A beautiful girl sits in the passenger seat of a blue Holden Astra, sobbing uncontrollably. Long blonde hair hangs over her face as she hugs her knees to her chest. Next to her sits an uncomfortable young man. He barely knows the girl — not enough to be called her friend, but enough that not ten minutes ago, he too, sat in the same car and cried. About her.
And she’s not the kind of girl you cry about.
I’m writing another book. It seems crazy, I know. I feel like someone should be sitting me down and saying, ‘Jess, shouldn’t you just properly edit the first story? I mean, c’mon, it’s been two years.’
And yes, that fictional person is right. And there has been some editing. That first novel is currently in the process of draft three, after which, I feel like I might be ready to start submitting to publishers.
But it turns out, that can’t be done until this story is written. Because like the one before it, it’s loosely based on events from the first book, and I need to know how these tales finish up so that it can all flow nicely in the first one. I wouldn’t call them a series, because they can all stand on their own, and are written quite differently… but they are linked.
The point of this post, however, is not to tell you about my not-quite-series.
It’s to say goodbye.
I haven’t written a blog post since I stepped back from IBOT in July. I meant to write a few — I attempted a couple of times. Wrote some drafts, then did the technical equivalent of screwed up the paper and threw them in the bin, and hit the trash button. Nothing came out quite right, and I feared I had lost the knack — would I never be able to babble pointlessly on the internet again?
It was a terrifying thought.
I’ve spent a lot of time babbling pointlessly, what becomes of me if I no longer can?
Turns out, quite a bit. 🙂
I started blogging because I wanted to create a platform for self-publishing my book. I did that, and it was good. But it didn’t take long for the vehicle to become the destination; before I knew it I was obsessed with creating content for here, and boosting my reach, and learning Facebook’s algorithms and all that stuff. And it was ok. For a while that was fine, and what I needed.
But the need passed, and over the last few years the search for purpose that has always been here, hidden under the words of so many posts, reared its ugly head and demanded to be noticed. I wasn’t content to just babble anymore. I didn’t want to be constantly thinking of new ideas to entertain others or to have something for IBOT.
Blogging, I’ve noticed over the years, is either an end in itself, or it creates opportunities for the blogger that didn’t exist before. Whether it’s through the blog itself, or just the confidence it inspires, so many of the IBOT crew of old, have gone on to bigger and better things, often launched off the back of posting regularly on the interwebs.
I’ve long loved the opportunities created through blogging — the endless world of possibility that exists for us all. But I’ve since discovered something so much better than opportunity: purpose.
Unlike opportunity, purpose narrows your activities not expands them. It dictates your focus. It makes you forsake all else in pursuit of what it is that matters most. And for me, now, EssentiallyJess.Com does not matter most.
In truth, it doesn’t matter all that much at all.
My novels do. My study does. The youth group Boatman and I are looking after at church is high up there. As is church in general.
An arrow, when it flies towards the target, flies straight; it’s not distracted by good things, or shiny things, or fun things to the left or right. It flies straight to where it’s headed and does not deviate.
I want to be like an arrow. Not distracted by what I could do, or what this place on the internet could be. I want to be focused and clear and purposeful in life. I still want to write. But not here. And not so that everyone knows who EssentiallyJess is. I want to write so people know who Jesus is. That’s my purpose. In truth, it always has been — it just took me a little while to realise it.
So I’m moving on. It’s time.
Fare thee well.
And all the other ways to say goodbye.
Thanks for the visits, and the comments, and the wonderful memories.
It’s been the best. xxx
Linking with IBOT’s permanent host, Kylie Purtell.