Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fear of Beginning

It took years, but I finally accepted the call on my life to be a writer. However, what I continued to have trouble with, was how to overcome the anxiety of beginning a new piece. From the first nudge of a story idea I would usually have to fight an almost paralyzing fear of revealing my innermost thoughts on paper. And knowing, too, that those words would be permanent, only added to my apprehension.

In an effort to stall the beginning of a story, I have been known to paint something that didn’t really need painted, wash my car and clean it out, or cook a meal for others. While there is nothing wrong with those projects, there is something wrong with not dedicating time to fulfilling a calling.

Lord, how can I overcome this?

I keep a hard copy of every article and book that I’ve been published in. It used to be that I would scan my accomplishments to boost my insecurity, but even that little trick was not working. Instead of feeling encouraged when I would read my past successes, I felt pressured to produce at the same level. And I felt pressured from a financial standpoint, too, as we had two kids in college.

As the days passed I became more frustrated. One day, in an effort to avoid writing, I decided to clean up my computer files. I skimmed over old files and weeded out those I no longer needed. But when I came upon the writing file titled, “Appreciation”, I gasped. I had forgotten all about it.

Immediately after my first book came out I had received dozens of emails from friends, family, and even total strangers, thanking me and expressing their appreciation of my work. I had completely forgotten that I had merged those emails into one file. As I read through the notes of heartfelt acknowledgments of how my book had encouraged, blessed, and even changed their lives, something wonderful began to happen. A surge of warmth spread through my body as I realized…this is it. This is why I write. It’s not about me and it’s not about the income; rather, it’s all about helping others and pointing them to the Lord.

My focus had been all wrong. I had been concerned about “measuring up” to my past successes, and about the permanence of the words that I was choosing. I completely forgot about the reader— the one who was hurting from the disappointments and mishaps of life; those readers who may have lost a child or a spouse, or who had recently been diagnosed with a deadly disease.

That one little file reminded me that I had been given a gift to help the hurting by pointing them to the Lord, that Higher Power who can comfort them, anytime and anywhere.

Thank you, God, for reminding me that it’s about You, not me.

Not only did my writer’s block of beginnings disappear, but my writing productivity increased, all due to adding one new habit; the most important habit of all. Each morning I ask, “How can I help others through my writing? Show me, Father, how to begin.”

As I roll up my sleeves to begin a new piece, I am thrilled to say that finally, my fear of beginning…has ended.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Writing for Him,

No comments:

Content Copyright Connie Cameron; All rights reserved
Site by Eagle Designs