motivation and promotion?

Should Christian writers self promote?

That’s the question that’s been buzzing round in the circle of people who attended a recent ACW Writers’ Day.  We explored how we could build our platform as writers, and were encouraged by Liz Babbs to see that if we are wanting to get God’s message out there, we are not promoting ourselves, we are promoting that message.

But still some of us squirm with embarrassment!  It seems all wrong – and yet, freelance professionals in any area know that they need to promote themselves – in order to earn a living.  It is part of the job, after all.  If you want to be a professional freelance anything, you have to promote your work.

It’s that distinction – I don’t want to promote me, I want to promote my work, and through it, I sincerely hope, glorify God.  I need to keep an eye on my motives – while at the same time acknowledging that my motives are always going to be slightly muddled.  I offer them to God, muddle and all.

Eleanor Stoneham has written a very good and convincing summary in her blog post, and Ros Bunney takes a different (and appealing) tack again, reflecting on her personal journey.

I love writing, and am extremely grateful to God that I am in a place to use it – that it can be source both of expressing myself and encouraging others – a way of learning and discovering as well as teaching – and I think James’ warning about the responsibility and accountability of teachers will often apply to the Christian writer too (James 3:1ff – how we use our tongues – our words).  If we are going to promote our work and get our message out there, we need to be accountable – we need to check our theologies and our biases, ensure we do not put stumbling blocks in the way of others or promote vain, empty philosophies which are unhelpful and unhealthy.

What is it I am trying to say?  Is it good, right, lovely, pure and true? Do I think on these sorts of things as I write? (cf Philippians 4:8)

Lord take the muddle of my motives and cast away the ugly bits.  May I, in whatever part of my life, glorify you and seek you with all my heart.  I want to shout from the rooftops the whisper of your Spirit.  Show me the right way of doing this.

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8 thoughts on “motivation and promotion?

  1. Just to clarify – I wasn’t trying to lay down a general rule for writers (although I did throw out a question, without answering it). I was merely describing my journey – in which God is clearly leading me to write instead of my previous job, and is at the same time drawing me to the kinds of writing that won’t pay me much if anything, so I am looking to Him for provision. Everyone else’s journey will be different; I’m just trying to learn to listen to the still, small voice and go where He sends me. I love Eleanor’s post. I thought it summed all this up really well.

  2. My father-in-law is a professional human resources consultant. He (and his daughter) have similarly expressed the idea that “tooting one’s own horn” is a part of “the game,” where the game is success in life in general. I’m one of the squirmers you mentioned though. Also, I think I used to be vain enough that I’m more interested in letting God handle my reputation. Still, in the words of a little known 90s movie, it’s a “sticky wicket.”

      1. It was one of the pieces of advice that my dad gave me. Being married and having two fathers now is always interesting; twice the good advice, but a much harder task of assembling it into action.

  3. I think there’s a fine line between Blatant Self Promotion and getting yourself out there, however at the same time, God has given me the tools, ability, and need to glorify Him by being myself. Ultimately, honoring my father as well as, My Father.

  4. Who is better at promoting the words that have flowed from the author’s heart through the pen. Of course the author! My goal and desire is to help Christian women get their work in front of readers who can benefit. BTW, this topic seems to be a hot button right now. My hope is that author’s will become more confident in the quality of their work and move forward with self promotion.

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