I received a terse but kind text on Tuesday of this week:
“Missing your blog.”KW
I miss it, too.
So it may seem a curiosity that I have neglected it for so long.
It’s not for lack of material. Like most I have takes on Pressing Matters of Great Importance, like Tiger King (DID Carol kill her husband and feed him to her cats?). I have ideas on how preachers should preach when the congregation is at home in their pajamas. And I have thoughts on deeper things that are not culturally urgent such as living without fear or taking vows of celibacy. I have pieces in the queue that are funny, or try to be, and some that challenge (perhaps unwisely) conventional wisdom. Not all of this should be published, but I’d like to get some of these, at least, out there to be seen. So, yes, I, too, am missing the blog.
Apart from the current challenge of pastoring a church that cannot meet, my blog writing has been curtailed for a number of reasons. First, the little time I do have each day to give to writing has continued to be drained by The Book. I completed the first complete draft of Something Worth Living For in December. January was spent re-working the text for the publisher. Then time was spent with an editor going over it once again. All the while, I’ve directed time toward gaining endorsements and other such marketing efforts. I mistakingly thought that once I was done I was done. Just this morning, fifteen minutes of my writing time was spent corresponding with Christian Focus Publications as we continue to tweak the sub-title.
But now, most of that is behind me. And yet, that has left me flopping on the deck like a fish out of water. Someone I greatly respect asked me, “So what is your next book going to be?” Wait, should there be a next book? And so I sit, pondering, sketching, thinking, and not writing. Which of my five or six ideas have potential, both of sustaining my interest and capturing the interest of a publisher? (The latter being an especially relevant question since I only have a small number of blog subscribers, not quite 500 followers on Twitter, and only a handful who find me interesting on Instagram, the metrics that make most publishers sit up and take notice.) Will anything so capture me that I’m willing to shut off other pursuits to focus on that one alone for the year or two it would take to do the writing?
And then there is my desire to improve my writing. As I write, I was supposed to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attending the now postponed Festival of Faith and Writing. There I was to have participated in a workshop focused on writing a personal essay, a genre of great interest to me, with Meghan O’Gieblyn, an award-winning practitioner of the craft. The essay I was to have submitted for that workshop I have continued to write even though there is now no where to submit it.
And that is part of the problem as well. I am a ponderous reviser. I envy writers who seem to form a finished product in their brain which then flows from their fingers through the keyboard and out to the waiting eyes of their insatiable readers. In contrast, I am working on the tenth or eleventh revision of my unneeded essay. I now thoroughly hate it and need to lay it aside until I can like it again. It’s getting closer, but the hours I have spent, while good in sharpening my thought, and possibly (though this close to it I can’t see it) improving my writing, those were hours I could have given to the blog.
And finally it’s hard to take up the blog and build any sense of expectation in my readers when I know that I will fail you again. This blog will for the near future, at least, be a fill-in-the-gap space, which seems a paltry payment to readers who have, like my recent correspondent, encouraged me so much. You are not unappreciated. A paragraph in the acknowledgments of Something Worth Living For (look for it around November!) says, “For years faithful readers of my blog have urged me to write more.” This blog has been the genesis of much, including a book! I hope to, at least in the next few months, repay you with more frequent infrequent visits. For I miss it, too.