You is kind, you is smart, you is important.
Aibileen, The Help
Last Sunday I read a facebook message from a non-blogging Mommy-friend that said,
Your blog is awesome and you are a great writer! Have you ever thought of submitting to (a large blogging/ministry made of women bloggers–mostly mamas)?
I smiled and thought for a minute before responding:
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I enjoy writing and blogging and even got my degree in it. I had hoped to turn it into a paying venture but have yet to find success with print publishers or in the blogging world. At least, success as defined by our world. [The site you mentioned] does not take submissions but invites writers to contribute. While I know people involved and have even probed carefully (no sense in offending good people) I have never been extended an invitation and don’t anticipate getting one anytime soon. I have been submitting to several other sites (blogging conglomerates) but either get rejected or no one acknowledges my submission. Similar results continue in the print world. I have stopped feeling rejected a long time ago. My voice is my own and it, like me, is not for everyone. In fact, it appears to be for a very select few which, in some strange ways, feels even better than the big accolades. I think this is how God wants my writing to be heard and felt, by a special, chosen few.
If I’m being totally honest, there are days I wonder what makes someone else’s voice so much more appealing than mine. My voice was the only thing I had to count on back when I started blogging. I had no kids (and the prospects weren’t great) and once I did, I didn’t homeschool or have a theology degree nor was I a convert. Those seemed to be the real ones who shined (and still do). But my voice was/is strong. Unfortunately, your average blog reader and editor don’t always appreciate a strong voice over authority, ingenuity and/or relatability. Mea culpa.
And when autism came around, my lack of establishing audience in the Catholic sorority made it impossible there and because I chose to write about the joy of autism and the blessings of my child and not poop-smearing, meltdowns and physical altercations, I was shut out of HuffPost and other secular media. But I knew what I was doing was what I was supposed to be doing.
A few years ago at a Bible Study Fellowship group meeting, our small group leader asked everyone to go around the circle and say a ministry they helped with in their church. I happened to be sitting to her left and she started to her right listening to everyone else in my group. At the time, I was not a part of any active ministry and so I wasn’t sure how to answer. Many helped in nursery or Sunday School. Some did administrative duties (one being on the board of directors for her church’s attached school). There was the lady who was a professional photographer who offered her skills capturing different events in still shots and video. And then there was me. I had once been a youth leader. I had once been a catechist. I shared that and then added, “Right now, God has called me to minister to my own family and that is the way I can best serve my Church.” A broad smile came across the face of the group leader and I saw many other women smile and nod in agreement. I wasn’t sure of my answer, was I doing enough or right? But they all acknowledged that what I was doing was important and had value.
That’s how I feel about my writing. God is asking me to do it this way at this time and the rejection by large publishers and blogging sites is not a sign to give up but to keep doing what I am doing. His plan, at least for now, includes no major publishing and a very small audience. (Hey, if getting shout-outs from Jennifer Fulwiler and Simcha Fisher don’t increase your readership–I’m really not sure what will!) And while sometimes it seems, I don’t know, unfair?, it’s how it’s supposed to be. Someday it will all make sense to people like me, my mom, and my sweet friends who enjoy my writing and wish it would catch on. In the mean time, thank you God for your wisdom in this and all areas in my life.