Well, hello there! Happy Monday to you!

And look! We’ve slipped over the halfway mark in our discussion of the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts.

If you’re just joining in for the first time, welcome! You can catch an overview and links to posts from previous chapters right over here.

Click here to grab a copy of the book, if you haven’t done so already!

I’ve so enjoyed this discussion so far — thank you to all who have commented, reflected, interacted, and linked up! Such an encouragement to me and many others.

In today’s chapter, we’ve arrived at one of the trickiest, stickiest aspects of being a writer: promoting one’s own work.

Doesn’t the word “promote” itself just rub you the wrong way? (Or maybe that’s just me.)

 

Chapter(4)

Let’s kick off our discussion by listening to some more words of wisdom in this video from co-authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig.

 

 

In this chapter, Ann and Charity address the question:

 

Over a year ago, I reflected on this topic in a blog post called, “In which I question whether platform building can hold hands with Christianity.”

What do you think?

What does platform building look like for a believer?

These are a couple of questions I ask in the blog post I mentioned above.

Though I’m grateful that my thinking on this topic has deepened and hopefully matured somewhat since writing the post in early 2014, I still battle with the tension between Matthew 6:1 and Matthew 5:16.

Both verses were spoken by Jesus in his famous Sermon on the Mount.

In Matthew 6:1, Jesus says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

In contrast, in Matthew 5:16, we read, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

So — are we supposed to do our acts of righteousness and good deeds in secret, so as not to be seen by men, or are we supposed to do our good works in front of other people?

I think the key lies in the latter portion of 5:16 — “… so that they may … give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

And that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it:

Who is getting the glory?

I’ve been so encouraged by all of you who have participated in this discussion by leaving comments and linking up your own writing, and in so many, I can see that your heart’s desire is to bring God glory by using the gifts He has given you. Praise God.

I want to urge you (and me) to keep realigning our focus on a daily basis, to seek His glory as our primary goal in writing.

If that is our heart’s desire, I believe it brings Him glory when we use our gifts faithfully — and I believe He delights in using the gifts He’s given to bless others.

The problem is, that shift toward selfish gain, pride, and the desire for man’s approval, happens so fast and often so subtly. There’s a fine line, and our sinfully prone hearts veer toward it every hour. The question is whether we steer it back into the right lane with the help of the Holy Spirit, or whether we lift our hands in surrender and let the vehicle of our prideful hearts careen into dangerous territory.

How can we encourage one another in these murky waters of self-promotion? How can we better bring glory to God in the ways we promote our work?

***

Sneak preview to Wednesday:

We’ll be discussing Chapter 8 :: DISCOVER

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking chapter.

Some questions to consider for Wednesday’s discussion and link-up:

Write an essay or blog post on the subtitle of this chapter: “When I write, I find myself.” What does that mean to you? 

What have you learned about yourself as a result of writing? 

Imagine someone you love is dying. What would you want them to know? Write it down.  

If you could describe yourself through your writing, how would you do so? 

***

What are your thoughts on the topic, PROMOTE?

Why do you think it’s so difficult for many people to promote their own work? 

How do you feel about the tension between not wanting to “blow your own horn,” but also wanting people to read your work? 

What strategies have you adopted when it comes to the practice of promotion? 

How can we link arms and encourage other writers by promoting one another? 

What does promotion look like for the Christian? 

How do you reconcile the desire to write and the so-called “need” for a platform? 

Share away in the comments and link-up below!
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29 thoughts on “on being a writer :: promote {chapter 7}

  1. “There’s a fine line, and our sinfully prone hearts veer toward it every hour.” Ummm… yes. – and it helps so much to know that my heart is one of many like it.

    I’ve been quietly “listening” to the other chapters, just soaking it in and reflecting- without many words of my own to contribute, but THIS chapter is the one I’ve been waiting for. Please forgive my random ramblings….

    It’s all tied in to chapter 1- identifying myself as a writer, and I can’t quiet get past it. If I don’t revisit that hurdle and clear it, I’ll never be able to give my words a fair chance in promotion.

    I love what the author said about “best friend” sounds so much better than “best seller”. I’m so afraid I’ll annoy friends by my social media posting that I often just don’t. The only thing that does drive me is my loyalty to my words –

    Creating a separate FB page for my writing helped a lot. At least those people signed up for my writing and know what they are getting into. And I rarely share my posts on my personal page. This helps ease the angst.

    I think a lot of it comes down to another point the author makes… readers know when they are being used and manipulated. I’ve got little patience for that and I never want to jeopardize my relationship with my readers. But where’s the line? How much is too much? I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve posted on social media, only to delete minutes later. Or how many times I’ve started to promote a blog post, but then changed my mind.

    Kate- you are right. It all comes down to glorifying God with my gifts. To avoid false humility and write with gratitude – then share for His glory. I do feel the difference between writing for His glory and mine… and the difference between promoting for the same reasons. It’s all about my heart. I wish it could be about something simpler…

    This is of the many things I appreciate about you, Kate.Your online presence and your writing truly glorifies God – I can’t quite put my finger on why, but there IS a difference. Thank you for being obedient to HIm.

    And thanks for hosting this space for our reflections and questions – for a place where we can celebrate solidarity. I know this is a crazy busy time for you. Praying for you and your family as you prepare to move 🙂

    • Concerning promoting our writing, I believe the key is our motive in doing this. If it’s simply to bring attention to ourselves, that’s wrong. But if our desire is to use our writing to glorify God, that will only happen if we get someone to read what we write.

      Love the idea of having a separate Facebook page for your writing. When I get my own website (my next step in promotion), I think I’ll also link it to a special Facebook page for my writing.

  2. Kate, absolutely agree with you on so many points (and understanding that difference definitely made a difference for me, too). Karen: I’d love to read your words (and totally agree that this links in to day one…we can’t get behind promoting ourselves as writers if we’re not 110% convinced, ourselves, that we are writers…therein lies the gap, perhaps, that many of us fall in to (when we fail to be confident enough to promote ourselves? (Am in ‘Thinking out loud’ mode))…Helen

  3. kate, i appreciated you posts…both the one today and the one you linked to. i think i’m different than many. i haven’t been a lifelong writer. although i now see places I did it and it was developing in seed form, i never saw myself as a writer.
    it was only in my early 60’s that i started reading blogs and felt the need for the presence of the older woman’s voice among mommy bloggers that i started blogging. obviously i haven’t taken the blog world by storm. their desire for me wasn’t a felt need at all!
    would i have loved to be wanted and applauded? of course. but my calling was to speak up and let the chips fall where they may. after 9 years of writing online, i’m learning how to connect more and more with an audience that may want to hear my words.
    i understand the concern for finding a platform but i have never been able to get near the people who would have been able to give me one that was very high. the one time i thought i was going to make a connection, i was on a support group for a new book and discovered something i couldn’t really support as i read the book. it wasn’t really huge, but i didn’t feel i could encourage my readers to buy the book with that in it. i told the author…and had to drop out of the group.
    i guess i’m just not meant for platform living:( because of how i started writing, this isn’t the issue for me at all.
    i know where i fit in the blogging world…at the bottom where i belong. i’d love to be in a group of us who could support each other’s writings and critique them as well. it is a lonelier existence than i would like. but i’m getting used to it
    dan king’s words encouraged me that i can put my words together and publish them…when we met together. i was shocked. so i’m going to plug forward. but i know i will need to move forward a few levels with the support of other writers.
    just as christians need koinonia fellowship for growth, writers do too! we need that to grow as writers to improve our skills and to support one another especially for promotion. i like that picture much better rather than the platform one for a christian view of of promotion don’t you kate? if it is a circle rather than a platform, we see some speaking/writing, others praying, encouraging, promoting. that doesn’t mean we can’t promote our words too if we believe in them. but it is helpful to have our circle around us who believe in us to be promoting as well. i guess that is what i see as a christian view of promotion:)
    that way the person who is writing/speaking is not towering over everyone else. because let’s face it. they don’t know everything. they aren’t better than everyone else. they simply wrote a book on a topic. that’s all. we know how hard that is, but we also know they are normal people.

    • Martha we are in the same blogging age group and we are not the bottom! Ha! Ha! We have much to offer and you have already impacted me when you suggested that I format my blog differently. I really like your writing and reading it is very enjoyable.

    • Martha- I love how you recognized your Biblical purpose in writing… to be the “presence of the older woman’s voice among mommy bloggers”.
      I also can relate to wanting to push aside the platform image and embrace the circle of fellowship – in order to grow. That’s SO much easier to swallow.
      Great thoughts!

      • i thin it helps us be more collaborative with each other rather than have that superstar/platform mentality. i wish we could look at each other for our strengths and weaknesses and get help where needed rather than look at the superstars and be awed by them…if that is the case.

        i understand that the busier writers have less time to spend with people b/c they are writing…and need to charge for the time they often do spend with them. but somehow there needs to be a balance between an attitude with some that says…you are lucky to have time with me. vs. others who are trying to minister.

        since i’m not in that position, i’m not sure how it is done. again, it falls into the category of their attitude…and my not superimposing my prejudices on them!

  4. I heard an amazing phrase yesterday. “What matters is the posture of the heart” I played with that all day. In my yoga practice I hold a posture to open up my breathing or move energy into stagnant places. In this setting, posing is a good thing. In church I may pose as a good Christian but have a negative heart. Here, my posture is holding me back. It is keeping me from openly breathing in the spirit and moving forward. So, as Kate inferred, the posture of the heart matters.
    Here is my blog link until the link thing is up.

    http://backontheflooragain.blogspot.com/2015/09/promote.html

  5. I love your thoughts on this. Also, before I link my post, just wanted to say that I used the same Bible verses and was making a very similar point. I wrote my post yesterday as I knew I wouldn’t have time today, so I promise I wasn’t copying!

  6. now that my actual post is one, i just realized that the link is messed up! that was a hard post! i had too much to say…what else is new:)

    gabrielly, as an older woman i don’t think i am on the bottom. i just don’t think of myself as a great writer. practice has definitely brought some improvement, but i don’t think i’ll ever be a star:) partly b/c i have a difficult time finding a brief way to say what i want to! ugh!

  7. I’m late getting to this today but so glad I did. I wasn’t planning to post and for many of the reasons you all are dealing with – promotion! Who? Me? I connect with every one of you in the comments you’ve shared. I thought just declaring myself a writer was hard but really, I knew this would be the big hurdle. Today, I have no plans to publish. That’s not my aspiration. Today. I don’t know the future and have been cautioned by friends to be open. So I’ll just say today. I like so much the idea of circle and coming together in ways to build each other up in the craft we are trying to improve. I think we all want to do better because we are learners of life.

    A bit rambling but I’m still trying to take it all in. Excellent post on this Kate. I’m going to try to read the others. I appreciate the support from each of you.

    • Yes! My apologies to all! I got home this evening, checked it out, and realized I had set it to activate at 10pm — the “usual” FMF link-up start time! So sorry for the frustration and inconvenience caused!

  8. “Few of us can keep our faith if we work in a vacuum or void. None of us can convey our stories, pass on what we are here to pass on, if we do not create for ourselves a circle of listeners. As crucial as it is to reach in and find the words we need to speak, it is equally crucial to extend ourselves outward, to believe ourselves into that next act of sharing our work.” Jan Phillips, in Marry Your Muse.

    Great quote!

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