Some days inspiration hits me out of the blue and I can’t wait to write—words flow in a current of life-giving streams. Other days, the blank screen mirrors my incapability; words are like sludge, stuck in stagnant water.
I wrestle with this passion to write. Sometimes I try to ignore its stirring and pretend it’s not God-given—that I’m being selfish to pursue it. My doubts dissipate when God gently compels my heart so the message becomes more important than my struggle.
I just sent a book proposal I’ve been working on for two years to agents. It’s uncharted territory for me. And well, uncharted territory is scary because it’s unfamiliar. There’s the double-edged sword of fear—what if I fail? What if I succeed?
The fears I fight in writing move me further into the message of my book and the reason I want to write it—to help people find freedom from unhealthy fear. To take risks in order to strengthen faith and confidence in God.
Do you ever struggle with the fear of not being able to meet the expectations of others? Or the expectations you put on yourself?
I’m taking that pressure off because I’m learning the plot in my own story is not so much about the result of writing a book. It’s about saying yes to God one step at a time. No matter where it leads. Book published or not.
I just need to follow the steps. After all, isn’t this our true calling in life—walking with the Lord to where he leads us? Growing closer to him along the way? Glorifying God in all we do?
I may not know where the steps lead, but I know God has led me up to this point.
And if doors close, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been opening them along the way.
Don’t let the fear of a closed-door stop you from walking through an open one. Click To Tweet
A friend recently asked me, “What would you do if your book never gets published? Would it still be worth it to you?”
She’s seen me cry tears of discouragement. She was there when I left a conference early because I felt defeated after a critique. I told myself writing was too hard for me. I needed too much help. When I got home I received a text from her that I won third place in a writing contest I entered! But I wasn’t there to receive my award because I was ready to give up. I lost faith.
But the good news is, when our faith is weak, God remains faithful!
God made it clear that I needed to keep going. To keep working hard.
“Once God has spoken: twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.” Psalm 62:11-12
Is the hard work of writing worth it? Would I be disappointed if the open doors along the way suddenly slammed shut? I sure would. I feel passionate about the message of my book, and I’ve always dreamed of being an author.
When I answered “Yes” to my friend’s question she fist-bumped the little round table at Barrista’s and her eyes lit up, smiling like a proud parent.
Because this is success—experiencing the joy in the process of growing closer to Jesus whether it meets our perceived hopes and dreams or not.
Working on this book has drawn me closer to the Lord and given me opportunities to take risks and strengthen my faith. I’ve gone to writing conferences, been in critique groups, and “pitched” my book to agents and editors.
I’ve learned to take criticism, filter which advice to follow, and discern the voice of God in my life. I’ve experienced the very real presence of the Holy Spirit leading me and opening doors, giving me courage and strength to walk through them. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
One day I was feeling nervous about the future and wrote this in the note section of my phone: This is the hardest work I’ve ever done. The passion for this book is called forth from deep within my soul. It’s driven by grit and determined effort I didn’t know I had in me.
It comes from a place of love and enjoyment mixed with insecurity, frailty, and terrifying uncertainty. Words have been written, moved, cut, critiqued, edited, revised, inspired, accepted, and rejected. Surrendered to God over and over again. Released only to come back and start once more.
This is weakness laid bare, flailing around to get words to flow in stillness. But then unexpected joy comes. A few agents and editors request my full proposal. The reality of responsibility weighs heavy on my heart—to care for the message well. To work whole-heartedly as for the Lord and not for the approval of man.
This is the power of the Holy Spirit leading. This is saying yes when I’m afraid. Yes to molding. Yes to learning through my imperfections and mistakes. Yes to vulnerability. Yes to rejection. Yes to growth. Yes to the possibility of failure and success and all the new layers of fear that I will expose, fight, and conquer. This is life. This is freedom. This is writing.
Living is the push and pull of words wrestling with each other to make sense of life. Click To Tweet
Powerful Bible Verses About Writing
In the middle of my push and pull, I discovered hidden treasures in the Bible about writing. They opened up a world of hope and inspiration fueling my passion to keep writing when my tank was running low.
So when you struggle to know if you’re wasting your time, remember these affirmations about writing in the Bible.
If all the great things Jesus did were written about in books, there wouldn’t be enough room to hold them!
Book lovers, did you hear that?
There wouldn’t be enough bookshelves! What an amazing description of God’s greatness!
So I say, let’s fill up the world! Let’s share about the wonderful things God has done in our lives.
When I feel like giving up, I go back to my mission statement—the reason I write.
“I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Also Your righteousness, O God is very high, You who have done great things; O God, Who is like You?” Psalm 71:16-19
A subscriber sent me this verse, and I love it! God stirs our hearts to write words that give him glory. What book idea, blog post, or article is God stirring in your heart to write?
At a recent conference, a writing friend asked if she could share a word from God for me. I said yes, of course! She told me God was showing her “a picture of a woman who walks ahead—a freedom fighter! Instead of a leather helmet, she had on a heavy metal helmet. When arrows of fear and doubt came at her, she should feel the heavy weight of the helmet on her mind, protecting her from the enemy’s lies. When fearful thoughts come like darts and arrows, she can stand firm in the truth of God’s word.”
You are a writer. You are a prophet for the Most High. You are a witness to God’s glory and strength.
You my friend, are a freedom fighter!”
“And you my child will be called a prophet fo the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him. To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven and shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79
In Luke 1:74 Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about the birth of Jesus. Because of Jesus, we can “serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
Writing is serving God. And God enables us to write without fear! Isn’t that beautiful? Let’s claim this promise
Writers bring good news. We publish words of peace and salvation!
Written words are a witness about God.
“Now, therefore, write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. Deuteronomy 31:19 ESV
Our words will be a memorial of God’s work in our lives, passed down to future generations.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Exodus 17:14
Our mission is to do the work God has called us to do. We commit and surrender our work to him.
We do our best and God will do the rest! Click To Tweet
Instead of focusing on the result, which God controls, we can focus on our obedience. One step at a time.
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ESV
We write to serve our reader. But we serve our reader because God has called us to do that. Click To Tweet
We write to give glory to God, not to receive glory from men. Click To Tweet
It’s not about recognition, awards, and reviews. It’s about giving all the glory to God.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord not for men.” Colossians 3:23 ESV
Books should never take the place of the Holy Bible. But we find affirmation about recording God’s work in our life straight from the Bible.
Paul tells us that the Bible was written to teach, give endurance, and to encourage us.
Isn’t this our reason for writing, too?
We want to share our stories in order to help people learn, inspire them to not give up, and encourage hearts that need hope.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
If you are looking to make friends with writers and find encouragement for your writing journey, Hope Writers is a great group to join.
Have you felt discouraged lately? Where do you feel God leading you next? Share in the comments and let’s pray for one another.
Are you working on a book? It took me some time to learn how to craft a chapter. I created this PDF to help writers organize chapter content.
The best way to learn how to write is to read. Find a book similar to the one you want to write and study how the chapter is organized. How often does the author share a personal story? When does the author shift gears and speak to the reader? How does the author make that transition?
I needed this today! Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂
I’m so glad this post was encouraging to you! I visited your blog, and it’s beautiful. Your word study resource for Bible study looks great!
What an encouraging post. I’ve written a book and gotten it published. I recieved 1 negative review and since then I’ve been afriad to promote it, but I know the Lord led me to write it to help other women. Thanks for the scriptures and sharing your story.
Congrats on your published book! I think a lot of writers struggle with the fear of a negative review. I know it would be hard for me too. I’m glad you followed the Lord and wrote a book to help women. I just read a post about this that said Ann Voskamp’s first three reviews on one of her books was negative. And I love her writing! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I pray the Lord will renew your confidence so you can share your book without fear. Hugs!
I needed to read this article today, Valerie. I am a year and a half in on my next book, and it seems there is still so much to do. I thank God for those He has brought alongside to help, support, and encourage me. Thank you for sharing your heart. May God continue to inspire and instruct you on your writing journey. Blessings to you and yours.
Writing a book is hard work, isn’t it? I’m so glad this post encouraged you today. I can’t wait to read your next book. Blessings to you, your family, and ministry.