ACW

ACW

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Stewarding our gifts well by Claire Musters


How does stewarding our gifts well fit in with promotion and ‘raising our profile’? So many of us have heard that term, and find it disappointing when traditional publishers are unwilling to take a punt on us because we don’t have that well-known profile or aren’t on big speaking circuits. As I started life as an editor in a big publishing company, and I still regularly edit as well as write, I fully understand the economic reasons why publishers find it hard to sign up unknowns. But it is still hard to swallow at times – the big pond seems very large to small fish like me...

That is just one of the many difficulties we face as writers, and we have to hold it all in tension. We have to decide our own answer to the question: how much energy do we put into raising our profile, marketing ourselves etc? The truth is, there are some great extrovert personalities out there for whom it all comes naturally. But, for a lot of writers, the silence and solitude of the craft is wonderful; as introverts they are refreshed by the process of writing alone and the idea of pushing their name around a lot in front of any passing acquaintances and pulling in favours seems horrifically embarrassing.

If I’m being honest, I do find it all rather hard to do. I love it when I do make headway – but it is a huge effort. And it sits uneasily with me. I see how Jesus was a servant, not out to promote himself but just to be with people. Now I know it isn’t the same as having to make a career for ourselves, but still. What are we writing for? Who truly is our audience at the end of the day? And how can we steward what we do well – getting the balance right between promotion and honing our craft?


I don’t think there are any easy answers to this and I’m sure it is something that we will all have different opinions on. I just feel that it is important that we pause and take stock every so often, just so we realise that we are not on an endless self-promotion wheel. It can be hard when we see someone who writes in a similar genre to us get a huge break – great to celebrate with them but, if we are honest, that pang of jealousy kicks in too. But it’s a great way to keep us humble and a good reminder to ask ourselves why are we doing what we do...

Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on discipleship, leadership, marriage, parenting, worship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include David: A man after God's own heartTaking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today as well as Bible study notes for BRF and CWR. Claire is currently standing in as editor for Families First magazine as well as co-writing the next CWR Insight Guide: Self-acceptance and working on her own book Taking off the mask. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

6 comments:

  1. This is so true, Claire. We know we should celebrate when others have success but sometimes it's so hard when we just long for that first break and it doesn't come. I guess it does keep us humble! Thanks for the share.

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  2. Yes it is really hard - but also so wonderful to have the support of others that we know understand what it is like :)

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  3. So true, Claire. And as an introvert who's been in the business a long time (more than 30 years) I can tell you it doesn't get any easier.

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  4. Yes, it is hard. I don't know self-promotion but I guess it has to be done. I am not particularly introvert either and I don't find it easy. At least we are not alone in finding it hard.

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  5. It can feel very discouraging knowing that however hard I work at my writing there is only a small chance of getting it published. I just have to keep reminding myself who I'm ultimately writing for. Thanks, Claire.

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  6. Thanks Claire. I feel exactly as you do. I'm always conscious of someone saying, "Who does he think he is?" I am no better a writer than many many others, but I think I still have something to say. What I found helpful is the occasional stranger who says the work moved them. At least one person - perhaps more than one - has found the stuff works for them. And then when they say: "Why is the next book taking so long? I'm looking forward to it." I am really quite chuffed...

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