Two years ago, I thought I would finally fulfill a long-time dream and create an official author website. I had a blog before. But it didn’t feel professional enough. I wanted a landing page to launch my writing career and be seen. It seemed the right thing to do.
So I made the website. I chose a catchy title, got the domain, and paid for the web hosting service. I invested who-knows-how-many hours designing the website just the way I liked. Everything was coming together.
But it never launched. I never shared it. I did nothing to promote it. I didn’t even write a new blog post. Once the website was ready, I stalled.
There could be a lot of reasons why. Personally, I think the most likely is that I never really wanted the website that I had made. Other freelance writers and authors I admire have their own websites, so I felt I should too. The problem is that those writers make a living that way. I don’t.
Not that I couldn’t. Maybe I could. If I really dedicated myself to it. But the point is that I actually don’t need it for my living or career. I enjoy freelance writing, but it isn’t my full-time job. So I tried to do something that never was meant for me.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in the same position before. You try to make it work, but it isn’t what you should be doing for the outcome that you really want. There are other ways to use your time and energy for better results.
For instance, maybe you’re a painter. Maybe you’ve been trying to create portraits of people in a classical style. You think doing that is going to make you into the kind of “serious” artist you want to be. You even plan gallery showcases of your portraits. You provide the cheese cubes, and a musician friend offers to play. (I’m not a painter, so forgive me if the metaphor is inaccurate.)
But what you might realize as you’re standing there at your gallery showcase is that it isn’t what you wanted in the first place. It isn’t how you imagined it would be. All along, you were trying to be the artist that you are not. Instead, what you really want is to create whimsical modern art of pets. And you don’t care much if the finished art is displayed in a museum or gallery. You would rather have your art hung in homes, celebrating the love of the pets in the owners’ lives.
Recently I visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The museum displays an extensive record of Picasso’s early works, some of which don’t appear finished or are mere drafts. But what surprised me most was how unlike they were from what I had formerly associated with Picasso. For most people who have heard of Picasso, his name probably calls to mind images like this:
However Picasso did not start out this way. He specialized in realism long before co-founding the Cubist movement and becoming world famous. He made many portraits and landscapes in the realism style, but one in particular caught my attention. In 1896, Picasso painted his sister taking communion:
This portrait is so life-like in person that it could almost pass as a photo. It is astonishing how Picasso managed to recreate such delicate details as the transparency of his sister’s white veil. I never knew before that this was how he started his artistic career.
But what if he had stopped here? What if Picasso had decided against further experimentation? What if he had been satisfied to continue painting in realism for the rest of his life?
Well, for one, few people apart from art connoisseurs would know his name. His work would have blended into that of other realism artists. Only art critics could recognize his technique. And the art world would be that much less colorful. It would have missed his unique perspective that cubism and surrealism expressed.
I’m not an art enthusiast (let alone an expert), but I’m glad that Picasso didn’t settle for copying the old masters. He is an example to us all. I don’t want to only copy the writers that I admire. I want to push beyond that, unlimited by the journey of those who came before me.
So I’m giving this website a fresh start. It isn’t the “author platform” I thought it would be. But hopefully, it will be something better. I don’t know exactly what it will look like. I know for sure it will change over time. We will discover it together. For now, my hope is to share thoughts and ideas to inspire, encourage, and challenge you. May you find a fresh take on universal topics, a different way of relating to God and others, or a simple change in perspective.
When was a time that you tried something and had to start over? How did it turn out after the fresh start? Was it better or worse than you expected?