Posted by monicamynk
Post nine in the discussion from Richard Bausch’s “Letter to a Young Writer.”
I’ve spent so many posts on this one essay–I hope it’s clear what an inspiration it has been to me throughout my journey. I’ve probably read it a thousand times, and still gain something new from it every time.
For this thought, before turning to the essay, I’d like to attack this point from the Christian angle. After all, I’m supposed to be a writer of Christian fiction, and all Christian authors are perfect, right? Ha. I wish. (Look at all the grammatical errors in my last post if you’re doubting. I’ve got to quit posting at 5 am).
No, on the contrary, I sometimes wonder if I’m not drawn to be a writer because of my imperfections–I can maybe write those things away in a way that I can’t attempt in a real-life setting.
And while we’re on the topic of those imperfections, the sin of comparisonitis is probably the one I’m most guilty of.
I try really hard to follow Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Yeah, that’s doable. But it’s the self-doubt that becomes a problem. Straight from the Devil, those nagging thoughts that tell us we can’t do the work God has put us on this Earth to do. My writing can be a ministry, and I sometimes back away from it because I’m scared.
Scared of what? Scared that people won’t like it. Scared that I’ll inadvertently say something that one of my brothers or sisters in Christ might find offensive. Scared that people will point their fingers at me and say I’m not a good enough Christian role model to be a public voice. Scared that I might actually sell a few books and the fame would go to my head or destroy my family (Okay, that’s a stretch, but these are the thoughts that sometimes keep me up at night).
Don’t compare yourself to anyone and learn to keep from building expectations.
He cautions against envy and suggests that a writer’s only worry should be whether or not they’ve worked that particular day.
It’s easy to be discouraged and think, “I’ll never be as good as ___________.”
It’s also easy to get a good review and think, “I rock. I’m going to be the next _____. I should call my agent tomorrow…oh, wait. I don’t have one.”
Bausch ends this point with the following:
…the artist who expects great rewards and complete understanding is a fool.
At the end of the day, you should be writing because you enjoy it. Period. And maybe someday, if you approach it with the dedication that one devotes to something they love, you might just find your writing exactly where God wants it to be.