Monday 30 July 2018

Do the Work

by Iola Goulton @iolagoulton

I recently attended a local Christian women's conference, One Heart. We had a variety of speakers and testimonies over two days speaking on an aspect of the conference theme: Faith, Freedom, Fullness.

The first speaker introduced the theme of faith, talking about how we often treat faith as a noun, a thing. But we need to turn faith into a verb—we need to be doing it, not just talking about it. But doing it isn't always easy.

She quoted the chorus of a famous song by Queen: I want it all ... and I want it now.

That's the way many of us live our lives.

But it's not what the Bible says. The Bible talks about pushing on. Pressing in. Staying faithful. Pressing through when God seems to be silent. Carrying on when everything is against us. As the speaker pointed out, remaining faithful to God in difficult circumstances takes faith and courage.

But faith without works is dead. We need faith. But we also have to do the work. Paul talks about this:

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (NIV)

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

I'm sure you've heard a sermon or speaker making a similar point.

As I listened, it struck me that many of us have the Queen approach to life. We want it all. We want it now. We want the prize without fighting the good fight, without running the race.

We want it all in our professional lives. 

We want to have a successful career without doing the work. Without getting the education, putting in the hours, making the mistakes.

We want it all in our personal lives. 

We want to have lost twenty kilos without doing the work. Without eating less, without exercising more, without watching our family eat ice cream and cake while we eat celery and kale. We want to have run a marathon without doing the work. Without putting in the miles, without training, without blisters, without pain. We want to have climbed that mountain without putting one foot in front of the other, step by painful step.

We want it all. And we want it now.

The same holds true with our writing. We want to be amazing award-winning writers without putting in the hours. We have the same approach to our author platform. We want it all. We want it now.

That's not gonna happen. You're going to have to do the work. It's biblical.

But it is doable. In the same way as losing weight or running a marathon is doable. It's not easy, but it is doable.

We have to have faith that our writing and publishing is part of God's plan for our lives (Jer 29:11). That we're acting in obedience (1 Thess 4:11). That our eyes are on Him, not ourselves. That we're building a platform to share God's truth the way He would have us share it.

That's going to look different for everyone, but I believe the main principle is that we must give, not take. Serve others, not ourselves.

We need to have faith, but we also need to do the work. To press in. Daily. To build a platform that gives without thinking about the reward.

Robert Schuller said:

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.

Building your author platform is that unspectacular preparation. As the organiser of the One Heart conference said:

God has given you a gift, but he's not giving it to you on a plate. You still have to do the hard work.

(And anyone who tells you building an author platform is easy is probably trying to sell you 1,000 fake Twitter followers for just $10).

But you don't have to do the hard work alone. 

You have to do the work, but work in a community. Sportspeople join clubs and work with coaches. Dieters can join Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. Business people have mentors.

Writers have communities as well.

(Like American Christian Fiction Writers and International Christian Fiction Writers.)

Writers can learn writing craft from books, from blogs, from critique partners. We can join writing organisations, enter contests, find critique partners. But there is more to writing than just writing, and that's where many writers come unstuck—with platform building, publishing, promotion, and other marketing tasks.

That's why a lot of my blog posts are about marketing. 

Most writers find it the hardest part of the whole writing business. I suspect that's because marketing "rules" are even more of guidelines than the "rules" of writing.

It's also why I developed the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge. For those authors who don't have a background in business or marketing, it can be hard to know where to start, and hard to work out what the rules are.

So if you're in the process of building your platform and are finding it hard work, don't worry. That's normal. This is your time of unspectacular preparation. There are communities around to help you.

And if you have no idea how to even start building your author platform, don't worry. Check out my Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge and see if that's an approach that would work for you.

Then do the work.

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, works as a freelance editor, and has recently introduced an Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Iola! Unspectacular preparation is a good description for the behind the scenes work that goes into writing, publishing and marketing books. It’s all hard work, for sure. Some aspects of the work are definitely more enjoyable than others!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.