Me of Then vs. Me of Now

There are days when I think maybe I never should have started writing, or at the very least I never should have published. Don’t get me wrong – more often than not I am glad I did. But some days…

I was so naive. I knew – I mean, knew – that i would be a self-publishing success. Here’s exactly how I knew – I mean, knew – it was going to go when I first published the Abigail Phelps books a year ago: I would instantly move pretty high on the bestseller list, because I know a lot of people, and of course every single one of those people would buy my book, and every single person I knew would recommend my books to people they knew, either because they loved the story, they loved me, or they just wanted to see a local author succeed. 

Now please understand: many, MANY people have been amazingly supportive. In big ways, in small ways, in intangible ways, in unspeakable ways. I don’t take that for granted, and I never forget your support.

Nevertheless, to the naive, innocent, optimistic, hope-filled Me of Then, I would like to say the following:

YOU’RE AN IDIOT! What were you thinking? People are busy, people have more important things to do, and people (not all people, but most people) just don’t care about your books. They don’t care that you have thrown every ounce of energy, creativity, and passion into them. They don’t care that you think they are pretty good books, and they don’t care that they are honest-to-goodness unique and unlike anything else out there. And guess what… Many of them don’t really care about you. Not because  they didn’t want to read your book, just because they don’t really like you and never have. But there is nothing wrong with them not wanting to read your book, or download it to help your numbers go up – even if they don’t want to read it. In many cases, they don’t understand how important it is to you. It’s not intentional on their part. In some cases, they still don’t know you’ve even written a single book, much less a series. And, again, in some cases, they just don’t like you. You’re not as well-liked as you thought, and some people liked you more when you were still in the corporate world, seemingly the owner of a bit more power and prestige. They have no need for you now. So buck up, baby. You can keep going or you can quit, but you can’t count on others to help you through this. That was your mistake from the very beginning, wasn’t it?
I’m fighting really hard against the Me of Now at this moment. Me of Now is fighting every day to try and hold onto the positivity and the optimism, but Me of Now is full of cynical doubt and pessimism. I’m just being honest here. I know this isn’t one of the fun, quirky, bouncy blog posts I prefer to be known for, but that’s the influence of Me of Now.

I miss Me of Then. Me of Then had faith in herself and believed she had written a story that people would not be able to resist. Me of Then believed she was well-liked enough to sell books, and that just having a bunch of friends would be enough to get the process rolling. And then once the process got rolling, it wouldn’t have to be about me any longer. People would fall in love with Abigail Phelps.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I have written another novel and, I’ll be honest, I think it’s better than the Abigail Phelps series. It’s not as deep, and it’s not as intricate and layered. There is no real-life connection for these new characters of mine. But the manuscript is good. Forgive me if that sounds conceited, but I honestly don’t even believe I deserve the credit for it. It was a story and a message which God gave me, and the entire writing process felt like ministry. Seriously. But it’s funny and heartwarming and, I think, just bursting with potential. But I am terrified about proceeding with it.

I’ve been sending it out to literary agents, and there has been interest. But not from the right agents. I had to turn down an offer of representation because I refuse to fit in the box which the publishing world knows would sell books. If you’ve read the Abigail Phelps series, you know I don’t create traditional stories. Ever. What’s the point of that? There are millions and millions of authors out there writing traditional stories. My brain and my heart don’t work that way. My stories will never fit in the box. So self-publishing seems like the way to go. But I am terrified to try it with this new book and fail. It deserves better than that. I have proven that I don’t know how to have success at this. At least that’s what Me of Now is saying. 

If only I could get my stories into the right hands… If only someone in the publishing world would be able to see what I see… If only I were a little more well-liked…

These are the things running through my mind continually, and they threaten to crush me. I am praying for encouragement and guidance. Leaving my banking career in April…that wasn’t a whim or a mid-life crisis. That was what I felt led to do. I was told to step out on faith, and I did. And God has not left my side. We’re somehow managing to pay the bills, despite the fact that on paper, there’s no way we should be able to. I’ve gotten closer to my kids. I’ve gotten closer to my husband. I’ve gotten closer to God. And don’t get me wrong…I know that those are the big things. Those are the things that matter. And if nothing more comes from any of this than that, it was well worth it. But that doesn’t take away the confusion and disappointment.

I realize that this blog post has probably turned some of you off – of my blog, of my books, of me. I’m sorry if that’s the case, but truthfully I didn’t write this one for you. I wrote it for me, and I wrote it for God. I feel like a big lesson He is trying to teach me through all of this is, “This isn’t about what others think: of your books, of your writing, of you. It doesn’t matter if they think stepping out on faith was a mistake. It doesn’t matter if they think you have lost your mind for walking away from half of your family’s income. It just doesn’t matter.”

Me of Now is working very diligently to not let that become. “I don’t care what anyone thinks!” Not caring is very different from it not mattering. Not caring is based in jaded cynicism. It not mattering is based in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

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2 thoughts on “Me of Then vs. Me of Now

  1. Thanks for following my blog. I took a skip over to check yours out and LOVED the first article I came across. This is sooo true. I think many of ‘us of then’ felt the same way, although not everyone would admit it.

    Thanks again, and best of luck with your writing!

    Kathy

    1. Thank you for stopping by and following, Kathy. And thank you for saying that… Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one (though I know that I can’t possibly be!). I look forward to following along with your blog!

      Thanks so much,
      Bethany

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