Thursday, June 11, 2020

What's Your Biggest Writing Fear?

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

What’s your biggest writing fear? 
  • Fear of rejection?
  • Fear of not finishing the job?
  • Fear of not being good enough?
My mind fought with all three recently, and more, when I faced several deadlines on newspaper work that I didn’t seem to have enough hours in the day to complete, worked to finish a proposal to send in to my agent, and muddled through postings for a social media campaign to help promote my upcoming book release.

And then, the evil one came knocking at the door …. LITERALLY. 

I plucked away at the computer in my favorite den rocking chair, just four steps across the foyer from the front door. When I heard a loud sound that sounded like a cross between a knock on the wooden door and the delivery guy dropping a package on the front porch, I was surprised that neither the golden retriever nor Pomeranian at my feet seemed to acknowledge the sound. 

Placing the computer on the tray, I stood up and could see out the dining room window as I walked to the door. “That’s odd,” I thought when I didn’t see a vehicle backing out of the driveway. 

I peered out the dining room window, craning my neck towards the floor in front of the door to locate a package. The frosted pane on the front door doesn’t allow the same view. 

Noticing nothing, I almost returned to my chair, and then thought perhaps the stray cat was responsible for the sound. “I’d better check on her; she did just have kittens, you know.” Yep, writers have conversations with themselves, right?

I opened the door just a bit—I didn’t want the stray but friendly feline that my husband and I are allergic to darting into the house. 

No cat, but I found the source of the racket. My metal plaque with lavender herbs etched on either side of the word “Welcome” lay face-down on the porch. 

“Hmmm. How did that get knocked over?”

I leaned out even farther, hand still on the doorknob, and stood face-to-face to a snake that was inching its way up the door frame. Just at that moment, about four inches of his its flipped into the doorway. 

A blood-curdling scream erupted from my lips, hair stood on end, and I slammed the door. I developed a splitting headache before the door even made contact with the frame. 

My furloughed 23-year-old son came running and stared questioningly at me as I mumbled gibberish. I only began to make sense when his hand came near the doorknob. 

My hands shook, and my knees quivered. Being married to a reptile-loving, wildlife biologist for thirty-six years hasn’t removed the abject phobia I’ve had of snakes since I was a little girl.  

My son and I donned shoes and went outside via another door. He fetched my husband’s snake stick, a wooden pole with a curved hook-like end, and gingerly lifted the scary serpent and placed it into a bucket. I watched from afar—very far. 

Once my son secured the lid of the bucket and my offender was subdued, I returned to the computer, but the pounding headache and equally-pounding heartbeat didn’t let me return to work. Besides, my hands quivered too much to use the keys.

When my husband came home from the office—and might I add, on one of the two days he’d actually gone into the office to work since the pandemic began—any other day since March 17, he sat just a few feet away from me in another office with his snake-loving self—he removed the lid and said, “Oh, it’s a yellow rat snake. Isn’t he gorgeous?”

David promptly relocated the intruder to another location. My blood pressure finally reached safer levels, and I took a couple of deep breaths and plucked away on computer keys again. 

It didn’t take a stretch of my imagination to see the analogy of the hero son rescuing me from the evil one and his loving father casting the demon far, far away from me.

When the evil one knocks on your door, filling you with fears of discouragement, what will you do to thwart him? 

Reciting countless “do not fear” verses helps me when those writing discouragement days rear their forked-tongue heads. I also keep these verses in mind, too, to fight against:

Fear of rejection
Romans 8:31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  

Romans 8:28 NIV: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

1 Peter 2:4 NLT: You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

Fear of not finishing the job
2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV: Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.

Ephesians 6:10 NIV: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his might power.

Philippians 3:14 NIV: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 1:6 NIV: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

Fear of not being good enough
2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT: It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.  

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

Ephesians 2:10 NLT: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

When writing fear knocks at the door, call on the Son and the Father, read God’s word, take a deep breath, and type on.


Julie’s heart beats faster when she thinks about her upcoming book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, but fortunately, no slithering reptiles are involved. Julie’s parenting book, published by Revell, releases in October. She’d love for you to connect with her on a Facebook Group page by the same name, 365 Ways to Love Your Child (go here to join the conversation about showing love to a child.


  1. Love this post, Julie. I'm with ya when it comes to snakes. Hate them. Thankfully, where I live we don't see many. Thanks for this post on fears. So good!

  2. Thank you for sharing that, Darlene. I have an unhealthy fear of snakes that I've never been able to overcome!!! The whole situation is funny now - the fact that the snake found a way to "knock" on my door that would make me come open it, but I didn't like being face to face with him! I appreciate your comments, and I have to remind myself of these verses often.

  3. Julie, I share your feelings about snakes. Thankfully I'm married to a man--though not a biologist--who isn't afraid to take them out of the vicinity whenever we spot them.

    1. That's actually the first time my 24-year-old had to relocate one for me. He's not afraid of them like me, but yet he's not the fan his dad is. I can't bring myself to get near enough to them to remove them from my vicinity! Fear is a dreadful thing, and I'm so glad God gave us umpteen verses about trusting Him and not letting fear take over!

  4. I am extremely afraid of snakes. I don't like any of them and was shaking while reading about your experience. Your message is powerful. The evil one tries to steal my joy of writing by making me think "I'll never get this story published." or "I don't know how to edit correctly." or "Maybe this isn't a good story." Then, I remember the "post it" note on my computer. The note says "PRAY FIRST", which reminds me to pray before writing. :-) Sharing time with God gives me comfort and reminds me that He has a plan for my writing.

    1. He DOES have a plan for your writing, Melissa, and I know that I personally have been blessed by your writing, so that makes me know that so many others have been, also. It's my prayer and desire that by PRAYING FIRST, my words will be the words HE wants me to write, which means He has a purpose for those words to touch others' lives. You are a blessing and encouragement to me, always Melissa, and I always appreciate your comments so much!

  5. Julie, thank you for addressing writing fears. Your snake story, while scary, reminds us of our enemy who whispers fearful thoughts and attempts to thwart our plans to write for God's glory. I love your last sentence.

  6. Our enemy does like to whisper...and occasionally, yell .... fearful words to us. I'm glad God reminds us not to fear so many times in the Bible! And, you and I both had scary snake stories just days apart, right? Thank you, God, for returning mine, and my friend Jeannie's, blood pressure back to normal after our incidents!!!

  7. All three are viable fears that still attack us because we are human. But thankfully we have a person Who rescues us just like your son and husband rescued you from the snake. Glad you didn't have to touch it!

    1. Thank you, Barbara, and I'm not sure I could've survived touching a snake! Well, actually, I've touched small ones before that David is holding, but I'm not catching or touching a big one like this! And, yes, me too - those fears rear their ugly heads every now and then about my writing. So glad God said repeatedly, "Do not fear."

  8. That's a question I've never considered, so I'm glad you asked. I think my greatest writing fear is not getting my project finished. Because I have absolutely no accountability or deadlines, other "more urgent" things seem to replace writing time. I'm not seeking to be published other than to leave a book to encourage family generations that follow me to walk with Christ. I'm not sure exactly what I need to solve this problem, but the Lord does.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Shari, and I know what you mean about not having deadlines to make you accountable to get a project done by a certain timeframe. But, it sounds like you have an amazing legacy you're going to be leaving for your family! That's awesome and I know it will be treasured by many generations that follow! That's a cool project!