January 15, I wrote a post about my struggle to find myself in the writing / publishing world. I declared that I had lost myself trying to be someone I am not. I made lists about “who I am not” and “who I am.” I thought the case was closed.
However, in recent weeks, I experienced twinges of uneasiness as I sought the guidance of “outside authorities.”
#1 Twinge of Uneasiness
I consulted an entrepreneur for answers to a couple questions about the business side of being an author. I thought one meeting would be enough. However, her goals for me were far broader. She began coaching me about setting up “my business.”
I have never identified myself as a businesswoman and cringe at that label. I have always thought of myself as being in ministry — providing a service. Seems I hold a number of negative perceptions about “business” — competition, ruthless ladder climbing, profits more important than people, income disparity, gender/racial wage gaps — you get the picture. I don’t want to be shoved into a box that doesn’t fit for me.
However, I stumbled answering a significant marketing question about my target audience. No surprise. Marketing is not my forte. Grateful to be receiving help, I left our first meeting with assignments. One was to return with a clear definition of my target audience.
I reached out to some of you for help with this. Soon I had a long list of people who could benefit from reading A Long Awakening to Grace. Thank you.
#2 Twinge of Uneasiness
However, I was also advised to deemphasize words related to faith and spirituality. Reading about my journey and the medical mystery solved could be enjoyed by anyone according to this adviser. But I needed to be careful not to alienate those opposed to reading faith-or-religion-oriented books.
A message from a woman considering my book for her book club speaks to this “marketing challenge.” She expressed skepticism about reading A Long Awakening to Grace because it sounded “spiritual.” I had no idea what that meant to her. It took me right into questions reflecting our cultural divide.
Is she skeptical because…
- she doesn’t believe in God in the traditional sense or at all?
- or because she fears “spiritual” would violate her immutable beliefs?
- or because “spiritual” doesn’t sound biblical enough?
- or because she doubts the book would speak to her unconventional sacred journey?
- or something else I can’t even imagine?
Lots of questions.
I wrote back to her admitting I didn’t know what her skepticism meant to her and didn’t know how to respond. I invited her to read my book and let me know what she thought, even if she hated it. It is connection and dialogue that I seek.
#3 Twinge of Uneasiness
I took my long list of potential readers to the second meeting with my entrepreneurial mentor. She asked me to come up with one sentence describing the common thread among the people who could benefit from reading my book. She took a stab at it as an example, using the word “motivational.”
I knew “motivational” didn’t fit. My book delineates no “10 Steps to Success.”
#4 Twinge of Uneasiness
In the midst of this, I engaged a designer to do an overhaul on my website. When I told her what I wanted, I was met with a litany of reasons why that wouldn’t work. In the world of web design today, websites have been simplified to accommodate cell phones.
My judgments surged to the fore. As a former relationship therapist who values in-person connection, I bristled with indignation. I had to give up the website I wanted to satisfy … here comes the judgment … those who walk around with their noses in cell phones when there are people right in front of them with whom they could have a meaningful conversation.
My excitement about have a new website design plummeted. A disgruntled, disagreeable woman surfaced. The joy I experienced writing my memoir dissolved as I faced another stifling marketing box.
Just so you know, there is a lot I like about my new website. It is better than what I had. I’m just having to get used to the change, especially when it isn’t what I had in mind. And I’m a little slow to adjust to change of any kind. One of my growth edges. 🙂
Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit. ~Tara Brach
It was time to consult my “inner authority.” I stepped out of my busyness and endless pursuit. I withdrew to reconnect with my spirit. And that will be the topic of my next blog post.