a writers bellow

Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 8 Comments »

Writing for the public is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not the writing part, but the ‘for the public’ part. I’m a very private person. I keep to myself and don’t particularly like a lot of attention. I say ‘particularly’ because there are times when I do, but you know…if it’s good attention. Even then I can only take it in small doses.

Writers, who have a book out or want to be published, have to self-promote the heck out of themselves. ‘Look at me! Listen to me!’ Ugh. We have to build a ‘platform’, build a ‘following’ and (Lord, help me) speak in public (with a microphone!).

I get hives before going out in public. Clicking ‘Publish’ makes me nervous. Sometimes I write at night and schedule my blog to be published in the morning. Then I toss and turn all night and panic in the morning trying to catch it before it goes up. I do video blogs and never watch them once they’re posted.

I’m not good at it. Self-promoting. I think I’m failing at it. I want people to comment on my blogs, but I’m scared of what they’ll say. It’s a double-edged sword, because when they don’t comment I feel like I’ve failed again. I’m not writing for the comments, but that double-edged sword, …you know.

There was a time when I knew, for certain, that God called me to share my story and write what He teaches me. But, there are so many times when I doubt that. Times when I don’t know who is reading or if they’re reading at all.

My story is not an easy one to hear. It’s all about grace. It represents an uncomfortably (but encouraging?) heavy dose of grace. I don’t write so that I can say what everybody else is saying. I write to say what hardly anybody is saying. That means I say things that may be controversial. Or, maybe not controversial, but challenging. Challenging is not easy. Especially for someone who doesn’t like to be noticed and especially doesn’t like to be disliked.

I’m not an ego stroker. I’m not a networker. I’m not too insecure or shy. I’m just private and sort of reclusive. The more I put myself out there in writing, the more I pull back in public.

The way I deal with all of this is by trying to remember that God called me to something that is outside of my comfort zone. I don’t belong to myself anymore. I use the love of writing, the gift of literary gab, to blindly stretch my hands out to reach whoever I can. It’s rewarding at times and raw at others.  If it’s not about me, then t’s about lining my will up through obedience even when it feels like it’s for nothing. Trusting it’s for something.

If you want something tangible to take away from my obscure little rant, then take that. More than likely, your calling will be something that takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you feel inadequate. That way God has plenty of room to move because you don’t know how. And half the time, you may not get to see what your work is doing.

I know I offered that up for you, but maybe it’s more for me. Hmmm.

I’ll work on my end to stretch out in this spacious scary public place (this post, for instance). What are you going to do in your own space?



8 Comments on “a writers bellow”

  1. 1 Jessia said at 4:51 pm on June 30th, 2010:

    You go! I need to work on finding your courage to speak up for my beliefs. They are also controversial, but for very different reasons. So, far, I am still too hesitant to publish my opinion, but let's see if I can start here. I am opposed to our society's blind acceptance of an institutional approach to everything. Young children do not need so many organized activities. I know who teaches in those programs (schools both public and private, recreation programs, tutoring programs, etc) because I was a teacher there myself – in suburbia and rural settings, to the rich and the "at-risk"). Not only is it an extra expense (there are so many talented people in your community, couldn't we all be part of the proverbial village?) but it is also so structured that natural curiosity is killed! (At the risk of sounding completely judgmental, I have also seen way too many teachers that I believe are doing more harm then good.) There I said it, let's see if I delete this comment. 😉

  2. 2 Cindy said at 3:29 pm on July 1st, 2010:

    Hey Serena,

    I love what you write. It's fabulous, because it's clear you've lived it. And people listen to that kind of authenticity.

    I also love it because I've lived it, and you are saying what the Christian community needs to hear. Your blog isn't a happiness factory. It's a poke in the behind, a nudge in the ribs, and sometimes a stomp on the instep: Stop right there. Adjust attitude. Let your heart listen to these words. Allow Christ to transform.

    I think one of my fave things about reading your writing is how you are so based on Scripture. And continuously point the reader back to God.

    Thank you for being obedient and stepping out of your comfort zone.

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 5:03 pm on July 1st, 2010:

    cindy: you made me smile. 🙂 thanks.

  4. 4 Julie said at 1:29 am on July 2nd, 2010:


    I come to your blog site daily as part of my alone time with God. I have said often, that I use it as a springboard for quiet time. I actually have a toolbar that allows me to put my favorite sites in a quick-link, this blog is in that bar. I come here because of your humility and honesty. I come here because you are allowing God to use you in ways that I need. The books I have been reading, the concepts I learned from them are reinforced when I come here. I know God is using the sites I am frequenting to show me what He wants me to know. I am ever thankful for that.

    I often read your blogs and I do not comment. I don't comment because sometimes, the subject matter is just over my head enough that I am sometimes still processing one thought when a week passes and you've written about 6 more things… some of which hold concepts easier for me to grasp… so I move on from the "hard" thoughts and comment on those things which I TOTALLY get. LOL

    You are doing a good thing here, Serena. Keep it up… be assured that even if no one else reads it… even if I don't comment… ( I promise you, I HAVE READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN.) Now I'm not so into myself that I believe you are sitting back now with a deep sigh, taking a huge sip on your coffee, smiling and thinking to yourself…"well there you go, Julie reads my site. I can get up every morning now."

    I guess I am just saying, you may not be reaching everyone but God is using you to teach me… keep reaching and teaching (and I'll stop rambling…) 🙂

  5. 5 Amber said at 5:02 am on July 2nd, 2010:

    I love reading your blog =). I do so very often and it ALWAYS encourages me. It always gives me food for thought and inspires me to change my thought pattern. I've read your book, given it as gifts, and have actually talked about it this week with another friend of mine – encouraging her to read it. Thank you for doing what you do.

  6. 6 TheNorEaster said at 10:23 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    I think some of the previous comments were spot on — that your blog is not a happiness factory, and that your message is so appealling because you've lived it. That certainly appeals to me.

    I used to read a lot of blogs all the time, but not so much anymore. I keep reading this one though, because you see the world as it is — not how it should be.

    Anybody can say, "This is how it should be," but so very few people are saying, "This is how it is, and this what God has taught me about how to live in a fallen world."

    You are doing just that. And it is wonderful to see.

    Personally, I've had enough of should; heck most of the Christians who do that aren't even aware that they are doing it.

    But, I kind of think life is too short for should. And that we'll learn more facing reality, cold and cruel, than we will resting on religious illusions.

  7. 7 Jodie said at 10:49 am on July 8th, 2010:

    Oh gosh Serena, I am so glad that you write. Without you, I might never read a blog with any moxie. And your story is littered with grace and I find it terribly encouraging.

    As for me, this paragraph…

    "More than likely, your calling will be something that takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you feel inadequate. That way God has plenty of room to move because you don’t know how. And half the time, you may not get to see what your work is doing."

    …shook something in my gut. Because it's something I literally deal with every day. I'm a 30-yr old, new-to-homeschooling mother, a 10 year old Christian with more questions than answers, and a married woman of 8 years and I have been in a place of sadness and grieving lately… because my lot, this life that God has chosen for me, has not worked out the way that I had expected it would, and I'm dealing with the death of those expectations so that I can get out of my perpetual bad mood. What you said though, spoke to that part of me… so thank you for writing.

  8. 8 Sue said at 5:41 pm on July 8th, 2010:

    Serena, Your blog has a been blessing to me.

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