Bane or blessing?

When I “retired” from the newspaper to play “mommy,” my colleagues created this fun version of the paper as my good-bye gift. It is still framed and prominently displayed in my kitchen.

I’ve had a hard time writing lately–or at least a hard time self-publishing. I miss my newspaper colleagues and their feedback. Even though I didn’t always like getting edited, I always felt confident about what I published. (Not to mention that was the only way to get published; as a personal blogger, I have perfect freedom to push “Publish” at will, but I try to respect the privilege of the platform.) So I occasionally run a post past my husband or son or whoever happens to be in my house or is the subject of a post (and, once, even my Algebra IB students at school, come to think of it). I do that either when I have a nagging sense that something isn’t right or an idea that something is so right, I just have to share.  I usually get applause, at least verbally. This time? Not so much. And the time immediately after that? Not so much again. Discouraging.

The problem was that I wrote the parental version of Lamentations, wherein I shared my personal feelings about one aspect of parenting, which may or may not have included enough detail that everyone and his brother (literally) would know which child was the subject of the post. Apparently, that is gossip. Who knew? The next time I wrote about my feelings and struggles (personal, so who could claim “gossip,” right?) about another child’s rite of passage. Nothing negative, but that child asked me not to publish it.

I have to respect the wishes of these personally selected editors of mine. If I didn’t, it would be like looking in a mirror, seeing a problem, and walking away without fixing anything. Or standing on a scale, noticing an adding mistake in the digital reading, and stepping off without at least resolving to eat better. Even though I don’t like it, these editors show me the error of my ways–or at least make me hesitate and reconsider before I publish.

Believe it or not, I feel deadline pressure, the need to produce, even though I write for fun and have no editor hounding me for copy. So when I get these editorial comments and am convicted not to publish, I feel a bit frustrated. At those moments, I’m tempted to point out what Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Namely, that my words and meditations should be pleasing in God’s sight; I don’t have to be a man pleaser (and then stick out my tongue and walk away; I feel that mature). But in the back of my mind is Proverbs 11:14, which says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.”

I’ve always like the sure thing, the “bird in the hand” rather than the “two in the bush” sort of victory. And so I seek out advisers, because I want what I write to have a purpose and be worthy of the read–and I have no desire to injure those I love in a published venting. (If only I could have speech editors or a five-second time delay on what comes out of my mouth on any given day…) I consider my advisers a blessing, not the bane of my writing existence.

Having shared all that, I confess that I’m pushing “Publish” at will this morning. No editors necessary.

I hope.

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