I don't want to compete with you. At all. I know that some people are in this seemingly endless competition to see who can amass more social media followers... whose articles get the most traffic... whose articles get the most comments... retweets... likes, etc. I'm not one of them. I prefer to be an insignificant nobody in the Catholic world (and in the world in general).
If you feel the need to rub it in my face that I've been blogging for 10 years and don't have a column in a popular/well-known Catholic publication have a book deal/contract with a publisher, I have news for you: I'm sincerely happy for you and I honestly don't care that these things haven't happened to me. Do you want to know why? Because I don't feel that it's what God wants for me (at least, not right now) and it is not suitable for me in many ways.
Having a column would open me up to criticism (both from outsiders and from myself) and I'm far too sensitive for criticisms. Why do you think I take extended breaks from Twitter and why I'm very careful about who I add on other social media platforms? I'm very susceptible to being affected by negativity. Too much time on Twitter makes me uncharitable and snippy; that's not who I want to be nor who I believe I am, deep down.
Furthermore, despite having reverted over a decade ago, I've yet to learn enough about Catholicism to feel confident enough to speak out about it. That's how I've seen that perhaps the lay Dominican life is not for me; I love learning but I don't feel prepared to speak to others about all topics within Catholicism. I speak of what little I know; of what I've experienced. I'm happy that in this little corner of the internet, I can express myself and that I don't feel the pressure to churn out some amazing content on a regular basis. It would be too stressful for me and I've only just gotten my anxiety down to a practically non-existent level.
In recent weeks, God has opened my eyes and shown me that I don't want the popularity that comes with having writing success. I write because I love it. I write because it's my way of expressing myself. I write because I feel like it's the one small talent God has given me... one that, I hope, will one day help me stimulate my future children's imaginations since I hope to create magical worlds just for them.
I know that I may someday choose not to blog anymore. I don't think I will ever give up writing completely but I know that my heart is with building my future family. I've discerned my vocation to the point of knowing that what I want most in this world is to get married and have children. I know that I want to devote myself to that vocation as much as I can -- being a stay-at-home mother, if God wills it, would be a dream -- and that I'm very likely to give up writing often while my children are small.
I will continue to self-publish my novels because my object is not to make a ton of money but to (hopefully) help others in little ways -- to escape a problem by being immersed in a world I've created, even if it's for a little while... to learn from the mistakes and lessons learned by the characters in my novels... to be inspired to grow closer to God. That's why I periodically choose to give my novels away and/or donate the proceedings of my sales to various causes (i.e. earthquake relief funds).
For those of you who are successful in the Catholic writing world and have managed to stay humble: you leave me in awe and I will continue to pray that God gives you the knowledge, courage, and humility to continue spreading His word with the gift He's given you. I know that I couldn't do it because I still have too much pride that God needs to whittle away from my very being. If He chooses to one day give what I write any attention from publishers or editors of publications, it will be done because He knows that I will be able to handle it (which I currently cannot). At the moment, I don't see it happening and I'm perfectly content with what I have right now.
Being invisible amongst other bloggers and writers is wonderfully humbling and is shaping me into the person that I hope God wants me to be. I've come to see that I wish to remain as I am now: being surrounded with great people who support me, who choose to be part of my journey (seeking nothing but friendship in return) and who challenge me to seek God and become the best version of myself.
Dear Catholic writers, I pray that you continue to do wonderful things for His kingdom and that your words lead others closer to God. I pray that the popularity, fame, envy, greed, and other temptations that the devil may try to tempt you with will not affect you. If they do, I pray that God will open your eyes and that you are immediately able to fix it. In our fallen human nature, it's very easy to fall into traps that hurt our souls without us being aware of them until much later. I've been able to see this for myself. God has been merciful and shown me what I need to work on; I pray He does the same for you.
Please remember that whatever success we have on this earth does not dictate where we will end up once our time in this world is over. Please remember to build each other up instead of tearing each other down or trying to outdo each other. It's become very evident (at least to me) that the evil one has been hard at work to divide us all... and it's become especially easily through social media. Please be on your guard and pray for each other (and the trolls that may want to engage in a pointless battle with you; don't feel the trolls). Don't be afraid to share what others have written if you think it will be beneficial to others; even if it means your blog/article for the day gets ignored. Do things for the greater good.
Anyway, I didn't write this to shame anyone; I just wanted to express my own opinions and let you all know that I am praying for you. I choose not to compete with you, but to fight alongside you; to help others get to Heaven.
This is not a "farewell, blog/writing world" post, but a letter to all the wonderfully talented writers in hopes that it will remind them of what's truly important.
May God bless you all,