Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Seven Giants All Writers Must Slay

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Sometimes they creep up on us. Sometimes they hit us with a battering ram. We may try to push them away, but until we slay our giants with the right weapons, they will ambush us in our writing journey.

You know what I’m talking about. The nagging voice of self-doubt, the bully of perfectionism. They keep us from finishing our work in progress by stealing our zeal and plugging up our creativity. Don’t let them win. You have a message that needs to be shared with the world. Don’t let the enemies of writing silence your message. If you find yourself “stuck” in a project, identify the source. If it’s a surly giant, use these tips to overcome it.

7 Giants and How to Defeat Them

1. Fear
Fear likes to whisper, “What if no one publishes your writing? What if they don’t even like it?” Silence fear with the truth, and arm yourself with the right spirit. The truth is this: If God has called you to write, He will provide an avenue for you to be published. It may not be the one you expect, but He has a plan. Let faith be your weapon against fear.

Second, arm yourself with the spirit God has given you—a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Depend on God’s power to write, let a love for Him and for people motivate you, and be sustained by a sound mind that refuses lies and adheres to the truth.

2. Self-Doubt
Nag, nag, nag. Self-doubt likes to make us question our ability to write. Every writer has to grow in the craft. Every writer needs the help of instruction books, conferences, and other writers. Defeat self-doubt by taking the steps needed to be a great writer. Read other people’s books, go to conferences, join a critique group, and depend on the ability God supplies to craft sentences and touch hearts. You aren’t alone in this adventure.

3. Procrastination
There will always be something else to do besides writing. Even though some of the best writers may be able to write “last minute,” give yourself some breathing room. Defeat procrastination by creating pockets of time in your busy schedule when you set aside everything else and focus on your work in progress. Remember who you are writing to, and turn a “I have to” mindset into “I want to.”

4. Perfectionism
This bully is relentless. Of course, we want our writing to have the highest quality possible. But if we let perfectionism sit on our desk while we write, we won’t be able to make much progress. We will either be focused on making every word perfect in the first draft, or give ourselves an ulcer from worrying about mistakes, voice, and take away. Defeat the giant of perfectionism by writing from the heart—write what you know and then go back later and tighten your writing. Let a critique group help you catch simple mistakes or glaring errors. Remember that typos happen. Focus on doing your best, and depend on God’s help to grow as an excellent writer.

5. Comparison
This may be the ugliest giant of all. Comparison causes us to evaluate our writing career based on what others have accomplished. But this giant forgets something important—we weren’t called to have someone else’s success.

Just as you are unique with your own personality, dreams, and life stories, your writing journey is unique. No one else has had quite the same experiences with God. Defeat comparison by keeping your eyes on the goal—to write for God in the way He guides you. Rejoice when others succeed, and encourage them when they hit a roadblock. Remember there’s only one you—don’t squander all that God has invested in you.

6. Writer’s Block
I think Writer’s Block probably laughs when his tricks work. Our brains go blank, and every good idea runs away from us. But we can smash his creativity-blocking barricade by taking a walk, listening to music, eating a brownie, or talking to a friend. If writer’s block is winning, give yourself a change of scenery. Pray. Visit a friend’s blog, and enjoy the most recent post. Make a list of possible things to write about, and see if one works. Then you will also defeat this giant’s companion called Frustration. Eventually Creativity will come back, and so will Joy.

7. Workaholic
On one end of the giant spectrum stands Procrastination and Writer’s Block. On the other end is Workaholic. Writing too much can drive our health, relationships, and sanity into the ground.

Defeat a workaholic syndrome by maintaining proper priorities and boundaries. Guard your time with God and loved ones, and don’t let your writing career take over your life. Ask God for guidance in knowing when to write and when to stop. The love and encouragement we give to others need to start with those closest to us. Only then will we be sound enough to reach the world.

Which giants have you battled recently? What would help you to defeat them? May God empower you to win, and don’t forget to join the conversation!

TWEETABLE

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, a ministry which seeks to connect people to God through His Word.

She has taught the Bible to women and teens, and has two published Bible studies for women, 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory and Faith, Courage, and Victory which won the 2016 Selah award for Bible studies. She is an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine and the designer of Broken but Priceless: The Magazine. She makes her home near Atlanta, Georgia.

18 comments:

  1. Excellent advice for both rebuke and encouragement, Katy. I've experienced all of those giants at one time or another, but I think that No. 5 is my most formidable foe. But I see how following your strategies against No. 1 can defeat not only the giant of fear but also the problem of comparing myself with others. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Dennis! Remembering that God has called us to write helps us to not be focused on someone else's success. Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  2. A very timely post, Katy! I struggle with all of those giants. I have found when I get writer's block (#6), sometimes just stopping and taking a quick 15-30 minute snooze helps. When I get up, I have fresh ideas. Thanks for spurring us on and giving us helpful tips for fighting these giants we all deal with!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found it helpful, Crickett! If I could fall asleep for a quick nap, I think I would try that strategy. It does seem like the morning time gives the best inspiration. I suppose our brains are fresh and not crowded with the day's challenges and details!

      Delete
  3. Thank you, Katy. I struggle with a few of these. You helped me put them into perspective. "Focus on doing your best, and depend on God’s help to grow as an excellent writer."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to hear that. Keep writing! People need to hear what God is showing you, and I enjoy your writing. Thank you for your comment, Cherrilynn.

      Delete
  4. This was so encouraging. Thanks you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad! Thank you, Robyn. May God bless your writing.

      Delete
  5. Yes, yes, and yes x 7 giants = me. Thanks for this today, Katy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hang in there, Karen! If God has laid a message on your heart, He will help you to defeat those giants. I prayed that you would win!

      Delete
  6. I am so hindered by 1-5 that I've never experience 6 & 7. As a fairly new writer I know these things but still struggle to overcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My advice would be to keep at it! To remember why you're writing and to whom. Everyone has to face these and decide that something else is more important--reaching people with the truth. So write a little every day. Remember God's grace and goodness. I've heard so many stories of bestselling authors having multiple bumps in the road, but they persevered. And, are you in a writers group? Then you would hear other writers' stories that they are going through similar things. May God bless you and your writing!

      Delete
  7. We all struggle with those giants at some point. Thank you Katy for the advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we do! I appreciate your comment, Ingmar!

      Delete
  8. YES! Seven times over! Thank you for advising us on ways to overcome these formidable giants that want to stomp our dreams to bits. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God bless you, too, as you tackle them and keep writing, Rene!

      Delete