Saturday, September 16, 2017

How Self-Talk Affects Our Writing

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

"Writers have a mission to change the world, one word at a time." ~Emme Gannon
Have you ever written a scene of great consequence and, suddenly, your mind takes you to an event in your distant past? A sense of place takes over. You write with fervor because you feel what your character feels. You know what she knows. You want what she wants. Except your story had never been resolved. So you try to write the story the way it should have been. While you mourn.

My Own Experience
Early in my writing, I had this experience. However, I’d just completed training to prepare me to facilitate inner healing, so I knew better than to try to escape the pain of that writing moment. God had something He wanted to do. He desired transformation, not mere accommodation.

During some heavy prayer, I laid out my feelings to the Lord. Everything. The fears. The sadness. The disappointments. God showed me that the low self-esteem that had plagued me since I could remember had been birthed when my parents divorced. That trauma had edged out God’s image of me for the lie, “I’m not good enough”—a lie that had been the filter through which I’d interpreted all of the interactions of my life.  

During that prayer time, God spoke to my spirit in a sweet, gentle voice. He said I was His beloved. That, even though my father had deserted our family, I was not fatherless. I had and still have a Heavenly Father who loves me. Provides for me. Protects me. I saw my earthly father as a young war-torn man stymied by life, thus incapable of giving what he had been unable to receive. My anger evaporated as sadness and forgiveness filled my soul for this man who was my father.

This change of heart also allowed me to travel to Maryland to visit with my father. Many years had passed since we’d been together. We wept together and I was able to pray with him. Two days later he suddenly went to heaven, where he received the peace he was unable to have on earth. Soon after, I sold my first magazine article titled, The Art of Forgiveness. Could I have written this article without the Lord first renewing my image of myself? Probably so, but it would have been written by someone captured by the belief that she was not worthy and, unknowingly trapped in the web of not being able to forgive. The heart and passion of the piece would be missing.

Writing is About More than Learning the Rules
As writers, we learn the rules. Our inner dialogue, however, overrules our head knowledge. Our emotional belief system usually wins. Lies we believe about ourselves and God trump head knowledge. I can often appropriate truth to someone else, but if I believe the lie that I am not good enough or don’t have what it takes to make it, even though my preparation has met opportunity and my call is clear, I will live by what I believe to be true. We cannot make truth subject to our own understanding.

This is not to say, those with unhealed places cannot produce good writing. We all know of writers who live with their demons while penning works that contain brilliant prose. But, as Christians, we want everything we submit to be our best. We want our words to flow from a clear, peaceful mind—a mind open to receiving guidance and direction from God. Images of ourselves apart from God’s can sabotage our writing.

Lest you look at your beliefs and think all is lost, I offer hope. I contend that the difference between a good writer and a great writer is replacing what you believe about yourself with God’s perspective and truth. He is the author of all truth and wills that we renew our minds to His Word. He desires to bring light to darkness. The Hebrew word for light means “to bring order to something chaotic.” The word expresses a connection between the natural and the supernatural—a connection of God to man through the Holy Spirit. Who wouldn’t desire our confused image of ourselves to be replaced by Jesus’ image of us. The result is peace and the freedom to be.

Bottom Line
Inner healing is not a one-time quick fix. We live in a world that doesn’t value truth. The traumas of life beat at the image God portrays in His Word. Allowing God access to our self-talk is a lifelong process. Each lie revealed and replaced by God’s truth makes us more like Jesus and our thoughts and words more in keeping with His. It starts with our surrender. His life in us, given back through our writing to a hurting world. We are not just writers but children of the One True God. We have a mission to change the world, one word at a time.


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Powerful stuff. And I agree. That is very much the same course my writing takes. And very much the way my novels unfold.

    1. Bless you, Brad, as you use your words to touch and change a hurting world..

  2. Emme,there are so many nuggets in this post but one that resonates most: God desires transformation not mere accommodation. I'm bookmarking this for future reference, my friend. Thank you for your transparency.

    1. Thank you, dear Cathy. Our individual stories help create who we are - but letting God transform them into His image makes us living letters from Jesus to the world. Bless you as you project His image in you to the world.

  3. Wonderful post, Emme. Thanks for sharing your heart. :)

  4. "The difference between a good writer and a great writer is replacing what you believe about yourself with God’s perspective and truth. He is the author of all truth and wills that we renew our minds to His Word. He desires to bring light to darkness." What a powerful truth, Emme. Thanks for putting this out there for us to think on and apply to our lives.

    1. Thank you all for your encouraging comments. Blessings as you too bring the words He's placed in you to to others.

  5. Very well written,I have had life experiences as you have my parents were divorced while I was at a young age I can relate to your words of wisdom .Thank you Emme

  6. Rev. Dr. John H.KrahnSeptember 19, 2017 at 6:32 PM

    You hit it out of the park again Emme. Great article. We can not allow negative comments of others to define us. When these occur when we are younger, they are especially damaging. We seek God's guidance to help us be everything God wants us to be in our lives. Being a writer may just be one gift God is calling us to share. If it is, then share it boldly.