Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Thank You for bestowing upon me the gift and desire to pen words that will impact the lives of others. Give me the courage to step outside of the negative thoughts that come to hinder me and rob me of allowing your voice to speak through me. Help me to connect to Your strength so that I may overcome every mental hurdle that causes fear, insecurity, and inferiority to back me into a corner, afraid to share my gift with those around me. Teach me to be confident in who I am through You and what You have placed within me, so that I don’t compare myself to other writers. Help me to embrace my own uniqueness, and be true to my own voice and writing style as it pertains to the purpose You have in place for me, and remind me that I am not in competition with other writers.
In those times when I face rejection, as I’m sure I will, help me to understand that it is not man’s acceptance of my gift that matters, but Yours. When I feel like I lack knowledge, teach me to not only gain wisdom from You, oh God, but to educate myself through the resources available to me. Above all else, as I journey out as Your scribe, lead me along my writing according to Your will. Make me Your ready writer.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Excerpted from "3 Mental Hurdles to Bulldoze from Your Mind", LRC Editing's inspirational resource for aspiring writers.*
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
As someone who has been writing for a few years, I still have those days. However, I know that if I don't stay motivated to write, my work would never get done. And if I want to continue to build my business and career as a professional writer, then I have to push myself even when I don't necessarily feel enthused about doing so.
Here are a few tips that help keep me motivated to write:
- Commit to your craft. Everyday, commit at least 30 minutes - or more - to writing. Whether you feel like doing it or not, do it anyway. Anything that you're not committed to is less likely to become a priority in your life. If you don't make writing a priority, it will be pushed further and further down on your list of things to commit real time to. Before you know it, you'll fail to make time to focus on your craft altogether. So, to ensure that you stay on top of maximizing your potential as a writer, make it an important part of your daily routine. Whether you're an article writer, or you're working on a book, commit to write everyday...rain or shine.
- Set goals. Writing goals are important, and correlates with the previous tip. Setting goals helps you to be accountable. If you're a blogger, set a goal of how many posts you'll make on a weekly basis. If you write articles, decide the amount of articles you'll submit within the month, and give yourself a deadline. Or if you're writing a book, give yourself a specific word-count or decide how many chapters you'll write during the course of the day. Set these goals and stick to them. As a writer, especially freelance, no one is standing over you to ensure that you get your work done. You're your own boss, so you are responsible for holding yourself accountable. It can be challenging at times, but work towards disciplining yourself until becomes routine. It helps a lot.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Whatever your reason for writing, there's an end result you seek; it may be a book, or having your work published in major magazines. If you keep the result you desire at the forefront of your mind, it can help you to remain motivated in your quest. Failing to be consistent in your writing, makes it harder reach your desired result.
- Reward yourself. After you've remained diligent to committing time to write and sticking to your daily/weekly/monthly goals, reward yourself. It's important that you acknowledge your achievements, because it helps in keeping you motivated. If there's a sweet treat, cute pair of shoes, or some other luxury you've been dreaming about, make it the incentive for getting your work done in a timely manner. I love treats, so this tip is almost always the perfect persuasion for me to stay focused. Always celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how great or small.
A lack of motivation, if left unattended, can prove to be detrimental to your career as a writer. Although I believe every writer experiences times when the creativity seems to disappear, I think following these few simple tips will help you keep your writing at a constant. And the more you write, the better you'll become.
Monday, February 18, 2013
I recently met a writing goal that I've been working towards for about 3 weeks. I'm so excited that I finally got it done! But that excitement didn't come easily. When I first knew that I needed to complete this particular project, I thought it would be simple and quickly accomplished. I was dead wrong.
I agonized over it for weeks. Many days, I stared at an empty Word document while searching every corner of my brain for the right words to write. Nothing. Crickets. Empty thoughts.
I became so discouraged, and disappointed in myself for not being able to expediently or efficiently conquer this simple task in the time-frame I originally predicted. "I know I'm a good writer. I don't understand why something this simple is so challenging for me" I thought to myself as I clinched my teeth and fists, and looked towards the heavens.
Understanding that giving up was not an option and I had to get the project done, I knew that pushing through my mental roadblocks was a must. I also had to realize that although I may be good at what I do, that does not guarantee that every writing task I take on or deem simple is going to come easy for me.
The same applies to you as a new writer.
Each time you sit down to write will not be an easy, breezy task. You will face challenges. But that's no reason to question your ability as a writer, or become so frustrated that you give up.
As a Christian, prayer is always my saving grace whenever I find myself facing challenges. As a Christian writer, it's no different. Asking for God's help when writing becomes a challenge is a given for me, but there are also practical things that I turn to whenever I find myself stuck.
- Research the topic. Google is often my best friend. With one click, there is loads of information on whatever topic I need. It's okay to look at other examples of what you're trying to do. It doesn't mean that you plagiarize anyone else's work, but seeing other samples can serve as a bit of inspiration, and give you a clearer picture of how to complete your task at hand. Use the internet to your advantage.
- Ask for help. Asking for help doesn't always come easy for me; however, I'm learning that, if you just ask, others are willing to help you. If you have other writer-friends, especially those with years of experience, ask them to help you. Pick their brain for tips and ideas to help you stretch your mind. Soliciting help does not discredit you as a writer, neither does it diminish the greatness of your gift; it actually makes you better.
- Keep writing. Whatever you do, don't stop writing. Even if your thoughts don't seem to come together, keep writing. It's okay to take a break; I recommend it. Taking a break gives your mind time to relax and refresh. But after a short recess, get back to brainstorming and writing down your thoughts. Eventually it will all come together.
Writing is a journey, and it's filled with ups and down. Today you may feel creative enough to pen book after book after book, and tomorrow you may feel like just writing your name is a challenge. But that's okay. It's good to be challenged, because it pushes you beyond your current level of comfort. So the next time you find yourself challenged by a writing piece, don't fret...just pray, research the topic, ask for help, and keep writing.
Friday, February 15, 2013
10 Questions Every Writer Should Ask Themselves
I have comprised a list of questions I believe every writer should ask themselves before launching out into the writing industry. Being truthful about your answers to these particular questions will make you more aware of your strengths and challenges, and help you zone in, and work towards improving in those areas where you aren't fully confident.
I have answered these questions on several occasions, and my honest answers always reveal my true passion towards my writing career. Hopefully, they will do the same for you.
1. Why do I write?
2. Who do I write for?
3. Do I take myself seriously as a writer?
4. What are my short and long term goals as a writer?
5. Because a writing career requires discipline, am I self-disciplined enough to set and reach goals on my own? If not, what am I willing to do to become more disciplined?
6. Am I passionate enough about being a writer to motivate myself during rough patches?
7. Can I handle rejection?
8. What am I willing to do, and/or sacrifice, to grow and develop as a writer?
9. Am I committed to being a writer for the long haul, or am I just exploring a hobby?
10. Do I have a writing mentor/coach?
Let's chat! Do these questions make you take a serious look at your desire to become a writer?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Fear was the #1 factor holding me back from stepping out into the world of writing. Although deep inside I knew the gift and the desire was within me, I was so afraid of failing and not being accepted, that I didn’t write anything for a long time. I was aware that the Lord had given me messages of hope to share with others, but fear told me that no one would want to read anything I had to say. And for years I believed just that. But I really had to grasp the words of 1 Timothy 1:7, which say “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power…” Every time fear came knocking on the doors of my mind, I had to remind myself of its truth, and sometimes, I simply had to do it afraid. I made up in my mind that although I hoped my work would be received by others, I’d write whatever the Lord placed on my heart, and leave it at that.
See, you have to learn to be okay with the validation the Lord gives. At the end of the day, His is only one that truly matters. Yes, we all want to be accepted, but even in rejection, if you’re doing what you’ve been called to do, there’s no way you can fail. Fear is not real – or maybe it is – but it doesn’t have to control you and stop you from reaching your destiny as a writer. Give fear the boot, and trust that you’ve been empowered with all you need to be one of the Lord’s successful scribes.
Do it afraid!
Writer’s Affirmation: The spirit of fear no longer has rule over me, and I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to operate in the gifts the Lord has given me. I am free to write, and from this day forward I will do so to the glory of the Lord.
*Excerpt from "3 Mental Hurdles to Bulldoze from Your Mind", LRC Editing's FREE resource for aspiring writers.