© 2008 Andrew Kuznetsov, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
A few years and many words ago, I had a tidy little community here. I would write something, and people would reply. Then that began tapering off.
And so did my output. Somewhere along the way, I lost my passion. Getting caught up in the engagement, I forgot what I’d even started for. I had goals both serious and superficial (the blog is, after all, called RandomlyChad). I wanted it to be a community for people who hadn’t gotten it all figured out, who had been stung a time or two by life, but still weren’t afraid to laugh.
Well, there isn’t much community here anymore, and I have no one to blame but myself. I forgot why I was here, and for whom I was writing. I’ve learned some lessons along the way:
1) It’s better to love, and be loved, than to be popular. Popular is a moment, but love lasts a lifetime (and beyond). There’s no need to keep up with the Kardashians (or anyone else for that matter). Just because Donald Miller, or Jeff Goins, or Michael Hyatt, or Jon Acuff, or Rachel Held Evans, or whomever is doing XYZ doesn’t mean what they’re doing is a formula for all of us. The good Lord above hasn’t called us to be clones, but rather individuals. As such, we each have our own passions and interests. Our art should reflect that. Besides, people are quite good at sussing out imitations. Why do we need a copy of XXX when the real thing is right over there. That’s either pastiche, or parody. Be your own thing, and don’t lower your gaze to settle on mere popularity.
2) Writing is hard work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying through their gleaming pearly-whites. It’s really a lot like working out: one’s muscles must be exercised to grow. Growth does not happen overnight, but over the many days, weeks, months, and eventually years invested in the gym. Barbells don’t curl themselves; likewise, pens don’t pick themselves up to march across the page apart from human intervention (if they do, that’s something out of a Stephen King story). Anything worth doing takes time, attention, dedication, and focus. Note well: this process will involve pain. There are no shortcuts. The path is through the pain–not around it.
3) Life, and the people in it, come before any blog, book, work of art, etc. As Stephen King said, “Life is not a support system for art; it’s the other way around.” There’s simply a point where life must be loved, and not just merely commented upon. It’s easy to sit in our ivory towers pontificating; much harder to live, and to love, well. If we put our art, our creativity, above living well we’ve missed it. We’ve missed the point entirely. All of those around us will suffer for it. Again, there are no shortcuts. If we know that we’re living half-heartedly–not putting in the time, not really making the effort–you can bet your bottom dollar that others can tell, too.
I can promise you this: that if we take the time, and love well, we will have more interesting stories to tell. It’s like this: “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Invest in the right place, and although you may not reap the rewards of success, money, popularity, or acclaim, you will realize rewards that will continue to pay into eternity when your life (and your voice) is but a legacy.
As Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”
2010 Cristina L. F., Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio