Friday, January 27, 2017

When Your Writing Feels Small...

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

I had the privilege last week to teach at the Lexington Word Weavers 2nd Anniversary Christian Writers Workshop. One of my favorite parts of the one-day conference was the time I spent with beginning writers.

“Sometimes when I take a walk, God reveals himself to me through my surroundings,” one woman told me. “I’ve started writing these thoughts down. Do you think they’d make good blog posts?”

“I’ve been concerned for a long time about how electronics enable us to be connected, yet we seem to be more disconnected than ever,” another writer said. “Would this be a good topic for a Christian living article?”

A third said, “I love sharing what God is teaching me through his Word. I think I want to start a blog.”

Talking with these new writers reminded me of the early days of my own writing career, when I first felt God calling me to write for him. The realization was both exhilarating and frightening. The tug was unmistakable. To think—God wanted to use me to share his truth through writing. It was very humbling.

I also talked at the conference with writers who were several years down the road from their initial call to write. They’d started a blog, had a few articles published, and attended a writers conference or two. They’ve enjoyed modest success, but they’re not where they’d hoped to be by now.

Instead of feeling exhilarated, frightened, and humbled, they’re feeling small and insignificant. Like one tiny voice in a vast cacophony of words. They wonder if what they write matters at all. Like maybe they should quit and leave the writing to the big dogs.

If you’re one of these writers, if you’re feeling small today, Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) has a word for you:

“Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin.”

Geoff Colvin’s research for Talent is Overrated refers to the ten-year rule which states that talented performers don’t become great “without at least ten years of very hard preparation . . .” He then says, “authors produce their greatest work only after twenty or more years of devoted effort. . . .”

I’ve heard it said, “Life isn’t a destination; it’s a journey.” The same is true about writing. If you’re struggling today, if you doubt your call to write and are feeling small, I’d like to speak to your heart.

Your calling hasn’t changed. Your writing does matter. Thousands may not be reading your words, but one or two are. And one or two still matter to God, the Good Shepherd, who left the 99 to seek after the one. His definition of success has little to do with the number of page views, subscribers, and shares you accumulate. It has everything to do with whether you’ve been faithful with the gifts and abilities he’s given you.

May the promise of Galatians 6:9 inspire and encourage you on days when you feel small:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Write on, dear friend, write on.

TWEETABLE
Remember this when your #writing feels small - @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

40 comments:

  1. We've all, whether beginner or pro, been there, Lori, and your words are a great encouragement. Our job is to hear and answer the call, do our best, and then let God handle the results--whether big or "small" (in our finite estimation). Two adages came to mind as I read your post: "From the little acorn grows the mighty oak" and "Little strokes fell great oaks." Both can be seen as positive if we know that God is in control of the growth and the results. Thanks for the encouraging words.

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    1. You're so right, Dennis. We never arrive, either in our writing or in life. For the most part, we're sowing seeds, not harvesting fruit. As Paul said, "Some sow, some water, but God gives the increase." May we be faithful to sow, trusting God with the final harvest. Thanks for sharing your timely thoughts today.

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  2. Lori, Thank you for the reminder. Your post encouraged me. I have not had any comments on my blog. My writing helps me to process my feelings and heal. If I write for my healing alone, I've reached one.

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    1. The interesting thing about comments, Cherrilynn, is that they aren't an accurate measure of whether something has hit home. More than once I've talked with people months after I posted something, and they'll refer to that post. This shows me that not only did they read it, but they remembered it AND have been thinking on it. Yet at the time of posting, not a peep. "We walk (write) by faith, not by sight." Blessings to you, friend.

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    2. Cherrilynn, my blog has had only a couple of comments. Yet, I have been told that people have tried recipes and want more. They have also commented on pictures and articles. I tried to see the positive that there have been many attempts to hack my site from many countries. I often ask myself how they find my site. I will just keep writing what is placed on my heart. Lori's responsive is encouraging to me.

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    1. Blessings to you, Cindy, as you continue to discover God's plan for your writing.

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  4. I was recently told, "You're where I was at 10 years ago." As much as I would like results before that, this gives me proper perspective. If I expect too much too soon, I'll be too discouraged to carry on.

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    1. We really are in it for the long haul, Jennifer, and that's what separates the wanna-be's from the gonna-be's. I'm really glad, though, that God gives us encouragement along the journey to affirm that we're on the right path. Those little glimmers give us hope and encourage us to press on. Can't wait to see what the Lord is doing with your writing ten years from now, sister :)

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  5. Thanks, Lori. Needed this word today. I'm remaining faithful to the calling, knowing my Divine Gatekeeper will, in due season, open wide the way to fulfillment.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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    1. Amen, Kathy. And you know what? That open door is going to surprise you. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love him." Whoooooweeeeee!

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  6. Wow, Lori! I needed this message today. Last night as I was writing my blog post, I was discouraged, asking God if it even made a difference. I was ready to quit writing. Your encouragement this morning was just what I needed. Thank you for allowing God to use you!

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    1. Crickett,
      Isn't that just like God? Like Elijah, struggling with discouragement at the brook, ready to give up, and God sends food, water, and hope. If there's any doubt that God wants you to continue, we'll consider this a message of divine affirmation. I didn't have you in mind when I penned it, but God certainly did when he sent it to you. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness to us both. Write on, Crickett!

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  7. Much, much needed after a couple of minor (but big to me) disappointments yesterday and today. Thank you for Zech. 4:10. Blessings!

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    1. Karen,
      I understand those minor-but-big disappointments. I think they're tests to give us the opportunity to press on in faith or to quit. If we continue to do what God has called us to do, by faith, it opens the channel for God to bless our efforts. I often think of Jacob, who wrestled with the angel of God til morning, saying, "I will not let you go until you bless me!" This is how I picture myself during dry times like you've described.

      Hang on, the blessing's coming!

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  8. As always, Lori, wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement. :)

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    1. Thanks, friend! Blessings to you.

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  9. Definitely encouraging! Thanks Lori!

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    1. So glad, Kelly. May God bless your writing journey for his glory.

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  10. Exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

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    1. From the Lord, friend. He sees every keystroke you make in his name. Press on!

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  11. Thanks for your inspiration it has inspired me to keep writing.

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    1. I'm so glad, Therese. Even the smallest deed, done in Jesus' name, is never wasted. May God bless your writing for his glory.

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  12. Thank you.

    Once an editor told me, "It's not about how talented you are. It's about how hard you're willing to work."

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    1. Julie,
      I agree. I've been traveling the writing path long enough to know that "success" is determined by the choices I make every day. Perseverance is the single greatest quality we can bring to any given endeavor. As we persevere, we gain wisdom, skill, knowledge, connections, and opportunities. If we quit . . .

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  13. Lori, thank you for this encouragement. The words of Zechariah will go next to the writers covenant from.ladt years Asheville Christian Writers Conference. In my heart, I want to glorify the Lord with what I write. Sometimes we forget that He measures differently than the world. Will I see you in Asheville next month?

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    1. Amen, Julie. More than a New York Times bestseller, I want my WD Award. May we all hear, "Well Done, thou good and faithful servant."

      Unfortunately, I won't be at ACWC this year, but I am teaching at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference in March. I'd love to connect if you'll be there! God bless.

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  14. Thank you! Both a comforting message and a good reminder.

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    1. You're most welcome, Debby. May God be glorified in and through your writing.

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  15. Well said, Lori, as I write the article you're waiting for. :) What a privilege to give words as a gift to others. Pour out our hearts and lives on a page, on a screen--bread on the waters to hopefully bless others with the abundance of the Lord Jesus giving through us.

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    1. Amen and amen, Lael. May God pour out his Spirit in and through our writing as we dedicate it to him.

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  16. Thank you. I am sharing this. How inspiring and encouraging. Only the Lord knows why he calls to us.

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Ingmar. You're right. It is a mystery why God calls some of us to write for him, but I'm very glad he does. Blessings to you, friend!

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    1. You're most welcome, Gail. Blessings on your writing journey.

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  18. I've been focusing on my body's repair for several months and haven't been able to write, but the desire is still there yearning to express God's heart in my voice. With treatments finished I will be able to change my focus and let the words fly. Thanks for reminding me of my call and that it is still valid.

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  19. Today was a good day to read this! Much needed. <3 Thanks, Lori.

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  20. I don't know how I missed this. It speaks to my heart, I am going to copy the scripture verses out and put them where I can see them when I am at my computer. Susan Reinhardt brought me here with her Friday round-up of articles.

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