Facing 2013

I have never been a good blogger. It is, perhaps more than any other tangible reason, why I struggle to maintain social relevance. I know this, and so it is no mystery to me. It is among the things I am worst at.

There is a front that I have always put up. Perhaps I am alone in this as a writer, though I suspect not. It is not a front of confidence. Every writer has a measure of confidence, and we are often far too eager to share it for the sake of gaining prospective buyers, or as we prefer to call them, fans. If anything, we often have more confidence than we should.

My front is one of knowledge – not a lack thereof in the general sense, rather a specific knowledge. The knowledge of what to do next. It is a risky endeavor to confess that one doesn’t know what they’re doing, as they are sure to face a barrage of impeccable wisdom from people who have never walked in their shoes or experienced what they’ve experienced. But just the same, the reality remains. I have no idea what I’m doing. I never have. Sometimes I’ll have a general awareness of where “what should be done” is lurking, but it’s usually through third-hand information or by catching fleeting glances of its shadow as it darts around the corner. I am not referring to the general progression of Epic, the series, or of the process of actually writing text and creating products. My lack of clarity is, to put it simply, regarding what to do with those things once I’ve finished them. I don’t know how to sell this series.

I have tried to sell it, in many ways that I’ve always felt were creative and new, but few of which have bore the kind of fruit I’ve envisioned. And so I try more, and I try harder, as this creation called Epic pillages me of the placidity and lackadaisicalness that has always come naturally to me as a human being. I work myself to death. I plow fields of futility in the never-ending search for the grass that is always growing on the other side. I put my ducks in a row, then I watch as they scatter. But it hasn’t been until now that I’ve found enough of my center to lean back and examine myself without toppling over – and to listen to my wife as she told me again, “Lee, it’s because you have no faith.”

It is both challenging and humbling for a Christian – a church deacon, no less – to confess that he lacks faith. The faithful servant does his duty to the best of his ability, then leaves it to God and moves on to the next thing, knowing that God’s will will be done, and that regardless of the outcome for him personally, all things will work for the greater good. The analytical capitalist, however, examines what he’s done, measures its successes and failures, then returns to it to constantly tweak and fiddle in a vain effort to grab perfection while the mirage is still there. When he fails, he tries again. He asks why. He works harder, because in America, if you work hard enough, you will succeed. The thought of leaving something alone – of letting it go and leaving its fate in the hands of something else – is borderline lunacy. It’s also the right thing to do.

My goal for 2013 is not to work harder. It’s not even to work smarter, despite the fact that some steps will be taken to do so. My goal is to have faith. To do, to the best of my ability, then to let go. To not worry about the fact that I haven’t begun Enemy One yet, or that I’m producing an audiobook that I have no idea how to release, or that the author over there is soaring to the heights of financial prosperity while I am not. My goal is just to trust. To remember that no sparrow can fall to the ground without the Father’s allowance. To remember that I am more valuable to God than many sparrows. This is not a New Year’s resolution. This isn’t limited to a 365-day time span. This is a change.

I have a lot of things planned for this coming year that I believe Epic fans will love. There’s the Dawn of Destiny audiobook, the novella I’m writing for Goldhawk Interactive called Xenonauts: Crimson Dagger. There is something incredibly cool that I’ve already alluded to in a post on Epic’s Facebook Fan Page (that I’m fairly certain no other indie author has done before), which I don’t mind saying now is related to question #4 on my “Next Big Thing” blog post. There’s some breathtaking artwork that will be posted soon, courtesy of a very talented artist from the website deviantART, along with some Epic merchandise that might actually be worth buying. I’ll even be going to boot camp with Toni and Shannon, the tag-team from Duolit, to begin my transformation from socially irrelevant indie peon to a lean, mean, force to be reckoned with. I still have a drive to be the best. I am still ferociously competitive. I will never be a person satisfied with “good enough.” But I also realize that without faith, all labor is for naught. And that as much as any artist strives for prosperity, it isn’t what’s most important (regardless of how competitive one happens to be). What’s important is that work is given to God, and entrusted to God, that it might be used by God. Only then will it be what He intends for it to be. I am learning to be okay with that. I am striving to desire that. It is easy to say, “I want God’s will,” when all too often what we want is our own success and the praise that comes with it. It is difficult to be Christ-like. This is the struggle for the Christian.

Long ago, before I wrote the first line in Dawn of Destiny, I dedicated Epic to God. Slowly over the years, I’ve wrestled it back, not necessarily in the scope of the plot, but in the scope of my own efforts in trying to market it. I’ve tried to do this myself. But I can’t. Nor should I. And so now, once again, I am turning this series over to God. I will trust that its success or failure is not contingent on my ability to be all things at all times for it. I will do the best that I can, then I will hand it over. What happens then will be out of my control – as it was always intended to be.

And that will be okay.

Comments

  1. What a humbling, insightful blog post to come across. We may not share the same belief system, but I have a lot of respect for your honesty, dedication, and creative commitment, and for the trail of intriguing little story-building crumbs that led me to your blog.

    I found you through DeviantART’s front page and the commission you requested of Esther Brooking. Then I followed the links Jonathan Hamilton noted in the art piece blurb, which then led me to Esther’s ambassador page on dA, which *then* led me to the FB page for Epic and various other social media accounts until I finally ended up on your blog.

    I must say that while I followed this little journey for researching purposes — I’m an aspiring indie storyteller myself and was very impressed by Epic’s online presence — ultimately, I have more reasons to be glad that I did. I now not only have an interest in the methods you’ve used to sell your story, but in the story itself and Epic’s world.

    So I hope that this comment has only reaffirmed your trust in some small way. It is difficult to have faith in a competitive climate like publishing, so I hope that things work out for the best in the end. 🙂

  2. Dee: I would typically start a response to something like that with a “thank you.” But I think a brief, true story will better summarize what your reply meant.

    As exciting as it was yesterday to have that image posted on deviantART, there was a tinge of disappointment that the response wasn’t better – not on dA, but for Epic in general. The image was more well-received than I could have possibly imagined, and I was able to track visitors as they came to Epic’s site. But they didn’t translate into sales. This was discouraging, and it was the catalyst for my wife’s words to me, and for the journal entry that was written shortly thereafter.

    This morning, I decided to visit my church in the early hours. I have a key, so I was able to go in, completely by myself, and approach the alter in the sanctuary. I told God what I was doing. I told him I was trusting Him. I told Him that we were in it together, and that though I knew the road would be challenging, His grace would get me through. And I told Him one more thing – something I know He already knows about me. I told Him that even though faith is the evidence of things unseen, there are still moments when I just need encouragement, even if in the smallest amounts. I asked Him to give me those when they were needed, that even the smallest encouragements go a long way, but that regardless of whether or not I received them, I would have faith that things were okay just the same. I said “amen,” then I left.

    I remember the exact time that I climbed out of my truck to enter the church. It was 5:58 AM. I stayed there for about 5-6 minutes before leaving. Asking for encouragement was the last thing I did.

    You posted your comment at 6:05, ending it with, “I hope this reaffirms your trust in some small way.” Dee…you have no idea.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You were just used by God.

  3. Always remember with God all things are possible, good luck

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