I’ve spent a lot of time in the last month or so helping circulate a petition to get something on the ballot here in my town. I boldly walk up to strangers and ask them to sign. And I’ve made the remark more than once that I don’t know anything else I would do this for. My community is very important to me.
The truth is I do have other parts of my life where I would put forth that kind of effort. I know that I would do anything humanly possible if my kids or my husband needed me to. I would go way out of my comfort zone for my extended family too. And I have done that for my books. Talking to an audience, selling books at conferences and doing signings at bookstores are all too uncomfortable for me to even want to think about but I have done them all.
But…here’s the thing. When I am out gathering signatures for my petition, I will argue with people, in the nicest possible way, who disagree. I will stand my ground and tell them why I think they should sign. Too often, when it comes to my books, I don’t feel confident enough.
Getting what you want, as I am learning with this petition, is often just as easy, and as difficult, as asking for it. If you don’t send that book out to the publisher, how can he know he wants to publish it? If you don’t make promo efforts, how can anyone know your work is out there? I got past these hurdles because they made sense to me.
But sometimes, when my husband and kids mention my books to people, I am uncomfortable. I don’t do that. But I’ve realized something with all of this. When you are passionate about something, it comes up. Everyone I know, knows I am married and that I have grown children. Everyone I know, knows that I run. And yes, even my acquaintances have found out that I am circulating this petition.
I have to apply this to writing. If my casual friends don’t know I write, how can they read it, let alone help spread the word about it?
With the petition, I had no ego involved. I had nothing to do with the situation as it stands except to dislike it, so standing my ground about it and letting people know what is going on is easy. I am going to try to apply that to my books. Letting people know is not the same as bragging although it feels that way sometimes. It’s that thing in the Bible about putting the light on a stand so people can see it, not under a basket. I just need to remember it like that.