By Kelly Bridgewater
Last month, on February 21-23, I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina with my husband. What a long eight and a half hour drive. After watching the temperature descend from 68 in the mountains with the sun shining and the birds chirping to 28 degrees in Lexington, Kentucky with white-out conditions in a matter of hours, I never thought I would be so excited to see Indiana again. This conference was jammed packed with a variety of different classes by Lynette Eason, Ann Tatlock, Yvonne Lehman, Mike Dellosso, Edie Melson, Steven James, etc. I learned a lot about writing and had a productive weekend.
After reading through a number of his hilarious rejection letters, Steven James started his discussion:
11.) Failure is in the eye of the beholder.
Tons of people asked John the Baptist, Who are you, but he never gave them a name.
According to Jesus, John the Baptist is the greatest man to ever live (Luke 7:28). John the Baptist replies, “I must become smaller so God becomes greater.” (John 3:30). What are you doing today to honor God? Are you pursuing him? Why are you always following after what others have accomplished? Why are you never (enter your name here)?
22.) There will always be a reason to start tomorrow.
We all are familiar with the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). But read it again. Steven James made us ponder about what we are doing with the talents or ideas for stories that God has given us. Does God give us five stories ideas and we multiply those ideas into ten best sellers? Are we blessed with two story ideas and write four great novels? Or are we the one with only one story idea and we ignore the urging from God? We allow excuses to stop us from pursuing the idea. If we’re not faithful with little, God takes it away.
33.) As long as you’re a perfectionist, you won’t reach your full potential.
Jesus was perfect. Was he a perfectionist? No, of course not. Don’t worry about making your writing perfect. Make it exceptional. The story will come. Pray. Write the story. Revise the plot. Edit the grammar. But do not spend forever focused on the little things and allowing the words God has given you to stay in a file cabinet. God placed the story on your heart to be read by at least one person, which could change their life.
Are you a perfectionist? Ask yourself these questions:
a.) Perfectionist act from a place of fear. Exceptionalist act from a place of confidence. What are you afraid of? Your novel being rejected.
b.) Underlining principles-Perfectionist play it safe. Trying to avoid failure. Exceptionalist take risks. Why aren’t I risking more? To write, you must risk.
c.) Perfectionist says, “I have to do it right.” Exceptionalist say, “I can do it well.” Ecc. 11: 3, 6. What’s holding me back?”
d.) Perfectionist easily lose perspectives. Exceptionalist change perspective with changing situations. In five years, I want to be in the will of God. Where does God want me to serve him right now?
e.) Perfectionist can’t stand making mistakes. Exceptionalist can’t stand offering less than their best. What do I have to do?
f.) Perfectionist base their self-worth on their performance. Exceptionalist don’t depend on applause, but they build their confidence in Christ. “Being Christ, old things have passed away, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Where do I get my self-worth? Your self-worth should be from God. You are worth dying for!
I’m all in or not at all! Don’t wait to play it safe! You don’t want to hand God back an empty notebook someday. Get your writing out there. God does not want you to waste the stories and words he planted on your heart. If the desire comes from God, it will happen.
Kelly Bridgewater holds a B.S. in English and a M.A. in Writing from Indiana State University on the completion of a creative thesis titled Fleeting Impressions, which consisted of six original short stories. She has been published in the Indiana State University Literary Journal, Allusions, with her stories titled “Moving On” and “Life Changing Second.” In fall 2011, she presented her essay, Northanger Abbey: Structurally a Gothic Novel, at the Midwestern American Society of 18th Century Studies Conference. Kelly’s writing explores the ideas of good prevailing over evil in suspense. Kelly and her husband reside with their three boys and two dogs.