Goodbye, Instagram!

* This post was originally sent to my email subscribers as part of my weekly devotions, “Starlight Reflections.” If you’d like to receive these free devotions, please sign up. I’ll also send you a free ebook copy of my short story, “Angel of Fate,” the prequel story to my Journey of Fate series.

I said goodbye to Instagram. It had to happen, and I'm not sorry to see it go. It wasn't a major hindrance in my life; I rarely paid it much attention. Still, it was one of those things that I didn't need in my life, so it's gone.

Here's the thing: The Lord told me to cut some things out of my life a while ago, and I had every intention of doing just that but didn't. I kept saying this thing needs to go, and once I hit some "certain point" I'll get rid of it. Navigating this journey of being an author is not easy, but I've made it harder on myself than it should have been.

Let me back up. I had one of those "only-God-can-do-this" kind of moments a couple of months ago. I was trimming a tree, and the Lord showed me how much I needed to be pruned just like the tree was being pruned. I asked the Lord what I needed to cut away, and He showed me some things. I got serious for a while, but it became one of those things that falls to the wayside if you're not deliberate about it.

So I listened to a podcast about a week ago, and it was all about pruning, trimming things out of your life in order to be more fruitful in the most important areas. I listened to the hosts of that show talking about how stressed they were and how they'd finally come to a place where they'd both decided there were some things they needed to let go. I listened to that, reminded of my tree pruning experience, and realized how much I had in common with them.

And then I went about my business and made no changes.

Well, Fate of the Redeemed releases soon (October 1st), and I'm starting to stress because it feels like I've done nothing to get the word out about this book. The Lord has made it clear to me that most of the tactics I'm using to market my books are pretty much a waste of my time. So, I've been doing some research, and I came across some authors who write books similar to mine and are finding some success. I reached out, and the responses were strange.

One man basically told me I was right but offered no valuable advice. It was actually super negative coming from a Christian author. Only one other person responded, and he said pretty much nothing about marketing. Instead, he kind of rebuked me and then spent four or five paragraphs encouraging me to renew my walk with God and trust Him.

Um, wow.

I don't know if you've ever had your spirituality called into question by a complete stranger or not, but it's unpleasant. It's equally uncomfortable for that stranger to then basically preach to you and inspire you. Why am I telling you this? Because he was right.

I spend a lot of time on social media trying to market my books even though I know how ineffective social media marketing is. Lately, I've wondered why I'm getting almost no engagement, but now I know. A year ago I made a lot of connections on social media with some people who have become fans of my books. The way I made those connections was by posting encouraging things and trying to spread the light. Now, all I've done for the most part is a post here and there trying to be an encouragement that I felt obligated to post and information about my books.

Well, no more. I'm not making any more attempts to use social media to market my books. Sure, I'll let people know when my books are available and where to get them. I'll post my progress in writing, but only because that's me talking about what's going on in my life. Other than that, I'm going to get back to ministering truth. I'm also going to eliminate that huge drain on my time. I still have my FB page, but I don't plan to do much with it.

This frees me up to focus on my writing. Imagine if JRR Tolkien had spent hours a day on Instagram. We never would have gotten The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. That's just not a world I want to live in. The Lord has shown me what I'm supposed to be writing next, and I want to focus on that. I don't want to write the Journey of Fate series because I feel like I'm obligated to people. This journey is about my relationship with God, and He is also thinking about what others need that He can give them through me. To that end, it's time for me to take this pruning thing seriously.

Less social media time equal more blog posts that provide biblical insight and encouragement to the saints. It equals more time with my family. More time in prayer and the Word of God. More time to live life and really feel like I'm living it. Maybe I won't sell a lot of books. Maybe I will. I don't know. I'm looking forward to getting out in the real world and meeting readers, talking to people.

I'll do my part and leave the results up to God.

Ironically enough, I write about spiritual warfare. The characters in my books are under attack from evil forces trying to steer them off course from following the Lord. You'd think I would've seen the same evil forces trying to use my good intentions against me for the same purpose. Maybe my own weaknesses and humanity are what make Lester so real to me. The battles he faces are not so different than my own, just in a different context.

How about you? What's keeping you from fulfilling your full potential and purpose for the Lord?

Chad PettitComment