Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why I'm Coming Out of Hiding [Sharing My Process With Y'all]

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Well...  Happy April Fools' Day!  Any funny April Fools' jokes that you've played (or are planning, or have been victims of!) that you wanna share?  Share away!  Make me laugh! :)

So... in a NON-April Fool's spirit...

I've been thinking.

Shocking, I know. :)

In light of my recent ventures, I've been pondering the concepts of platform and circle of influence and the like.

Stuff that I'd generally rather not deal with.... hence, this blog has less than 100 official "followers."  And hence, I am not on Twitter.  And I was not, for a good while, on Facebook.

I have a dilemma though.  I'm writing a book. (<-- Click that for more info if you'd like.)

This message is burning inside me and I think I might explode if I don't keep writing it.  And I have zero desire to self-publish.  Which leaves me with traditional publishing as my obvious route to published-hood.  And when you go this route, agents and publishers and marketing teams? They want numbers. Fans.  Followers.  Circle of influence.   They want you to be able to contribute significantly to the marketing of a book if they decide to publish you. 

And my "numbers" are almost laughable. :)

I've been totally okay with that till now.... okay with writing for whoever was around and wanted to listen. I've enjoyed it.

I've also been just plain ol' resistant to the idea of working much to "promote" my blog, my core message, etc.  I've not wanted to go there.  Honestly, I've been afraid of my own heart and afraid of the opinions of people.  I'm sure I will write more about that soon, because it's something I'm processing a ton as of late.

But in the last month or so, I've had a handful of conversations with people who've been incredibly helpful to my heart in this arena.  They've said things like:
  • "But Dana, when you promote your blog, your message, you are pointing people to Jesus."
  • "You can have the most life-changing message in the world, but if no one knows it's there, no one will benefit from it."
    And God bless the beautiful Emily Freeman for her ideas on building a bench versus building a platform.  

    (PS - I highly recommend her blog.  Click her name above.  Follow her.  Buy her books if you can. You will love her heart.)

    To somewhat loosely quote Emily's thoughts as she shared them with me recently, "A platform is a stage with the spotlight on you.  A bench is a place where people can come together to discuss things.  It provides a space for community to develop.  And I may be the person starting the discussion, but I in no way want to come off like I have it all figured out.  I'm on this journey with everyone else."

    Light bulbs.  They were flashing all over the place in my head.  This is a concept I can get on board with.  This isn't arrogant or spotlight-on-me-ish.  I like that.

    And I'm coming to the realization, albeit gradually, that my resistance to "marketing" my message has had more than a little to do with false humility.  If I am passionate about this message of discerning and responding to the invitations of Jesus in the midst of life... if I genuinely believe it will change others' lives as profoundly as it is changing mine... then why would I keep it quiet?

    To quote my blog post in which I announced I'm writing a book...
    Side note: True humility = ACCURATELY viewing yourself, your gifts and abilities. Agreeing with God's perspective on yourself and what He's put inside you.  False humility = not viewing yourself accurately, diminishing what God's put inside of you, magnifying our own weaknesses over God's ability to use you, to be glorified through you.  False humility is actually pride in disguise, because it's refusing to line up with God's perspective on us.

    So...  Yes, publishers and agents want numbers. And yes, this realization was the impetus that started me pondering all these things.  But... all of this pondering (and praying and discussing) has led me to places where I honestly did not expect to end up.

    I'm coming out of hiding.

    And now... I'll just say it.  I have created a Facebook page for my blog.  I think, up till now, I may have been THE ONLY blogger in the universe without a page.  

    Here's why (the quick version, anyway):

    At least a few times per week lately, I've found myself wanting to shoot out an encouragement, a scripture, or a little blip of funny-ness or cool-ness, specifically to this community of readers.  A little blast of insight will hit me, or maybe a question for all of you who find encouragement here, and I'll think, "I wish I could shoot that out to my readers... but it's definitely not long enough to constitute a blog post."

    Oh well... too bad I don't have a Facebook page for the blog.

    No longer! :)  And even though I've walked into it reluctantly, I am now, admittedly, excited.  Excited to be able to share brief thoughts with all of you precious peeps a handful of times per week. And mostly, excited for the community that will be cultivated there, and for the way that it will enhance the community around here.

    Annnnnd... to be straight-up honest with y'all, "liking" my Facebook page (and/or following my blog via email or a reader) will help me.  It will demonstrate to publishers that there are people out there who resonate with my heart, with my writing, and who might... just maybe... purchase my book whenever it finally comes out. :)

    All of that said... my friends... could I ask you a quick favor?

    If you're a regular reader here, or simply someone who finds encouragement here on occasion, would you go to my new Facebook page..... click that "like" button, share a comment if you feel so inclined, and then.... <<gulp>>.... would you invite a few friends?  If you have friends who love Jesus, and if you feel they would find encouragement here, would you share Moments and Invitations with them?  I would be so excited... :-D... 

    If you DO feel inclined to share a comment (either here on this post or on the Facebook page)... would you consider answering this question:
    How can I serve you, individually and as a community of readers?
    Are there specific topics that you'd like to see me address here?
    Are there questions you'd like me to try to answer?
    (I can't promise I'll have answers, but I can sure give it a shot. :) )

    Okay, so that was 3 questions.  I got going and couldn't stop myself.  See?  Told ya I had questions for y'all!

    Last thing--- I promise.  THANK YOU for being here.  For reading and receiving.  For sharing your hearts when you do so.  For your trust.  It blesses and humbles me.

    Y'all are dearly loved by your Father, and deeply appreciated by me. 
    HEY GUYS!  Just an update to this post - stay tuned for details on Moments and Invitations' first official... giveaway... which we will host here on the blog IF WE REACH 120 "likes" by 10:55 this evening (Monday 4/1).  This is NOT an April Fools' joke! :)

    The prize?  The Emily Freeman book of your choice.  (Click the link to check out her books - she is awesome.) 

    Linking up today with The Better Mom...


    1. Love this! I love the writing process, love blogging, not such a fan of the logistics of "platform" building. I yoyo back and forth between feeling like giving up because it seems so self-promoting, and understanding that it's just a tool to reach others, just like walking out my door to say hello to a neighbor. Great thoughts. Off to like your page.

      1. Hi Stephanie,

        I SO resonate with how you articulated this. Love it all... except "platform" building... because it DOES tend to feel like self-promotion. I hate that. BUT... with my perspective tweaked a bit... I feel good about moving forward. Thank you so much for your support here, for commenting, for encouraging. Means so much.

        Bless you!

    2. To those who've liked the Facebook page...

      Dear friends who have "liked"

      Your "like" is not merely a number.

      You are not a just means to the end of making it to 120 likes and giveaway launch-hood.

      And you are not simply a means to the end of raising support for my book-in-progress (see blog for info).

      Your "likes" and "shares" are encouragement to my heart. They are partnership. And they are the start of a community developing around discerning and responding to Jesus in the midst of our daily lives and circumstances... around living in the place of intimate heart-encounter with Him.

      So....please hear my heart, how deeply I mean it when I say... thank you.


    3. I just wanted to say that my numbers are laughable too. I have a lot of twitter followers, but my understanding is the important numbers are email followers, and I have less than 30!

      I hate platform and every thing about it, although I attended the She Speaks conference last year (are you going this year - it would be a great opportunity for your book!) and I learned that is is okay to give a shout out to your blog because of Jesus - because He is the message. That truly you are being a good steward by marketing your message.

      So with all that said, I don't know that I have anything valuable to offer, but if you are up for it, I'd certainly love to have you guest blog over at my place. You'd have to let me know if you think it would be the right fit for you. (I'm on a blog vacation right now - to be back soon.)

      So glad I reconnected with you.


      1. Hi Jamie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here... I am considering going to she speaks this year, actually. We're looking at our finances to see what we can do. It'd be super good for me, I think. Emily F. recommended it to me as well.

        Anyway, I'd love to talk about guest posting at your place. :) It'd be fun! Any particular topics you'd be interested in? Thank you for the invitation!! :)

    4. Hey there Dane...It's can just call me "Smoosh" for now. I hear 'they' can read my mind if I'm on this internet thing for too long so I"ll be quick;) In all seriousness, I love that you are blogging. I feel I know you better...reading what you might not have said aloud. And the way you write makes me feel as though we're in conversation. And don't even get me started on all your wisdom! The Lord has given you SO much that will help people and has helped me. I'm excited to see the rest of this whole process with your book. Love you!

      1. Welllllll hello there! Thank you for your encouragement...and your silliness that makes me giggle. :) Love you too!!


    Hi there, friend! I'm honored and blessed when you share your heart, your thoughts, your feedback with me here. At the same time, I want my readers to feel free to read and process internally before the Lord... to not feel obligated to spit out immediate feedback.... so I am SO not upset or offended by non-commenting readers. Please be who you are - - internal AND external processors welcome here! :)

    **If you have trouble leaving a comment, try going to where it says "comment as," or "Choose an Identity," changing the setting to "anonymous," and commenting as an anonymous user. Just make sure you leave your name in your comment if you'd like me to know who you are.**

    Thanks so much for walking beside me a little ways here.

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