Why I Blog (And Why I’m Done Worrying About Marketing)

Why I Blog...and why I'm finished worrying about numbers
When I was in the process of trying to get The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex published, I had a meeting with an important person in the publishing industry to talk about my chances. She told me, “I know an author who does very well writing on parenting. She has three kids, but she speaks forty weekends a year. Do you think you could do that?”

I took a sip of my Diet Pepsi to try to stall. And finally I replied, “No, I really don’t think I can. But I do have a plan to speak more but keep it manageable. And I have a plan to do more on the internet.” And I started telling her my plan.

But that conversation has always haunted me, because it is indicative of what is happening in Christian publishing today. Publishers are being very stretched with new ebooks and the internet. Their margins are getting much smaller, so they don’t want to take risks on any author who isn’t a sure thing. So instead of doing all the marketing themselves, they publish only authors who can generate the sales of a significant portion of their books, if not the majority. Most publishers won’t touch an author who hasn’t got a “platform”, no matter how good the book is. They have to be able to move it.

Is speaking 40 weekends a year the way to move books? It does work. But that author had three children at home, and they were in school full time. She didn’t see them much during the week. And then she was gone on the weekends. And she was supposed to teach people how to parent. (I don’t know who the author is; I was never told a name. I just know the story. And it scared me.)

I left that meeting thinking, I can’t do that. Because of this:


(They’re going to love that I chose THAT picture!)

And because of this:



When I was going through my mini-breakdown or crisis or whatever you want to call it over the weekend, that conversation came back to me. I must sell my books. If I want to be an author, and write books, then I have to sell enough of this one so that a publisher will give me another contract. If this one doesn’t sell well enough, I’ll never be able to write another. So everything is resting on this.

It used to be that a publisher would handle all the marketing, and send the author on a book tour, and take out glossy ads. That doesn’t happen anymore. In my case, Zondervan did a lot for me. But the weight of the responsibility for the sales I felt was still on my shoulders, because this was a make-it-or-break-it for me.

When I started blogging, I have to admit, I did it because I had to. I was told, you have to market your books. And so the blog became a forum to do that. If I wanted another book contract, which I did, I needed to have an online presence. So over years I built this up. And then I got the book contract. And then I had to sell the books.

I thought of myself as an author who blogs.

And it weighed very heavily on me. I blogged because it was a vehicle–I fully admit that. And I was never happy with it. I didn’t like having to market, and having to worry whether or not the sales were there. I didn’t like having to check numbers to see where I was, and try to tweak things. It was tiring. It was discouraging. It was draining.

And then when people started calling me judgmental, it just sent me over the top, because I already was struggling with what I was doing.

I wanted to leave everything in God’s hands, but I was told by just about everybody that you need to work hard to deliver the sales. You can’t NOT market, because your book will get lost. And so I trudged on.

Two things happened to me on Friday night, though. One was that through all your emails and comments I finally realized something: I am not an author who blogs. Perhaps, just perhaps, I am actually a blogger. I guess this is silly, and I should have known it, but it honestly had not occurred to me that my blog, in and of itself, was helping so many people. It honestly didn’t really register that perhaps God was using this blog.

And the other was that God told me, firmly and through several friends who emailed me, that I needed to let go of the responsibility I felt. It was draining me too much. And I needed to really learn how to trust. Throughout my writing and speaking, God has always opened doors relatively easily for me–especially with speaking. I’ve never really marketed myself; the requests just came. But somehow I have felt over the last two years that things were different. I had to perform. I had to get the numbers up. That’s how you play the game.

I don’t want to play the game. I want to trust God more. I don’t know what that will look like. But here are my thoughts:

I am going to think of myself as a blogger who writes, rather than an author who blogs. God is doing great things with this blog, and I am grateful to really see that. And so this won’t be a stepping stone, something I do because I “have” to. This blog will become my main vehicle for ministry, and I’ll think of it that way. Thank you so much, dear readers, for showing me that. I needed it.

I’m going to stop worrying so much if people react badly to what I write. I was always worried about turning people off–though that didn’t stop me from being opinionated! It just put me in a very difficult place. But if THIS is my main ministry, then I am going to share more about what God has done and what God is saying to me. One of my strengths in speaking, and the feedback I get, is that I am very authentic. I share stories, and struggles, and victories. I don’t hold back. I feel as if I have been holding back on this blog because I want to keep my audience, and for that reason perhaps I haven’t been as honest as I could have been. I want that to change. I’m not thinking of anything in particular, but rather just a vague fear that made me question myself. I’m praying through that fear.

Finally, I’m not going to stop marketing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, because it IS a great book. As much as you can get from this blog, there’s much more in the book. If I had had that book before I got married, I would have had a much better first four years of marriage. I know it has helped so many, and so I do need to get the word out about it. So I will still mention it!

What I won’t do is check my numbers. I’ve told God that I’m not going to check my Amazon stats anymore. Or my blog stats. Or any stats. I know that 300,000 people come here a month, but that’s it. I’m not going to look again, except perhaps in January where I have to set new ad rates. But I won’t be obsessive about it. I’m really going to put it in God’s hands.

I have taken too much on my shoulders, I haven’t trusted God, and I’ve been doing things in my own strength. That is what God revealed to me.

Christian publishing is a weird business. There’s a lot of pressure to do things that would actually undermine your personal mission in order to achieve sales. And many, many people at the top of their field in Christian publishing have very messed up personal lives. I don’t want to be like that. I can’t sacrifice my family for any of this.

I have felt God saying to me, if you just trust me, I can unleash you and unleash your ministry. But until you give it to me it will always be a struggle.

And so I want to give it to Him.

I don’t know what you’re struggling with today. I don’t know what you’re trying to do in your own strength, because everyone tells you that you must. But no one can do things as well as God can. So trust Him, and stop worrying. That’s hard for this Type A personality, but I’m yielding, even if it’s slowly.

And that’s what I’ve learned this weekend.


Comments

  1. Sheila,
    I have a short list of blogs I check nearly every day, and yours is one of them :D Hold fast to the priorities God has given you. “Preach” it to yourself every day. And always remember… where there’s light, there’s bugs”.

    Julie G
    Julie recently posted…Irony?My Profile

  2. Amen, Sheila! I lose people because I speak what I perceive as truth but I am okay with that. I only want to please Jesus.
    Lori recently posted…New Rules For MatrimonyMy Profile

  3. Hey Sheila, I didn’t get a chance to comment on your earlier blog but wanted to let you know then how much influence you have had on my life. When I talk to any woman about marriage and how to get it right you are the first name of help that comes out of my mouth. God uses you in great ways! Relax and let God do his work :) I also LOVE your book, and have bought it for girls getting married multiple times

  4. Good for you! And remind me in January to click off my reader and come to your actual blog to boost those numbers for the one month you check! LOL

  5. YES, YES, YES!!! This post left me crying. Sheila, when I refer women to you {LOTS of women}, I talk to them about your book AND your blog. As amazing as your book it, I know that your blog is a continued avenue, continued resource for them. They go together. I can’t talk about one without the other. I am so grateful to our Lord for the freedom you are experiencing. This is yet another testimony of His grace through you.
    Rena Gunther recently posted…Dear SheilaMy Profile

  6. oh my goodness! I am so glad that you decided to continue blogging. When I read your post on Friday I was pretty bummed that you were entertaining the idea stopping your blog. I have possibly posted a comment before..but I read so many blogs I can’t remember! I just got married in June and I just found your blog about a month ago! I LOVE reading your blog! I wish I had more time to catch up on posts I missed, but there is just not enough time in the day! My husband and I do not have problems as of right now, and it saddens my heart that some newlyweds have trouble within their first month! I have a few friends that are having trouble within their marriages and some of your real life stories you post hit the head right on the nail! It has been amazing how God has used your blog through me to help my friends going through some of the same situations!!! I am so sorry that some people are being so negative to you! Possibly one of the problems is they know what they are doing is wrong, but they are not willing to change their lifestyle. Or they know they are wrong, but no one has confronted them until they read your blog!! Just some food for thought and possibly a little encouragement (I sure hope so)! I think your blog rocks and I look forward to your posts each day! I told my husband about your blog and your blog sometimes “gets me in the mood” and my husband loves that! :o) I hope you have a wonderful day!

  7. Love your blog, Sheila! I enjoy reading them and find them helpful and inspiring. :) Best line from this one: “I am going to think of myself as a blogger who writes, rather than an author who blogs.” You’ve inspired me to take on the same mindset – thanks!! :)
    Bekah Ferguson recently posted…The Egg-Bird-Egg Sequence and Bill Nye, the Science GuyMy Profile

  8. Jason@SongSix3 says:

    Thanks for being real, Sheila. THAT is the best marketing you can ever do in God’s Kingdom.

    ~Jason

  9. Sounds like prayers and encouragement work! Keep learning to trust God like the rest of us!! :)

  10. What an epiphany! I’m not at that point yet…I still feel like an author who blogs (and yes, I, too, started blogging to build that ever-important platform). And you’re soooo right about the Christian publishing industry. There are boxes and hoops to jump through that show up randomly along the way. You can write a book you feel God put on your heart and realize it’s too short, or a non-selling genre…whatever. There are so many times you just have to pray and God helps you back up so you can keep writing and blogging.

    I’m so happy you realized that your BLOG is a ministry. I think that’s the best bloggy purpose of all–to help others, not just to help ourSELVES and our follower numbers. So glad you’re going to stick with it, Sheila. I was praying that you would!
    Heather Day Gilbert recently posted…The Honest Homeschooler–An Honest QuestionMy Profile

  11. Thank you for sharing that bit of behind-the-scenes information about the publishing industry. I think those of us outside of it have this glowing vision of what it must be like to write books for a living – settled into an ergonomically-correct chair at a beautiful desk under a window with a beautiful view, where the sunlight is always soft, the birds are always chirping outside, and there is always a steaming cup of coffee.

    Ha! Yeah right! If there is a job like that out there, let me know. Because I want to apply. ;-)

    I’ve pointed a few friends to your blog. The response is always “Thank you!”. God works in mysterious ways.
    Melissa recently posted…Random Stuff.My Profile

  12. Sheila,

    You are so right, “Let go and let God”.

    I love my wife dearly and would never, ever consider deserting her but I was frustrated (and less loving) through times when our marriage was almost ‘sexless’. I was rejected so often I just gave up asking.

    Then, convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was NOT loving her as instructed by Eph 5:25-33 I changed my attitude. I put her needs ahead of my own, I consider what she needs and desires. Guess what, we now make love regularly, except when either of us is sick.

    Please note I said “make love” not that horrible secular expression “have sex”. Making love is a thousand times more important and fulfilling than just having sex.

    God wants committed Christian husbands and wives to make love. When they just surrender to each other completely and unconditonally the sparks fly as He intended. Making love is one of His greatest gifts to Christian couples.

  13. Yeah, Sheila is going to keep blogging! And I’m glad to hear that you aren’t doing it just because you’d feel guilty about stopping or such, but you see it as ministry. There is encouragement in that.

    And I got to thinking, if you are offending anyone, you aren’t saying much with content. Content will always offend someone. And these days, if you offend someone its your problem not the offendee’s problem, which is totally backwards, I think.

    I look forward to reading the “God is not your Red Bull” post… saw it in my reader. Sounds like a fun read!
    Rachael recently posted…Amusing EpisodesMy Profile

  14. So proud of you for truly making the right sacrifices for what God has called you to do. So often people neglect their true God-given responsibilities in the name of God. Bravo to you!! Your family is blessed!!

  15. It’s actually quite sad that someone who wants to get published has to subject herself to marketing herself in the way she does. It becomes more about who is the better marketer than who writes a good book. I sometimes wonder what the internet has done to the quality of books we read.

    You may think of yourself as a blogger, but you are more than that. Once you are published, people will think differently about, and will expect certain things. I suppose your job is to just filter that out.
    Kim Shay recently posted…Balancing the books and the babiesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Kim! And know that your concern about publishing is shared by those in the publishing world–even those who are making the decisions. I think everyone knows that we’re missing out on great books because we’re overlooking people with no platforms. The question is what to do about it.

      • Amen, Sheila. I have read other bloggers who were doing ebooks of their writings which is a big help for me and others. Yet she can’t get it officially published which is sad. I am so glad you are going to continue to blog. I have all of your books and very happy with them all.

        Holly

      • With the prior success of your books, your speaking platform, and this blog, if you would have trouble getting another book contract, then who exactly would be able to get one? Yikes – what else is there to do?

        Of course, I’d love it if you officially published another book, but do you really need to in the traditional sense? From a ministry standpoint, you mentioned that this blog reaches more people than would ever read your books. From a financial standpoint, since the author royalties on published books are so low, wouldn’t it be equally profitable to publish e-books like the ones coming out soon? If even 1% of those who come to this website buy your e-book, that math sounds pretty good to me.

        Anyway, interesting food for thought… couldn’t resist putting in my 2 cents…business analysis is kind of my thing. :-)
        Leanne recently posted…Year end tax tips for 2012My Profile

  16. Thanks so much for all these comments! I wish I had time to respond to each individually, but they all mean so much to me, and I’m copying them and pasting them into one long document to read whenever I get down!

    And I have a SUCCESS to tell you about: I just deleted a comment that I felt was unhelpful towards another commenter–and for the first time I don’t feel badly about it!

  17. Way to put your priorities straight :) God will honor that and show you how His ways are higher than any “publishers” way. The numbers game is a huge issue in Christian circles – so many churches fall prey to it through watering down the Gospel to fill the pews, being overly “seeker sensitive”, focusing on programs instead of preaching the Word, all for the sake of “numbers”. Stick to your guns and see God work :)

    Taught my Grade 5/6 Sunday School class about Joseph this Sunday and so many wonderful lessons to be learned. God took him out of his comfort zone to build his character and prepare him for how God was to use him in the future. He also reminded Joseph that He was with Him always – He just had to be obedient, have faith and let go and let God. Easy words to say, but hard to live by for us type As but oh the benefits. May God bless you richly as you continue to yield to His work in and through your life :)

  18. Oh, Sheila, I totally get this! Having been on the other side (involved in Christian publishing for 20+ years), it makes a ton of sense. But you are absolutely right that it is God who opens (and closes) doors, so just continue being faithful. You are also right about another thing – it IS a terrific book! The Lord bless you and continue to open doors for your writing, speaking, and ministry.
    Lisa Jacobson recently posted…Little SinnersMy Profile

  19. Courtney Cloe says:

    Wow, if what you have been delivering on your blog, as a chore, has been soooo great; I can’t wait to read what you give us now that you put your heart and soul into it! You bless me each day with insight into what I want my marriage to look like, I am so thankful you are still going to blog!

  20. SO GLAD you’re going to keep blogging!!!! Sounds like your decision will be great for you and for your family.
    Carrie recently posted…Appreciating pastors…My Profile

  21. cornflake girl says:

    So, so glad to hear that you are going to still blog! I love how you write with complete honesty, and that is missing from a lot of things today. May God continue to bless you and your writing :o)

  22. Thank you for blogging, Sheila. Your blog has immensely blessed me, in many ways. I haven’t agreed with everything you’ve written, but hey, I’m a grown up and I can deal with that, and if I agreed with everything you wrote, I wouldn’t need to read the blog because it’d just be reading my thoughts! ;)

    Thank you for all you share, and for the way it has encouraged me. Thank you for times you’ve challenged me to think again, and for the times you’ve hit the nail right on the head, and for the times I’ve not agreed with you, because you’ve made me think, you’ve made me pray and I truly believe you’ve helped me be a better wife.

    Thank you.
    Glory be Him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory be to Him from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen (Eph 3:20-21)

  23. Thank you so much for your honesty! As a “blogger who writes” I’m happy to see I’m not the only one who has struggled with this issue. For those of us just starting out on this journey, It’s so refreshing to hear another women who is not willing to sacrifice her family to create her “platform.” I’m excited to see where God is going to take you next. Thanks for inspiring me to keep doing what God has called me to do and not be concerned with the numbers!

  24. So glad to read this post. Your authenticity has always drawn me to your blog! It always comes down to whether we are going to follow God & what He wants for us or are we following what everyone else things is best for us! It’s nice to know someone else struggles with this too. Continuing to pray for you & your ministry! It is reaching hearts & changing lives. If it wasn’t, the attacks & criticizing would not be there. Thank you for continuing on!
    Joyfulmomlea recently posted…Gratefulness!My Profile

  25. So grateful you got some answers this weekend. I’m so grateful for YOU, Sheila, and how you speak Truth.

  26. It sounds like you are living Galatians 1:10. And with that God is always pleased. :) Happy blogging!

  27. I just want to chime in and say thanks again for all that you do! Also, I think it is absolutely wonderful that you put your family first! I’m sure they are blessed to have you in their lives :D

  28. Christian publishing IS a weird business! I suppose that is why I took the route of publishing my own books via Createspace. Because I wanted to just put it in the Lord’s hands. And while I haven’t sold more than 120 books so far in a year, I’m happy because I think the people who are supposed to read it are going to be led by the Lord to read it! I have to put it in His hands. I’m just a ball of anxiety otherwise. I’m so glad someone else feels this way! Thanks for your words.

  29. I’m thankful you’ve decided to keep blogging! Your book is great, but I’ve been reading your blog a lot longer and it’s helped our marriage more than your book.

    And it’s neat to see you’re willing to put your family first. There’s soooo much pressure to let them sit on the back burner while we pursue other things.
    Lois recently posted…Thanksgiving with the cousinsMy Profile

  30. I am encouraged! I wouldn’t sacrifice my family for ANYTHING either. Just not worth it. Thanks for this :)

  31. Thanks for sharing your heart! I’m glad that you are choosing to continue blogging and I know God will provide! God will honor your step of obedience to Him! Don’t know what that will look like, but it will be good! God bless you and your service to Him! You are touching lives!

  32. It is a struggle to be opinionated and share your opinions with others! People have varying reactions and so you can’t just rejoice in the people who “get it,” you have to deal with the annoying stuff at least in your head.

    Can you just be a blogger and an author? Does one have to take precedence? -it might if you have to make priorities and divide time and effort.

    I’m glad you’re recognizing the good and letting go of some things that are giving you psychological vertigo. I think you’re awesome, and I almost always love what you say about everything, especially airports and I love reading your blog as often as possible. It’s replacing my other favorites! It is refreshing to read good ideas on real-life situations/problems/questions from a Christian perspective.

    I think what you’ve been going through is necessary and important and there’s nothing wrong with you necessarily when circumstances change or require you to change. I think you’re making the right decisions!

  33. Lorrie McD. says:

    So glad you are going to continue to blog. You’re doing good work!

  34. I am not one for commenting on a blog post, generally speaking, but I just read your last few posts, and now I feel like I have to. I love, love, love your blog! I think you are oh so insightful and have gotten tons of great advice from you. I will say that I have never thought of buying your book, because, well, my husband and I have a great sex life, but I feel like I should buy it now, just for you! Please don’t stop blogging, though. Thank you for all that you do via this medium.

  35. I echo the others in saying that I’m so glad you decided to continue! And I’m even more excited that the crisis happened because now you have a renewed focus and God has given you the opportunity to let go of things that don’t matter. What a messy blessing! :) I’ve had a few of my own messy blessings – they are not fun to muddle through but I am always (ALWAYS!) a better person for having muddled through with the Holy Spirit as my guide.

    Have you read “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown? I’m halfway through it and it is life-changing. The subtitle is “How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead.” She really explores shame and vulnerability; how to deal with fears of not being “enough” and what people might think of us. I can’t fully express how amazing her research is and how this book is radically redefining some things in my life! Anyway, some of what you wrote here in this post resonated with what I’ve been reading in her book, so I at least wanted to mention it. :)

    I pray that this week will be restful for you, especially after a weekend of wrestling through some of these issues. I pray you will be refreshed and that God will pour out so much peace, joy, and freedom that you won’t even know what do with it! I look forward to reading more from you!

  36. Chris & Brenda Jane says:

    YES! Great choice! Your blog/book/facebook/twitter/etc is a “voice in the wilderness.” If anyone should be talking about marriage/sex/parenting it should be more Christians. Especially regarding sex. But beyond that we were touched by your statement, “There’s a lot of pressure to do things that would actually undermine your personal mission in order to achieve sales.” Unfortunately a similar thing could be said regarding pastoring a church or serving in most any ministry. We tell our leaders all the time that we want their marriages to come first, but then we load them down with so many responsibilites that it makes it almost impossible. We think you are “walking the talk” by refusing to feel like you must make it happen on your own at the cost of your closest relationships. Let us, your readers, do some of the heavy lifting by promoting your book, etc. in our own sphere’s of influence. Personally we tell everyone we can about your book (AGGGTGS) and other resources and have bought several copies just to give away (great wedding gift! Just sayin’). Just keep listening to God, obey what He says and practice what you preach. He will do the rest!!

  37. Joy Washburn says:

    I enjoy your blog and read it frequently. Whether or not I always agree with what is written is immaterial because what ever is written always makes ME think. And in my book, that is the point of reading a blog ~ not to become a fawning follower nor a bombastic bickerer ~ it’s to make me reflectively and introspectively think about the topics and issues from a perspective that is not my own. It also helps me to come to a reasoned conclusion (supported by evidence, of course since I’ve been taught to use the scientific method of inquiry). So thank you Sheila for doing that :-)

    P.S. I think your book should be a mandatory gift for all brides to be. I love how your book presents sex as a wonderfully enjoyable God-Given Gift to a husband and wife as a couple (like a special wedding gift that lasts for a lifetime). As an RN and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, I fully support healthy and positive attitudes about sex and sexuality. I’m recommending it to everyone that I know (brides to be and brides of 50+ years of marriage).

  38. Great Post Sheila! A great reminder for me to keep my blogging going for the right reasons! His strength is made perfect in my weakness! Thanks for all you do!
    Valerie @ Mission:Wife recently posted…Sexual Satisfaction Survey: The Results Are In! Part 2My Profile

  39. Michele tully says:

    Amen

  40. Sheila,

    So grateful that the Lord has led you to continue this blog. Your ministry here is important to the Kingdom of God. Blessings to you and your family.

  41. Sheila I love your honesty and vulnerability. It is why I follow your blog. I love that you say the things that I’m thinking but don’t know how to articulate myself. I marvel at that and I think your faithfulness to God in all this is the most important thing of all. I too have struggled with blogging and the pressure to do more and be more. If I had done all those things, I would probably have a much larger following and be making more money now but like you I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family time. I can only do what I can and what God wills for me. I DIDN’T want to write my book (yes I’m a blogger who doesn’t call herself a writer at all) and yet I felt God leading me do so. He opened the doors to make it happen. The sales of that book however I did put into his hands. I have never checked my author stats and to this day have no idea how many have sold. I don’t want to know. I rarely check blog stats either…I’m an all or nothing type of girl and I don’t like the road it would take me on if I did. It’s not important to me and it’s irrelevant to how I blog everyday so I stay away from it. Anyway all that to say I’m glad you are going to continue blogging and I’m thrilled I’ll get to hug you in person at Allume! Blessings my friend :)
    Laura recently posted…Menu Plan Monday ~ October 15/12My Profile

  42. YAY! I am SO glad to hear you are going to continue blogging. I love your book (and I own it) but what I like about your blog is the CONSTANT ONGOING reminder to put my marriage first. You know when you finish a good book, you just want MORE? Well with you blogging, I get more! And just like all books, I don’t remember everything in it so even if you repeat yourself, I need it!
    Sooooo I am SO excited for you (and me!) (And I think free blogs reach more people than books, which seems to be the ultimate goal, not money.)
    HAPPY BLOGGING!!!!
    Mary @ A Productive Endeavor recently posted…Front door closet organizationMy Profile

  43. Thanks, Sheila. I had a similar epiphany when I was launching my book, feeling so much stress that it was hard to be a good mom and wife. I thought, isn’t it ironic that your family has to suffer to have a successful marriage book? I also had to put the sales on the back burner and be realistic about my goals. My Marriage Gems blog, was initially started as a way to build readership–as was your blog–but it became the medium that reached more people. I agree that your authenticity comes through very strong in your writing. And I trust that you will have a positive impact wherever you are. It just wouldn’t do though to be a success writing about family then not succeed in real life. Kudos for keeping your priorities straight.
    Cheers!
    Lori Lowe
    http://www.MarriageGems.com

  44. Sheila~ This blessed me so! As a new Christian Blogger I have done alot of research and felt a bit overwhelmed and recently had a “break~down” or shall I say a meltdown of my own. I confess that yes, starting out I was looking at the numbers, kinda like Julie in my favorite movie, “Julie & Julia & yes my Mom calls me and says, “finish something for one in your life” and my goodness I hammer down to make it happen. But then in the midst of it all I realize that God has a much larger plan for my life and that’s only to trust Him, get the information out that He sees fit and even if no one is reading it, I am being obedient to His will for me. Sheila, I was praying for you and your family over the weekend as I know that you avoided what alot of Christian authors don’t have the courage to release from their lives, and that’s the freedom to be who God called them to be and allow HIM to call the shots. So this choice this decision to choose YOU & your family will PAY off I know for sure, God wanted to see who was more important to you, HIM or your Success, and Honey since you chose HIM, watch HIM make send an abundance of Blessings your way for your decision! Happy Blogging and thank you for supporting all of us in Christian Marriage, it means the world! MA

  45. lynsimarie says:

    Sheila, I read your blog every day. My husband and I have been married for a year and a half, and our daughter is 3 months old. While our relationship is really wonderful, I’m always interested in what I can do to make it even better, and you are such an encouragement to me! I am SO thankful to have access to your wisdom as a mature Christian woman through your blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the work you put into this! Please don’t ever forget that you are helping and encouraging and teaching and influencing in so many fabulous ways!

  46. Thank you for your ministry. I LOVE your blog, which I read daily. I enjoy your opinion pieces. I usually agree with you; but even when I don’t, you may me think. I purchased your book for my recently-wed daughter. I want her to enjoy the initmacy of marriage at its fullest from the beginning & I’m convinced your book will facilitate that.
    I’m thrilled to hear you won’t be forsaking the blog. I suspect that God has big things in store for you. God bless you & yours!

  47. So thankful the Lord is giving you comfort and direction and especially that you are handing Him your ministry with open hands. I wasn’t able to go the way I was taught to go marketing-wise, even on a much smaller venue. Gave it up a long time ago. All I can say is that I found freedom when I came to that decision, and I know you will too. Press on, my sister.

  48. Need a like button!

  49. Just came across something that I bookmarked a while ago that seems relevant to your situation and the things you came to realize this weekend: http://zenhabits.net/one-thing/
    I really love this idea of doing one thing well, and allowing everything else to “flow” from that one thing.
    Gaye @ Calm.Healthy.Sexy. recently posted…Live Calmer – Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself!My Profile

  50. Amen!!! Thankful for your insight and peace …. as far as everyone else and their comments — if God tells you to write it you write it in love and let the chips fall where they may. ((hugs))

  51. Do you hear a “woohoo” coming out of the Midwest?!? That’s me rejoicing! It seems there’s peace & God given wisdom & direction coming from this article. So excited & thanking God for His guidance, wisdom & grace. I hope you feel richly blessed!

  52. I have a picture with this quote: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes”. Just want you to know, my wife and I appreciate you and this blog. Hope you get to Montana sometime!

  53. Stephanie says:

    I am so glad that God revealed himself to you through this!!! After discussing your earlier post with my mom, she suggested that maybe satan was trying to attack the amazing ministry that you have through this blog. Praise God and it is so wonderful to give him the glory in all of this!

  54. I love your Blog and I have bought your book due to your blog…! Do not give up just the small amount of time I have been reading your blog, I have felt so like God lead me to your blog, for the world tells me one thing but God has told me another. It is awesome to know that God works through people like you. Thank you for your words and gift!

  55. P.S. You don’t need to market your book because all of us gladly do it foryou. My husband would tell anyone he would pay a hundred dollars for the book anyday.

  56. Whooohooo! Glad you’re happy with your decision. Oh, and we get to keep reading your insight.

  57. Amen Sheila. Your post is such an encouragement to me. Just today I shared on my blog about some changes am making in a post title “why am following passion, not gurus”.

    Am on that ‘re-focusing’ road. I haven’t figured everything out entirely.

    I love statement “if you just trust me, I can unleash you and unleash your ministry. But until you give it to me it will always be a struggle”

    Thanks for this and God bless you! You inspire me.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Why I am Following Passion, Not GurusMy Profile

  58. Good for you!! You know what, maybe the people that got offended by a post really needed to hear what you said and they didn’t like it. That doesn’t mean you should still write what God is laying on your heart! Too many pastors are afraid of offending their church and won’t preach what really needs to be preached. They worry more about the numbers and tithes. I wish more people would speak Godly truths and not be afraid of offending. (Me included. ;-)

  59. Yes. Yes. A thousand yeses.
    Much love to you, my friend…

    All’s grace,
    Ann

  60. I’m so thankful that God has brought you to a better place! We all need a shift in mindset occasionally! Good for you for putting your family first. I’m also so thankful that you’re going to continue blogging. I don’t know what I would do without your input. You have opened my eyes in so many ways concerning my husband and my marriage. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I read my husband some of your articles about men, and he just couldn’t believe that a woman had written those articles because they were so spot-on! And he was also very happy because your insight helps me to understand him better! :)

    God bless you and yours!
    Jenny recently posted…What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.My Profile

  61. Wow. That’s almost all I can say.

    You are mirroring my own journey, and I am severely cutting back on my writing, though I’ve done much less than you!

    My family needs me, and I suspect yours does too. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    You’re in my prayers,

    Lisa
    Lisa recently posted…Lionproof Part 11: Barriers to Obtaining Your Most Valuable WeaponMy Profile

  62. Sheila,
    I am so happy to read this post. I think the Lord often calls us to take on roles that we would not have chosen for ourselves so that HIS strength can be seen by others. Whether it is taking on youth ministry (me) or being a “Blogger who writes books”, we can be quick to give God the glory when things go well, because we know it isn’t our skill leading to success.

    2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

    Keep looking for what the Lord has for you. It sounds like you are already embracing this new outlook on your blog. Psalm 37:3-7 says:

    Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
    Delight yourself also in the Lord,
    And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
    Commit your way to the Lord,
    Trust also in Him,
    And He shall bring it to pass.
    He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    And your justice as the noonday.

    Delight yourself in the Lord and you will draw closer to the things He wants for you, and eventually His desires will become your desires.

    I really never post comments, but I keep feeling the Spirit urge me to offer encouragement. I know I speak for many readers when I say thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for the sacrifices on your time and family to write for this blog. Thank you for the time you take in designing the blog to be easy to read and beautiful to look at. Thank you for the time spent figuring out all the behind the scenes of blogging so that we can read words of encouragement, wisdom and challenge with a simple click. Thank you for loving God enough to seek out His will instead of how the world measures success.

    Colossians 3:23-24
    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

  63. I read this today and you gave me a since of peace I dont know why because what is going on in my life right now has nothing to do with this perticular post but I think it has to do with the fact that you are doing what God Wants you too. You have changed my marriage with your blogg and I am so glad you are not stoping the blog post !!

  64. I love where the Lord has taken you since the weekend. And I totally resonate with your mindset, and your insights as well as reflections totally confirm what I’ve felt about my own writing/ministry/blog/not yet published by a BIG name journey. Thanks for sharing, as you’ve inspired me and helped me refocus.

    Blessings,
    Lisa
    Lisa recently posted…{3.31} Serving Because of LoveMy Profile

  65. Oh my friend! Yes! This is such sweet, encouraging truth. For me, it’s been a journey to contentment … learning to use the tools God has given me and be a wise & faithful steward of them. Yes, I’m a blogger. I love it! I also speak and would love a traditional publishing deal … but the simple and sweet truth is this: I have a platform, it is the foundation of the Word of God … that’s what I want to share, not me but HIM!

    You bless me BIG, girl!!

  66. Lauren Smith says:

    Beautiful post! I agree with you 100% . I don’t know you personally, but I feel like I do. If you were sitting here drinking coffee with me this morning, I would hug you and tell you that I know in my heart you’re doing exactly the right thing. Thank you for your ministry. I found you this summer, and I read you almost daily. You helped my marriage just this past weekend. I was able to bless my husband in a wonderful way. The Lord is very good.

  67. Shelia, I am so glad I read this. I am a new blogger, and wanting to minister to women. Every “how to”site says you have to do this and do that, and how am I going to make money etc. Yes, I would LOVE to grow the amount of women who are reading my blog…. but not by compromising who I am, what I write, or to do anything for anyone beside the Lord! You are SUCH an encouragement to me. Today, I was reading in Colossians, and it talks about God bringing the increase…. and today, through my time in the Word and you speaking some good ole’ fashion truth- I know its not so much about me going out and pushing it (not that I wont do somethings to get it out there- I am going to write and share- and let God lead people to it) as it is about God bringing the people. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    amanda kelly recently posted…In my next 30 years….My Profile

  68. Amen! I am so glad that you are allowing God and not man to determine how you minister to others! I am in a most difficult marital situation right now, but your blog is such a great encouragement to me even in these difficult times. Thanks! God bless you!

  69. I just want to take a moment & thank you for two things. First, thank you for being willing to be vulnerable and open as you walk through this transition. There are many parallels to what you and I are facing, and reading your thoughts helps me to define my own and my direction. Secondly, thank you for your 29 days to better sex challenge in February. It truly changed my perspective, my attitude, and my marriage. I am so grateful! So yes, God uses your blog. In a BIG way. ;)

  70. Wow, thank you for this. I just went to the Re:Write Conference last month and this is exactly what they told us – that it is really up to us now to market our books. It kindof scared me. I have been pressuring myself to get my audience up, get my book out, market, market, market – but you are so right – it does take time away from the family. And family is what is going to last, and I don’t want my family to remember I was not there for them because of some pursuit I was doing. This post helped me to breathe a lot easier tonight….and take some of the pressure off of my shoulders. Thank you!!

  71. Hi Sheila, I hadn’t checked in for a few days, so just came across these recent posts. Yes, you truly are doing something special here, and are helping many people all over, much of the time when you don’t even realize I’m sure! Just know you are appreciated, admired, and are sharing with/teaching in a wonderful way, to wives (and others) everywhere! Thankyou from a wife and Mom way over in northern Alberta, Shauna

  72. Sheila let me put my 2 cents in the pile too- you’ve helped me through some troubled areas in my marriage LOTS, and helped me build a better one. Your ministry is far-reaching and powerful… I’m always quoting you, either in my blog or in real life.
    Thank you for your dedication, and sharing your heart and vulnerability with us!
    With love and prayers–
    Melinda
    Melinda (Auntie Em) Stanton recently posted…Do You See Me?My Profile

  73. Susy the Lamb says:

    i love ur blog and ur book. thank you for what you do. im reading the book now slowly but surely. and my husband and i have been so blessed. when i have time i always come to ur blog. thank you!
    from a reader in NC

  74. I am so glad to hear that you have come to this place and I can tell God is a part of it. I want you to know that I am going to start regularly praying for your blog and that it be used not for your will or anyone else’s will but it be used for His will and His kingdom. His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

    • Thank you, Sarah. I was out for lunch with a friend and she told me that I needed to do more to get prayer support around me. I think she’s right.

  75. Hi Sheila. Just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I keep coming back because there is so much of what you’ve written that is helpful for my marriage. Thank you for that. And for persevering through all of the negative that comes along with putting yourself out there in a public forum. That’s it. Just thank you. :)

  76. I just found your blog today!! I was reading through some great articles, then I “happened” on this one….and it really touched me. I can’t explain why exactly, but it was so good to hear your honesty about your struggles as an author and as a blogger. Thanks so much for sharing. God bless you. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!!

  77. Sheila, this is AWESOME–for you & for me! Let me just say that your book The Good Girls Guide. . . is POWERFUL & I can’t recommend it enough!! But this blog is a daily “empowerment” for me–as a wife, as a pastor to women, as a friend, etc. What you shared here really is helping me to process what God is doing in me. I have been a pastor’s wife for 13 years & leading the women’s ministry at our church for 10 years. I LOVE it & it is what God created me to be! But this summer when God spoke to me to start a blog for the ministry, I felt that I was a minister who happened to blog. But several friends keep telling me that they think God is doing something more than just a little blogging on the side. I have had opportunities to do more online ministry but it kind of scares me. This post has really caused me to push away the fear & ask God to unleash me too!! :-) Cheering you on!

  78. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They have encouraged me. I struggle with the whole marketing thing. I know publishers have to make money and that a lot of it’s up to the author these days but I’m not very good at marketing myself. I’ve told myself that God will get the books to the people who need to read them – and I truly believe that – and if it’s only one person then I’m okay with that too – but I’ve sometimes felt that that’s a cop-out and I should be doing more. So from now on, no more guilt. God has called me to write but He has also called me to be a wife and mother and I must not neglect those roles.

    I love reading your blog and others do too and if some get offended at your comments, don’t take it to heart. You’ll never please everyone all the time.

  79. Shelia you’re an amazing woman that I admire and look up to. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and I’ve always thought of you as a blogger who inspires me.
    Thank you for putting yourself out there! You reach so many more people than you’ll ever really know – only God knows.

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