I lost my focus. It happened gradually, as it usually does. Over the past few days, I’ve tried to write some ideas that have been in my head for a long time, but they won’t come out right. The only writing I feel somewhat okay about is the second draft of my novel, and all I’m doing there is transferring the handwritten draft to the computer with some edits along the way. Even that isn’t completely satisfying.
It was obvious that I needed to do some self-reflection, and it didn’t take long to realize that my focus had shifted to the wrong things. In a previous post I mentioned that I’ve been more active in the online writing community in an attempt to do some networking. With social media, there’s a line between its helpful, enlightening, and uplifting side, and the point where it becomes an obsession. I start to wonder, do people like me? Am I interesting enough? Do I have enough followers? What can I do to make people like me?
The work I love—writing—was being overshadowed and swallowed up in my desire to please an unknown audience.
I was reminded that I am writing for God—to develop the talent He has given me and use it to serve Him. This doesn’t mean that every story will be about God, but that the content and purpose of each story and each post will please Him. I can write stories that bring hope and inspire others. I can write posts that show the ups and downs of daily life, showing others that they are not alone in their struggles and triumphs. I can find joy in my writing, no matter who reads and appreciates it. God needs me to grow as a person and as a writer, without getting caught up, distracted, and discouraged by the worldly side of writing.
I wish I could determine to focus on pleasing the Lord and never slip, but I’m human and make mistakes. My intentions aren’t always what I want them to be. But I’m grateful for the days when I get it right so that it’s easier to see when I get it wrong. I’m grateful for gentle reminders that get me back on track.
As for social media, it’s still an important tool in modern publishing. I can use it while keeping myself in check. I can’t make anyone like me or read my writing. I can engage with others, learn from them, and build relationships without sacrificing the writing that took me there in the first place. When it starts to become an obsession, I can pull back. After all, what’s the point of being part of the writing community if I’m unable to do any writing?