Friday, April 27, 2018

Rainy Days and Mondays—How to Handle Writing Discouragement


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2


I just began a new year of blogging. Every Monday and Thursday for seven years I’ve posted a five-minute devotion for busy women on my blog, Hungry for God … Starving for Time. Subscribers receive an email in their Inbox.

In my Inbox, things look a little different.

Somewhere between five and seven a.m., my copy of the Hungry for Godpost comes in, confirming that it went out to subscribers. Sometimes, an email immediately follows from a reader sharing how God spoke to her through the post. Other times I get an email telling me someone unsubscribed—or several someones unsubscribed.

Sometimes both happen. (I’m always thankful when the kind email expressing appreciation arrives before the discouraging email announcing someone has unsubscribed.)

Writing for the Lord, like anything else we do for God, can be a lonely pursuit. Unless we have a mega blog, we don’t always know if our words are hitting the mark or making a difference. Many times we type into cyberspace with only a vague picture of who might benefit from our words. We write by faith, because sight is nebulous.

One rainy Monday morning, before I opened my computer to tackle my To Do list, I sat before the Lord. “Father, please give me a word of encouragement.” As He often does in response to heart-felt prayer, He spoke to me through his Word. Part of my Bible reading for that day was Luke 9:62:

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”

It wasn’t exactly the tender, feel-good, atta-girl verse I was hoping for, but Jesus’ words touched my heart. They reminded me that kingdom work isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the warrior. The one who gets up every morning, straps on her sword and helmet, and charges into battle. Some days we see the foe vanquished before us. Other days the foe vanquishes us. Yet we persevere, because our Commander has called us into his service—what a privilege.

If you’re struggling under the weight of your calling today and wondering if anything you do matters, take heart. Jesus felt the same way. So did the saints who came before us. Consider these words from the writer of Hebrews:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before himendured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1-3).

If Jesus could face the cross, I think we can handle a few rainy days and unsubscribes. Let’s link arms, draw our swords, and press on!

Now it’s your turn. What verses encourage you when you’re discouraged? Share them in the comment box below and encourage us all.

TWEETABLES
Rainy Days & Mondays—How to Handle #Writing Discouragement - @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

A little perspective on #writing discouragement from @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the year, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. 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 FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

21 comments:

  1. Your work for God's glory matters Ms. Lori. You Matter ma'am. Thank you for all your encouragement. We beginners in this industry constantly battle against Satan's "you aren't good enough" argument. Fortunately, God doesn't tell us He expects perfection, He tells us "trust Me and I'll perfect you in time..." God's blessings ma'am...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And your words, Mr. Jim, are powerful encouragement. Isn't God good to remind us of what really matters just when we need it most? Write on, friend!

      Delete
  2. Encouraging words! Thank you. Your post has sparked a couple of questions about your blog. You mentioned that your blog goes out every Monday and Thursday. Were those days based on frequency of visitors on those days over other combinations? My blog posts go out, like yours, between 5-7 a.m., but on Tuesdays and Fridays. I've noticed that formerly my largest number of visitors came on Fridays, fewer on Tuesdays. Recently, however, that has been reversed. I wonder if you've noticed any similar fluctuations in when people respond most frequently to your posts. Thanks for any insights you might provide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Dennis,
      Really good questions. When I set up my publishing schedule, I did some research on the best days to post. Mondays and Thursdays, maybe because they're not competing with weekends or hump day, had a higher likelihood of being opened.

      This certainly could vary depending on the type of blog. Maybe if I wrote about cooking or off-road hedgehog hunting, other days might be better. As you've noticed, there are factors we'll never understand.

      More than which days we choose, I think consistency is key. After 7 years, my subscribers know there will be a post from me waiting in their Inbox every Monday and Thursday morning. (Except this week, sadly, because the flu derailed me.) If I miss, like I did this week, some of my most faithful subscribers will email me to check to be sure everything's ok. Isn't that awesome? This means I've created community and relationship.

      If we want to be viewed as a professional, we must publish with the consistency of a professional. Pick what you think will be your best days and stick with them. Does this help?

      Delete
  3. What a timely post, Lori.
    You just gained a subscriber.
    Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, this makes me HAPPY, Ingmar. You have blessed me today. May Hungry for God be as powerful an encouragement to you in the days ahead. Write on, friend!

      Delete
  4. What an uplifting and authentically inspiring post. Thank you! I just subscribed, also! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay, Jessica. Thank you :). As I’ve also read in your beautifully-transparent writing, we connect best in our weakness, as long as Christ’s truth and hope undergirds us. I’m so glad God places us in a family when we come to him. Life’s too hard to do alone :)

      Delete
  5. My go to verse for almost everything is "I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread."
    (Psalms 37:25 ASV) I don't know why, even at a much younger age I always felt 'old', and found that verse humorous. Seriously there are quite a few encouraging verses that I come across in my daily Bible reading. I also realize, Lori, how important words like yours are to the rest of us. Just knowing others have the same struggles and yet we get up and keep on with the good words and good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donevy,
      Your response made me smile, because I've long known that writers are "old souls." Introspective, hard on ourselves, and idealistic. Your go-to verse is sweet and comforting. God IS faithful, and he will use us to accomplish his purposes. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to keep cheering each other on in this faith walk. The "well done" will be worth everything. Blessings to you, friend.

      Delete
  6. Lori, you write:

    “Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”

    Another encouraging way for a writer to receive this is that we are like the farmer who puts her hand to the plow. She plows and cares for the soil, plants, waters, pulls weeds, prays, and, God willing, once a year enjoys a harvest.

    Like the farmer we tend the soil--learn our craft, plan our writing; we plant seeds, write our rough draft; pulll weeds and pray, editing and revision; and, maybe more frequently with social media, but a lot less frequently for long projects like novels, screenplays, books, we see a harvest.

    The lovely thing is, Jesus promised us a harvest--the fields are waiting, but the workers are few. So our task is to do the work he has laid before us, knowing, even if we don't see it, there WILL be a harvest.

    You have blessed me with this meditation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Debby. Your comparison is right and true. Our job is to faithfully plant, water, and weed. God gives the increase. Sometimes, we get it backwards and think WE're responsible for the harvest. Silly us. Rather pretentious, don't you think? Thank you for your beautiful reminder. Write on!

      Delete
  7. I am encouraged by this blog post. My reader numbers don’t grow, I can’t tell if my community service is worth the effort. I wonder if I will see spiritual fruit frm my Iraqi immigrant friend. Only God knows what the outcomes are, so I need to be reminded of his perspective.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam,
      Thanks for sharing your blog challenges. It gives me great joy to share a quote from Alton Gansky that draws me back to the keyboard again and again. I pray it will similarly encourage you to press on.

      “If you want to write for God, you must understand your words may never be bound in a cover and placed on a bookstore shelf. They may only be meant for the person sitting next to you. When you reach the point that that's ok, you're ready to write for God.”

      Delete
  8. I have felt very discouraged lately about building a platform because I would like to devote more time to fiction. Coming up with a blog topic three times a week sometimes grinds on me. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I think the Lord wants me to keep working on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right, JPC :) Blogging regularly, I can confidently say, has been the single greatest tool/discipline to help me become a better writer. The accountability of my commitment to my readers, the discipline of writing for publication (even if it's only on my own blog), and the connection I've made with my readers is priceless. One day, when I make it big (smile), I'll follow the breadcrumbs right back to my blog. I'm confident of this. Write on, sweet friend!

      Delete
  9. Thank you for this encouragement from the Word. I just SUBSCRIBED! (So than cancels an unscubscriber, right? LOL) And I posted a link on my Facebook page. God speaks always through His Word if we will be open. And through other godly people. I struggled through a HUGE decision over the weekend, thought I had peace with one way to go, and HE changed it completely. Now I have peace... AND joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh, Jackie, you have made me smile :) Thank you for your vote of confidence in subscribing AND sharing. Blessings to you. I'm so excited to hear your story of persevering through a decision until you found his will and peace. Priceless! As you say, the best way to hear God speak is to open his Word. What a sweet privilege we have as his children.

      Delete
  10. "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) gave me a new outlook on a personal circumstance of my life that seemed to not get any better. This verse told me that God would strengthen me and stand by me and my family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. This is a beautiful, sustaining, and courage-infusing reminder that God will go the distance with us. We never walk into anything alone. He always goes before us. Hallelujah!

      Delete
  11. Thank you so much for this, Lori. This was a timely post for me. Exactly what I needed. When discouraged in the new calling God has for me, it’s easy to look behind, go back to what I have always done, rather than push forward trusting in God’s provision and timing for sucesss. Thanks for the reminder to press forward, and not give up.

    ReplyDelete