Thursday, December 13, 2012

Audience of One

In a recent blog post, literary agent Rachelle Gardner broached a question we writers - especially inspirational writers - all ask ourselves at one time or another: How do you validate that what you are doing is good?

It got me thinking. What is my feedback mechanism? Is it awards? Acclaim? Fame? (If it were, my writing career would be in the can.)

So how do I know I'm fulfilling the mission to which I felt Papa God calling me? What are my success indicators? What motivates me to continue writing during the dry times when little money is trickling in, book sales are low, and writer's block stymies all creative flow?

And wouldn't you know, the very day I was pondering these questions, I received a letter from a reader containing my answer.

I am privileged to receive quite a few letters from my readers that bless my socks off and reduce me to tears. Honestly, there is nothing – nothing – as soul-fulfilling as knowing that Papa God has used you as His tool for touching the heart and changing the life of someone for His glory. Here are excerpts from a few lovely letters I’ve received about my book, Too Blessed to Be Stressed, which recently received the 2012 Mom’s Choice award:

From Jenny G. in Massachusetts: “I just lost my dad to a heart attack last Saturday; he was also battling cancer. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life. I read your book, Too Blessed to Be Stressed this week and it gave me a lot of hope and comfort. Thank you so much for helping me be strong in my faith.”

From Chelle L. in Texas: “Your book is such an inspiration to me. I started reading it and then put it down for lack of time, but the Lord prompted me to pick it up again during a season of fatigue and discouragement. It was just what I needed. Thank you for your willingness to share and be obedient to God’s call.”

From Erin C. in Ohio: “I just finished Too Blessed to Be Stressed and am already halfway through More Beauty, Less Beast. I just wanted to take a few moments to let you know how much of a Godsend your books are to me! I’m only 21-years-old but I’ve been a tightly wound stress ball pretty much since birth. My dad has recently been diagnosed with M.S., and watching the rapid deterioration of the body and mind of my hero has put me over the edge. I found myself crying in my car parked in some random parking lot the other day. When I finally calmed down, I realized I was in front of a Christian bookstore … funny how God does that, isn’t it? I went in searching for SOMETHING! At the time I wasn’t sure why I got out of the car or why I walked into the store. But what I do know is that God led me to the book section and the very first book that caught my eye was Too Blessed to Be Stressed. I read the first two pages and started to cry. I know He led me to that book because He knew I needed it right then! Your book has had an enormous impact on my heart. I am so thankful that the Lord gave you this gift and that you shared it with the world. I take both books with me everywhere I go and refer to them when I feel lost; I’ve found such comfort in them. THANK YOU.”

And from Cynthia G. in Florida: “I really enjoyed the chapter about faith through the hard times in Too Blessed to Be Stressed called “Lost and Found.” I was diagnosed with epilepsy 11 years ago. The medication has caused serious fertility issues. I was over the moon when we found out I was pregnant a few years back. Unfortunately God had a different plan and our baby made it to heaven before us. I was never able to conceive again and the doctors don’t think it would be a good idea anyway. You’ve been a blessing to me and so many others with your personal touch. Thanks again!” 

So there it is. The reason I stay motivated to keep my tush on the chair and keep writing. It's for Ginny and Chele, Erin and Cynthia - each of them my audience of one that Papa God has chosen to touch through the skills and abilities He gave me.

And that's more than enough.

Who is Papa preparing at this very moment to be your audience of one?


Alan Jarrett said...

Awesome post Deb! You echo some of my thoughts about IF I'm writing what I should be? While I have a passion for Ecuador, there is still the question in my mind is travel what I should be writing about? Is Ecuador what I should be writing about?

So thanks for the reminder that it's likely these questions are to really help us stay focused on the "why" more than the "what!"

Anonymous said...

I love the "audience of one" reference. We can't know who will be touched by our writing. However, God knows. I appreciate your humor and inspiration and can't wait for your country music cd! Rick Christensen