For the last seven years writing has been my life, my desire, my passion.
There have been moments of success. There have been moments of failure. There have been around four hundred rejections. There have been a little over a hundred seventy publications and I don’t know how many short listers. (Yes, I know lister is not technically a word. It is now.)
I’ve learned what I like and dislike about writing. I’ve learned about how to put stories together and to just let them breathe. I’ve learned how to edit, not necessarily my work, but others’. I’ve learned that everyone has their own tastes in things and not everyone will like what I write. I’ve learned just how tough this business is and how thick your skin has to be to survive.
I’ve touched a couple of people and probably hurt a few along the way. If you’re one of the ones I touched, then that makes me happy. If you’re one of the ones I hurt, the I’m sorry. And I mean that from the top of my heart.
That’s a long time to live and breathe writing, to wake up thinking about stories and to go to sleep with plots and characters on your mind.
It’s an investment of time and effort and determination and disappointments and the occasional joy.
I have had some nice things said about my work and then I’ve had some not so nice things said. A few editors have brushed me off and that’s okay. It used to bother me. Not so much now.
In those seven years things have taken a backseat from time to time. My wife. My kids. Sleep (not like I really did much of that anyway). My faith.
Yes, my faith.
(Okay, before you continue, if you wish not to hear the rest, which is partially about religion, go ahead and click the X button in the upper right hand corner. I’m not going to be preaching, but I also don’t wish to offend anyone who believes that God is a man made entity.)
I’ve always been a firm believer in Christ and what you’re about to read is, in my opinion, an intimate account of something that happened to me today. For the record, I wrote this as a letter to a couple of writers I know, two people I hold very dear to me in the writing world. I’m not going to give their names, but they know who they are. Both of them have recently gone through something similar and the need to share it with them bordered on urgency.
My letter reads (for the most part):
Today I was broken. Broken.
My heart hasn’t been in the right place for a long time.
Today, amid things going on in my life, God reminded me of a message I heard recently. A message about Judas, about how he betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. The preacher man went on to say that there were some in that congregation that are like Judas, who will or have betrayed Jesus.
I sat in my office this morning, frustrated, sad, very much down. There was a hole as big as your first in the center of my chest. I sat to write a letter—it’s what I do when I need to work things out. In the middle of this letter I recalled the message.
Tears formed in my eyes.
I left my desk and started down the stairwell to see a friend of mine.
More tears came.
I reached the door to his floor and couldn’t go through.
More tears poured down my face.
I made it to his office and he wasn’t in there. I stayed there until he came back.
I broke down. I broke down and cried and we talked and I realized that my entire life I had believed in Jesus, prayed to him, but I had NEVER given him everything. We held hands and prayed and I cried and he cried and I cried some more.
When we were done, that hole was gone and I felt refreshed, though exhausted. I felt the burdens were lifted. They were still there, but I wasn’t carrying them by myself.
I just wanted you to know that I’ve given everything to God. Everything. A renewal of faith if you want to say. Me, personally, I think it was more of finally letting go and giving God control.
Thanks for listening.
Does this mean I’m no longer going to write? No. Does it mean I change the way I write? No. Does it mean I might change certain things within my writing? Absolutely.
Is this the end of Type AJ Negative? I hope not, but I have a strong feeling I’m going to lose some followers. I’ll probably lose some friends as well, which is sad to say.
I still plan on interviewing people who wish to be interviewed. If you’re one of them, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just want to talk, drop me a line as well. If you want to interview me, please do. I’m an open book.
I’m going to be honest here: I don’t know what this means for my writing career. I’ve got a lot of praying to do and after that, I have a lot of open eared listening to do. Not to friends or family, but to God.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you and I hope you come back. I’ve always thought I was a gracious writer, an accessible writer. That’s not going to change and if I’ve endeared you to my work or me over the last few years, don’t go away. My heart is in the right place. My soul is in the right place.
I’ve always been upfront with my readers. That’s not going to change.
I hope you stick around as I pursue a new path; one that I hope isn’t so splintered.
As I told my friend, Petra, earlier today: Life is a work in progress. It’s a manuscript that will never ever be perfect, but we have an editor that looks out for us, that helps us to polish our manuscript for the world to see.
Until we meet again, my friends…