By Lynette Sowell
Last week I talked about four dragons that we writers can face on our writing journeys: time, jealousy, procrastination, and a nameless one that I’ll elaborate on a little more.
I’ve had twelve years of perspective on this through ACFW, and I’ve realized that these dragons do not go away the longer you write. I hate to tell you this, especially if you’re trying to prepare for your first conference, or submit that first proposal to an agent or editor, or if you’ve just finished your first book. I would love to tell you it gets easier. Maybe in some ways, it does when you know what to expect.
There’s never enough time to write. But writers write. You must want it badly enough to chisel minutes from your day, even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom with your laptop. Do it. Tell yourself, “I can do this. I’m going to write 500 words today.” Or 1,000 words. Others have done it. You can, too. One caveat: Be patient with yourself if you have small children. Your little ones are worth far, far more than a book on the shelf.
Jealousy lurks in the bookstore and pops up over the shoulder while reading an e-mail from a friend who won a contest or sold her first book. Comparison fools us into thinking that somehow God has made a mistake in the order of things. I’ve pledged to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.” Someone else’s triumph isn’t about me.
The pink cuddly dragon of procrastination almost feels like a pet. But by procrastinating, we can miss out on opportunities that God sends our way, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is a dragon I sometimes battle daily. The truth is, writing is hard, hard work. Get out a calendar and divide your work into manageable daily word count chunks. I think that procrastinating comes from feeling overwhelmed, that it can’t be done, it’s too much.
The dragon we encounter in the forest of rejection is probably the worst of all because its motivation comes straight from hell. It attacks us when we’re down and shreds our souls. It wants to kill our dreams, steal our joy, and destroy our hope. I tell you that if you are a writer, you are a writer. Don’t let any dragon tell you differently. Will you be published? I don’t know. Aslan said, “No one is ever told any story but their own.” Don’t believe the lie that your personal worth comes from your writing. You are God’s child, created to glorify Him. So shine. Shine with your writing and strive to do better. But don’t let rejections release that dragon. He has been defeated.
Lastly, I suggest you find a friend during this journey. A fellow writer will understand and help battle these dragons with you. We have much strength in numbers here at ACFW, so don’t isolate yourself. See you at conference!
Lynette Sowell is the author of over a dozen titles for Barbour Publishing, with one title winning the Carol Award and two others finaling. When Lynette’s not writing, she works as a medical editor and part-time newspaper reporter. Lynette lives on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well trained. You can keep up with Lynette at www.facebook.com/lynettesowellauthor.