By Andrea MerrellThey say we’re our own worst enemy. Our biggest critic. The first (and the worst) to find fault with ourselves. If we’re not careful, we can develop the mindset that nothing we do is ever good enough.
This is especially true for writers. Sometimes we critique our
own work until it gets shoved in a drawer or hidden on our computer, never to
be seen again.
One of the biggest culprits to our feelings of inadequacy is comparison. We are unique individuals with a unique voice and style. We should never compare our writing journey to that of anyone else. Envy can creep in when we see someone else’s success. But we don’t know how long and hard they’ve worked to get where they are. Besides, God has a special, personalized, one-of-a-kind plan and purpose for each of us.
When I wrote my first few pages of fiction (believing it was not in my bailiwick), I showed it to a friend and asked her to be painfully honest with me, which I knew she would. I fully expected her to tell me to keep my day job. When she liked what she saw and asked for more, I was shocked. To me it was anything but good.
Over the years, I have written hundreds of devotions and blog posts. Sometimes when I think one is not up to par, it will be the one that resonates with a reader.
I’ve had other writers send me pages, asking me to look over them and let them know if I thought they were “stupid.” They never were. In fact, sometimes I thought they were the best that particular person had ever written.
Think about great sermons you’ve heard, but what you got out of them was completely different than someone else. That’s the way God works. He knows how to reach someone’s heart and meet their need with exactly the right words at exactly the right time. You might write something today that won’t be read for years down the road. But those words might be the very ones the person reading them needs to hear at that moment. In God’s kingdom, nothing ever goes to waste.
My point here is not to be so critical of your own work and judge yourself so harshly. After you let your words pour out of your heart, give them a chance. Do your editing, rewriting, and proofing, then give them to someone else. This is why writing buddies, critique groups, and beta readers are so important. They can give us valuable feedback that will only improve our projects.
Maybe you’ve had a harsh critique. Maybe you’ve been trying to find an agent or publisher for years with no success. Perhaps you’ve read your manuscript so many times it all runs together in your head. Or maybe you just don’t have the confidence to step out and try.
If that’s you, remember what I said about God having a plan and purpose for your writing. His timing is perfect, and He can open doors that no one else can. When He puts words in your heart, they are meant to be shared—maybe with the multitudes or maybe just the person next door.
Study to show yourself approved, as the Word says (2 Timothy 2:15), then step out in faith and use the gifts and talents He has so generously given you. And remember …
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, chaiwat, and tawatchai.)