I have a confession to make. Which is nothing new–I do that all the time over here. So, in keeping with tradition, I guess…
Sometimes? I like my own blogposts so much I read them over and over and over. Sometimes there will be a weekend like two weekends ago where my blog will get more hits in three days than it usually does in an entire month (okay–there’s only ever been one weekend like that, and probably it was because you were all snowed in and had nothing better to do), and I’ll look at the seven blogposts I wrote and think, “Yeah, that’s right. People are finally starting to realise just what a good writer I am!” Sometimes I’ll read a section of Favored One or Trees in the Pavement and be all, “Dang! I can write!“
I know. Pretty obnoxious, isn’t it?
Also weird, given the last post about my abject childhood discomfort with praise and approval and people being proud of me. What happened?
So here’s something with which I’m wrestling. (Sorry–I’m about to get a little theological on a Wednesday, but I can’t help myself.) We’ve talked about this here before a little, maybe, and I’m afraid I’m coming from a very specific perspective on this issue, so if you don’t hold the same worldview I do, just bear with me. But here’s the thing. I believe God gives us our talents. As such, then, although He makes them a part of our individual selves, so we ourselves do, in fact, create things and design things and imagine things, for example, there’s at least a sense in which He still deserves the credit. Also, if God really does “love you and have a wonderful plan for your life” (which I believe but “do not think it means what [some people] think it means”), then it makes sense to believe that God gave us our individual talents for a reason, and that the reason has to do with the Kingdom of God–with furthering the reinstatement of God’s perfect rule on this rebel planet. It makes sense to think that God cares that we use our talents and how we use our talents. Again with the potential not-meaning-what-people-think-it-means, but still true.
So . . . regardless of the above-described moments of weakness I have, I don’t think I’m wrong that writing is one of my talents. For most of my life I’ve been sort of guiltily “hiding it in the ground” (we’re learning about the Parable of the Talents in Sunday school at Now Church, so maybe that has something to do with my musings lately, too), and every once in a while digging it up and looking at it and half-heartedly trying to do something with it, and then just tossing it back in the hole again. Every year, I go through a month or so where I tune in to the fact that I am, as They say, “squandering my talent.” Then I do NaNoWriMo or something and realise I don’t write well that way and go back to squandering. I feel like this dishonours the God who gave me the ability to write, but apparently I’m pretty tough to motivate.
So this year, although I am not writing a new novel, I’m genuinely working on getting Favored One published, and I have, as you can see, a much more organised and steady blogging schedule. Along with all that–I’m actually having fun! And I feel like I’m finally developing the gift God’s wanted me to use for a while. It’s just that, the more I work on it, the more opportunity there is for that obnoxious self-aggrandisement I described at the beginning of this post.
How do you work towards excellence in your craft, enjoy that craft, and yet maintain humility in the face of it? I realise asking this question creates that scenario where, as soon as you realise you’re humble, you’re not. But . . . I guess I’m sort of illogically hoping someone has some advice here.