Although it was March, my area suffered a record-breaking destructive storm. At the height of it, we were trapped in our small mountain community on four sides. No one could come in or go out for about two hours as we waited for a dam to break and heard news of roads crumbling away under the weight and force of an “atmospheric river.”
In the past twelve months, our country has experienced a time of devastating weather and natural disasters. Words like blizzards, earthquakes, fire, and hail have saturated media headlines and Facebook posts. These unprecedented events are in addition to any overwhelming circumstances in our lives. It is understandable if we become fearful worrying about the safety of our families and neighbors.
Like being afraid of the weather or things happening in our lives, fear of writing is real. Many times an author is afraid of rejection or worries his manuscript isn’t good enough. What if people don’t like it? All it takes to fuel this further is a negative opinion from a critique partner or a rejection letter from a publisher. It is all too easy to drown in the storms of doubt.
A writer’s greatest joy comes when their book is finally in print, and that first positive review comes in. But when negative thinking overcomes us, getting to that place may seem impossible. Here are a few things to reflect on when you are ready to throw your manuscript into the wind.
- Remember How God Sees Your Writing: Doubt is a major hindrance to your writing. Some days you will read your words and feel you are not qualified or competent to even write a simple, coherent sentence. You won’t see the value of your efforts. Everything will seem awful, and you’ll question why you ever thought writing was something you wanted to do. In those times, you must understand you are not thinking clearly. God is bigger than that scene you are struggling with. Your dream to write is really a calling from God, and He will equip you to get there.
- Have Faith in Your Efforts: Yes, it is tireless, exhausting work that no one understands! Yes, some days you just won’t find the right words. And yes, sometimes life’s events get in the way, and you have no time. Worse are those days when you feel useless. We all get discouraged whether it is our parenting abilities, writing, or when we have said the wrong thing to someone. It’s easy to assume the other person is successful or a better writer than you are. Maybe that author in your writer’s group pulls it off and makes it look so easy. But God didn’t pick that other person to write what He impressed upon you—He chose you to do it. And if God chose you, then He will see it through.
- You Are Not Alone: It is okay to seek help. You can start with a trusted friend to give you encouragement or a critique group. Maybe you just need someone to throw some ideas around? Writing a book doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without involving others. At Authors Community, many are waiting to encourage you, design your book, edit, or direct you to a publisher. Like many others, I would love to come alongside you on your journey.
- Ask God How to Proceed: When you can’t think of the words, seek God. Ask God what He wants for you as a writer. Pray that God would reveal how your words will impact someone. We never know how our thoughts inspire someone. Sit down with Him, and ask what His purpose for you is as a writer. You will be encouraged.
In the Bible, Luke recorded a significant storm in chapter 8:24-25 when Jesus slept peacefully in a boat while His disciples sailed it as a sudden, severe storm approached. After being tossed about by the wind and seeing the boat filling with water, the disciples woke Jesus for fear of their lives. They believed Jesus could help them.
While the disciples did not fully understand Jesus’ power, we know who Jesus is and what He can do. Jesus is with us as He was with the disciples during the storm. Nothing has changed. Maybe your storms of doubt aren’t as catastrophic as extreme weather, but He is carrying you and me through now. Whatever your doubts may be, may you rest in the peace of knowing God has a plan for your writing.