Last week, I had to bury my pride and allow an invitation to be sent to all my friends and acquaintances, asking them, “Do you like Taryn R. Hutchison?”
I felt like I was transported back to junior high. Facebook morphed into the friend I dispatched to ask a certain boy’s pal to find out if that boy liked me. As in, really liked me?
My pre-teen insecurity returned as I waited to see if anyone might respond.
I prepared myself for no responses at all. I didn’t know which would be harder: apathy or outrage.
It’s a difficult question to ask. Sometimes it’s easier not to know.
Hard enough if the question was, “Do you like Taryn’s writing, or should she just give it up?”
But people were asked if they like me. That’s personal. More personal than love.
Like vs. Love
Love reflects the person who does the loving. Families love. God loves. No matter what.
The character of the lover is what matters. If it’s truly unconditional, my actions don’t change that.
But like? That’s based on the one being liked. It’s conditional. I can mess that up.
I constructed a fantasy world where I’m well-liked by everyone, and I’m comfortable there. Why shatter dreams with cold statistics?
Would you want to know?
Thankfully, many friends said, “Yes!” or at least a timid and non-committal “yeah, OK, whatever,” sans exclamation point.
It all counts. I now identify with Sally Field when she won the Oscar and exclaimed, “You like me! You really like me!”
Before I popped the question, I felt comfortable enough. I had a beautiful website, preserved in its pristine glory just for me and a handful of others to see. And don’t forget my social media platform of 1,800 friends. That seemed pretty good for a low-tech 60-year-old. Now I’m told that’s measly.
I learned that friendship isn’t enough. My friends needed to declare themselves. Facebook transformed itself into my father this time, demanding my “friends” state their intentions toward me. They needed to commit.
What’s the big deal? I mean, I had not one, but two Facebook pages for my book. I sporadically posted in English on one. Even less frequently, I wrote in broken Romanian that probably no Romanian could understand on the other.
It never occurred to me that I might actually write more than the one book someday.
But I have written another book. And because of that, I’m pursuing agent-types to dazzle them with my charming self so they’ll help bring it to life. I’m into full courting mode. And I’m not above begging.
So, I drummed up my courage and allowed you to be asked. Again, images of a pimply-faced junior high guy, voice cracking, dialing his girl’s number on the telephone (OK, I already said I’m 60, didn’t I?) to ask her on a date danced in my head.
And now I have another question, much more serious. Now that I’m trying to woo an agent in hopes that they will woo a publisher, I need more than friends.
Engagement – The Bottom Line
What matters, I find now, is engagement. That over-used current buzz word. (If you stick around me very long, you’ll know how vehemently I dislike, and refuse to use, the ever-changing array of buzz words).
To me, engagement means one thing. Betrothal. (gasp!) And I’m a married woman.
Will You Marry Me?
It turns out that the number of people who are your friends or followers is insignificant. The benchmark is the number who actually read what you write and respond to it. I need readers (friends!) who are engaged with me. This shows up when you do one or all of the following:
So, I merged my two Facebook pages into a brand new author page (@tarynthewriter). Just in time for my babies to be born.
First comes the release of Everbloom–which includes a piece I wrote–on April 25th. (More on that very soon.) And well before my novel gets published.
That’s right. My novel! I promise to tell you more about that in the near future. I expect a very long pregnancy for this birth. Think elephant gestation.
For now, I’m asking you to please engage with me. CLICK, LIKE, SHARE.
- Click on my website.
- Like my FB page.
- Share my blog posts.
Thank you! And by the way, I like you, too.
Taryn, I liked you as a good friend way back in our GGBTS days. You were an engaging conversationalist with a quick and edgy sense of humor. You answered my endless questions with grace and a compassion that said you not only understood what I was asking, but the why behind the question. I saw you treat students with those same qualities, showing each one that they were valued.
Now that I am engrossed in “We Wait You,” I am getting to know you all over again. To say that I am in awe is an understatement. You yielded 100% of your life to Jesus, going where He led and doing all that He asked of you. You invested yourself in the lives of countless people, introducing them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. While I would say, “amazing,” you would undoubtedly say simply, “He called.”
Yes, Taryn, I like you. God bless you, my friend!
Dotti, I’m speechless. Wow. Thank you for such kind, and totally undeserved, words. Seriously, back in Eastern Europe, all I did was show up and watch what God did. And Dotti, I like you, too!