Purpose versus Popularity - Shawneda Author, Novelist, Blogger, Creative Strategist, Social Media Copy Expert

Purpose versus Popularity

Experiencing a temporary inability to write on my current work in progress and keep the pace with the other projects I believed would be fun and able to help increase my readership forced me to be take a long hard look at my writing schedule, projects in development and reasons why I'm doing what I do. The Real Firstwives blog series project has been postponed and will most likely be resurrected in a form that is different than it was initially imagined.

During the sabbatical I took last week I prayed and received a reminder of the importance of ministry. It has always been the MOST important motivating factor in each word I release. Whether it is nonfiction or fiction the impact and desire to share the stories and words God gives to me fuels each word I type. Would I like to make an income from doing it? Of course. Is making money ever going to be the motivating factor? No. After accepting that publishing the Real Firstwives as a blog series would NOT be conducive to walking in full and total obedience to God I put my favorite Willie Nelson song into action. ~You gotta know when to hold em. Know when to fold em. Know when to walk away. Know WHEN to run!~

While fun and different and quirky the Real Firstwives were missing something I inadvertently began to interject in the meat of the characters as I created their profiles and world via questionnaires and dossiers, the need for impact through ministry. My novel topics may not be popular. Some readers don't enjoy a lot of drama. I respect that, I enjoy the light Christian reads right alongside heavier topics, both are a part of God's truth.

Embracing and delving deeper into the world of being a self published/independent author (the title changes based on who you ask and how traumatized they were by the vanity press crooks of the ninteties) has revealed how important purpose and ministry really are to me. The thought of a lighter series seemed like a great way to balance the heavy topics of HIV/AIDS awareness, stigma of HIV/AIDS in Christian communties, breast cancer, lack of self love and worth among Christian women, emotional healing after life trauma  and the sex slave trade. The truth is I couldn't stay motivated to write Real Firstwives because outside of trying to figure out ways to intertwine the social causes I gave each wife, I was not motivated at all to write or read it.

What is really funny is after I wrote out the full outline for the first season I couldn't stomach any of the "reality" wives shows online anymore. With the exception of football wives doing more to give back to their community because of the blessing of being in a celebrated industry their was nothing to hold my attention in the shows anymore. Nothing about them had changed. I have. Entertaining and drama filled as they may be, I couldn't find a way to spend 40 minutes watching women waste an opportunity to do something positive as I wrote about in Real Firstwives. The way the real women were depicted and caricatured started to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Each and everyone of the women on each and every reality show is someone's daughter, friend, current or a potential mother to see them depicted whether truthfully or not in the way some of them is depicted now saddens me. Watching large conglomerates reduce these women to middle and high school tom foolery is something I don't find entertaining anymore.

So I have not only stopped watching them but have lost the ability to move forward in writing this blog series anymore. Maybe it'll be transformed into an improvisational web series for budding actors and actresses. I've completed the character profiles so God knows it could be done. Whatever happens I'm at great peace with my decision to continue allowing my gifts to make room for me as I live on purpose and ignore the pressure of writing for popularity. To God be the glory, in my strength of choosing obedience, in it he finds joy and is pleased.

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