Saturday, January 9, 2010

Caution! Discouragement (Maybe) Ahead...

Let’s face it: discouragement besets all creative souls from time to time. Inspiration can be an illusive “gift” by itself, a pretty flimsy foundation in the face of ordinary everyday reality—much less the “character-building” events that hit all of us in this writing life. That’s why we appreciate the importance of being around other writers. Of lifting each other up. Of being as gentle as possible with any criticisms or negatives. (Well, okay, for some of us that’s—er—a little more challenging. I’m working on it. Honest. :-))

Seriously speaking, we all know that many of the “letdowns” of life itself—never mind writing!—come from factors we really can’t control. But if we do our best, let God take care of the rest, and praise Him for all of it, we’ll help counteract those bumps in the road and bless those around us. Right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Sometimes, the way some of us choose to praise God in our writing lives can come across as careless…or thoughtless…and can even be devastating to another writer. If you doubt this, let’s listen in as Ms. Martha Multipub shares her latest success:

“I’m soooooo thrilled with God’s blessings on my writing! Why He chooses to honor me with these great stories—and He just gives them to me, they’re not from me at all!—I don’t know, but praise Gawd! And people are being blessed—why, just yesterday, I got this wonderful, wonderful letter from a fan about how 137 of her friends got saved because of my little book . . . !”

Some of us just smile at this: we know Martha, and we know she tends to go a wee bit (!) overboard in her exuberance. But what about newbies among us who don’t know Martha—or even not-so-newbies with a few setbacks—and who find themselves wondering if being a truly Godly writer means your stories will automatically “write themselves,” sell themselves, and bless people?

Can you see where this is headed? Yep. And it’s not pretty.

We as Christian writers tend to be very conscientious about our behaviors, language, and subject matter, lest we cause a brother or sister to stumble. But I would submit that we need to do the same due diligence on our words of praise—our “jargon,” if you will—so that we don’t inadvertently throw a “block” in front of someone by making a successful writing life look too easy, too perfect, or too pat. We don’t need to be cheerleaders in front of the pack, flaunting dazzling smiles or perfect cartwheels; nor do we need to err in the other extreme and denigrate our own efforts toward our success. But there is a happy medium; it’s called humility, honesty…and truthful encouragement.

That, we can all do—no matter how dizzyingly successful, or even maddeningly average (!), our writing lives are at this point.




  1. I remember attending my first writer's conference and being astounded by how genuinely eager the pubbed and unpubbed Christian authors were to help me. I've found that true of almost every author I've met since then. It's become my model on how to BE a true blessing rather than just talking the talk.

  2. Humility, honor, and truthful encouragement. I loved that about your post. Keep writing.

  3. I'll always be one who testifies how hard it is to write. It has not been an easy journey for me. But I truly believe that I can do all things through Christ's strength.