what, God? I get it. And I’m sorry. Really. I want you—I need you—to be a part of every aspect of my life. And that includes the writing. Because, hey. You’re the One who gave me this talent to begin with, amiright?
On my drive home the other day (well, several days, if I’m being honest), God and I talked. A lot.
“Are you listening to Me?”
“No. Really. Are you paying attention?”
“Yeah. Got it.”
“Because it doesn’t quite feel like I have your full attention.”
“Whaddya want from me, God? I’m trying to live here.”
“Yeah. Thing is, you keep asking for Me to live with you, but then you run off and do your own thing.”
“So? You’re still here, aren’t You?”
“God? I said, You’re still here, aren’t You?”
“Scared ya, didn’t I?”
“Imagine if I really ignored you.”
“Now you know what it feels like.”
Okay. So I did the self-evaluation thing, and I figured out what needs to be done and I couldn’t wait to get home and share all this with you. You know who didn’twant me to share this? Well, it wasn’t God, that’s for sure.
In an upcoming post, I’ll let y’all in on this journal entry’s backstory. Because, folks. The struggle is real, and I ain’t lying! There was a website crash, emails not working. And this went on for days! But you’re reading this, there were also lots of little (and big) answered prayers.
Oh, wait. What about this one-way street I had toward my Swarm? You know. “Like my post.” “Share my blog.” “Order my book.” “Buy my binder.” “Where are all my analytics?” “Do all these things for MEMEMEMEME.” This is where I hang my head in shame, and ask forgiveness. Because
You are not a means to an end.
You are my readers. My audience. My loving Swarm.
And I quite humbly ask your forgiveness, and your company as I stretch and grow. Will I market? Of course. I’m a writer, and I need you. But I will also share life. Will I update my writing progress? Youbetcha. And now that I recognize what’s been holding me back, you just watch those words flow! Will I pray for you? Every single day. And I hope you will pray for me, too.
I don’t know what all this looks like going forward, but I’m formulating a plan … I’ll post new entries for Molly Jo’s Journals on Tuesdays, because Tuesdays are the greatest day of the week. Why? Hmmm… You’ll just have to come back next Tuesday to find out. That’s a start. And newsletters. Hopefully to go out the first of each month. A giveaway now and then. I think that’s a manageable plan, and I hope you’ll come to the table. [BeeTeeDubs, congrats to Josie Siler for winning the spirograph set two months ago!]
Oh, yeah. You know that topic-diversification thing that wasn’t working? A post about writing. A post not about writing. A post maybe about food but subtly about God. Welcome to MJR 2.0, where every post will probably include writing, editing, food, God, and other things. So batten down the hatches.
It’s Bohemian Hurricane Season.
And honey, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!
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Come alive and stay wild,
Author of the romantic location mystery novel, NOLA, Molly Jo Realy is an award-winning writer and author coach. Known as the Bohemian Hurricane, she encourages people to embrace their unique talents to come alive and stay wild every day. Addicted to cats, coffee, and pens in no particular order.
BTW: At the end of each post, I will share social media or marketing links. Like this one:
I had promoted the Book Builder Binder on discount and not twelve hours later, my website crashed (part of the aforementioned story soon to be told). Everything’s back up (thank you, Captain Obvious), and I thank you for your patience. So, order your download of the Book Builder Binder now through June 30, and save 50% with code “SUMMER”. The Book Builder Binder: Your safe place to create, curate, and keep all your story writing ideas.