A Renewed Focus

randomlychad  —  September 20, 2012 — 18 Comments

'Just Write' photo (c) 2011, Sean MacEntee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Yesterday was hard for me. Those of you that create content for a living, or for love, know the twin demons of doubt and fear which follow hard on the heels of a renewed resolve. You may, or may not, know that I’m working on a book. But… who am I to write a book? Who will read it? Who’s my “tribe?” How do I do that, and still maintain this blog?

Despite plumbing the depths of my heart and soul, stats–and comments–are down here. If I get to the end of the manuscript, polish it up, who’s going to read it? I don’t have a huge following. This is very much a niche blog. But I feel like I’ve been putting forth a lot of effort not only sharing my heart, but also trying to cajole people into reading it–without a lot of feedback (don’t get me wrong–I have received some nice notes of encouragement). Maybe I’m trying too hard, putting too much of myself into a blog?

Listen, you don’t really know just how close I came to shuttering this blog. Fortunately, I have a very wise wife, and some great friends who talked me down from the edge.

My wife told me:

“Growing in Christ is the most important thing. Maybe you should focus on your book and leave it in God’s hands. It’s hard to focus on work, blogging, your book, family, church, small group, classes, chores and family time.”

My friend Jim had this to say:

“Don’t kill something GREAT. You blog is NOT like other blogs. I FIRMLY believe Christ is using your blog, but also has BIGGER better things in store.”

My friend Tor said this:

“Personally, I think you may be taking a drastic step “by driving a stake” in the heart of your blog. The simple fact that you’re stressing about being in God’s will is a fairly good indication that you’re not too far from it – His grace will help cover the delta. As far as blogging, have you considered a 30 or 60-day sabbatical to focus only on your book? That might be an option. For what it’s worth, I took TWO months off from writing this summer with the birth of our boy thanks to the generous guest posts of writers like you. I felt renewed. That might be an option to consider.”

Thing is, it’s not just a blog to me–it’s a passion project. It just seems that a lot of energy goes into promoting, promoting, promoting, when instead it could be used for creating, creating, creating. I mean I get it: it’s a noisy world, full of a cacophony of voices. “Everybody wants to rule the world,” right?

Well, I don’t. Despite being my blog, I don’t want it to be about me, but rather about Jesus, and the message he’s given me. Because you see, I’m willing to let all die–this dream of writing–for him, for his sake. Yes, I understand he grants us the desires of our hearts, but I don’t want to be in the place where I’m desiring my dreams more than I desire him. Because I don’t care anymore about being known, but to know him.

That said, I know my gift and my calling, and feel like he wants me to use it. But it’s not about me; rather it’s about him, and the message he’s given. The liberty I’ve found in him that’s freely available to all. If he wills, that is what I wish to be about–because there such peace, freedom, and healing in him.

This doesn’t mean that other topics won’t, from time-to-time, come up. There will be periodic book reviews, and author interviews. I haven’t lost my passion for writing; rather, it’s been renewed. And I want to excise the distractions that detract from my mission. Which means I will still write, but I may do so less frequently here. And I refuse to give any more time, or thought, to stats, comments, etc. My words will connect with whomever God wills.

And that will be enough.

I want to thank you for coming on the journey with me thus far. Let us look forward together to what lies ahead.

In the end, let’s just say that after years of being “random” I’ve found my focus, and like a compass it points to True North.

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PS Look forward to an exciting new project coming from my friend, Jim Woods in the coming weeks. It promises to bring a #WritingRevolution. You heard it here first.

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • I look forward to seeing what’s in store in the coming days.

  • Chad, rest assured that God’s going to honor your commitment and sacrifice. He’s the God of redemption and renewal -- He’ll give you exactly what you need. Looking forward to your bright writing future!

    • Thanks, Tor!

      He sure is.

      Thanks for your most excellent counsel!

  • Oh, Chad, I know this place. I’m in it off and on. I love my blog. It’s part of my discipline, my writing practice. But some days, it does feel like it takes away from what I really want to do.

    I encourage you to do just as you are -- focus on what makes you feel alive, what gives you hope and peace, and what terrifies you. Put aside the worries about platform and tribe (I am also trying to follow my own advice in this) and just write. The writing is the heart. No matter how many readers you have, it won’t make a bit of difference if you haven’t written from your heart.

    And yes, use this blog for that. Forget us all and write the truest you. We’ll be here to read. No doubt.

  • My focus is good right now--on Christ and how I can best reflect Him as a husband, father, pastor, friend, and maybe even a renewed blogger.

  • Michelle Woodman

    Chad, there are parts of this post I could have written myself. Seriously. I, too, have struggled with the seeming “lack of a tribe”. And I have struggled with not getting more involved with other blogs. Sometimes it truly feels as though there are not enough hours in the day, eh?

    But you’re on a good path here, and props to your wife for her wonderfully wise words. Thanks also for sharing what Jim and Tor had to say, too. I gleaned encouragement from them all.

    This may sound corny or not make sense, but my focus is on finding my focus. I think it’s time I check out Andrew Zahn’s eBook as well as keeping an eye out for Jim’s new project.

    Write on, Chad. 🙂

    • Michelle,

      I know, right? Not enough hours to everything I want to do, but just enough to do what I need to do. All that’s required is dialing in that focus. Easier said than done, I know. That’s why prayer is key--listening for that still, small voice that whispers “This is the way, walk in it.”

      You will find focus there.

  • Chad, it’s exciting to see this journey you are on. You can’t see it, but I can. And it is nothing short of amazing!!

    I can’t see my journey either as my head fills with doubts and fears too, but I trust folks like yourself who tell me they see exciting things coming. (And growth in my writing voice and just as a person. Even as a leader-and I struggle to call myself a leader honestly.)

  • Your wife and friends are very wise! Whatever and whenever you choose to blog, your tribe will be here waiting. And when you finish that book, they’ll be first in line to buy it. 🙂
    May you find peace in the coming weeks as you follow His direction.
    Looking forward to Jim’s upcoming project, too. Sounds exciting!

    • Thanks, Denise! You’re very kind!

      Pray that I hear clearly.

      Jim’s project is gonna blow up huge!

  • My focus is okay now, but I totally get what you are thinking. Press on, my brother!

    • Thanks, Jon! You, too, brother!

      He stretches us doesn’t, He?

  • Michelle

    I find your blog to be about Jesus, and I enjoy coming and reading. I rarely comment (but then I rarely comment on anyone), but I always pray. Just so you know. 🙂

    • Thank-you, Michelle! Appreciate your readership, and your prayers.