These words, they urged me to somehow live them.
Since my small hand cupped my first #2, painted-yellow pencil, I’ve experienced life through story. Stories to entertain me, yes, but my mind also craved stories that taught life lessons (although I couldn’t comprehend or articulate that at five years of age.)
There’s something about story that somehow makes our lives better, easy to live.
It seems only natural that after (way too) many years of traipsing across the country in various marketing positions, I became a storyteller myself.
Matthew West is responsible. Well, somewhat—he did play an important role. About four years ago, Matthew released this song that flat messed me up. The song, The Motions, was about how we oftentimes live this complacent, ordinary life, how we fall into these stale daily routines unaware.
The song uncovered some stalled dreams, desires I had long ago tucked away.
For months, those dreams were stirred fresh. Seems each time I dropped into the driver’s seat and clicked on the radio, I heard, “just okay is not enough,” and “I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?’”
So that’s how I spend my days now—giving “everything I have.” As a blogger and author, I share heart-stories that bring hope to women when their days are hard. Don’t we all have those hard days?
And that stalled dream, the one of crafting a traditionally published book that would make its way into the tender hearts of other women, it recently became a reality. About six weeks ago, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference was released.
We shot streamers, and I won’t hide it, we shed a few joyful tears.
But then, reality.
Within a couple of days a very real responsibility leaned in, one of partnering with the publisher to now sell thousands of these books. And gut-honest here, I’m tired, because I’ve just spent the last six months sacrificing many nights and family events to pen this book. And while the book is packed with hope, it wasn’t an easy write.
There are those times a cord of hope runs a scarlet red.
Now I love painting hope thick, and I’m a connector who loves meeting women far and wide, but to feel the weight of sharing a book that I authored with others, and to (over and over again) suggest they purchase it? Not so much.
Soon I fell into conversation with a wise and trusted friend (who also happens to be a best-selling author), and we uncovered my true heart to market this book.
Serve the reader.
Yes, that’s right, serve, not manipulate. In a world of hype among thousands of new books released every year and a responsibility to a publisher who risked a partnership with me, my goal is to find my reader and serve her. To engage heart-to-heart with love, support, prayer, and encouragement. To be a trusted resource.To put her first.
From that sincere offering of mine, she can decide if she wants more of my hope-filled words.
There’s this awesome conference for bloggers, Allume, and recently I sat alongside hundreds of other storytellers as Ann Voskamp brought the room to a pondering silence when she posed the question, “In a culture of numbers, how do you kneel?”
This is it for me; this is how I’m learning to kneel. I’m feeding this desire, nurturing and cultivating this servant-heart in the hopes it will defeat the anxious fingers that numbers tempt.
How about you? Who is your reader, and what are some specific ways you can serve them?