Saturday, June 5, 2021

Staying On the Trail As a Writer

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

For many of us, this has been an exciting week as we have gathered at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Whether we were there personally, or attending the virtual conference, we were able to attend classes taught by caring and knowledgeable instructors, renew relationships with friends, and make new friends and acquaintances.


Just being able to get out and do something ‘normal’ was a great feeling for many of us.


If this year is like in years past, I will be coming home exhausted, encouraged, and overwhelmed.


And, honestly, a little depressed.


We all know we shouldn’t compare our writing journey to others. God has equipped them differently than He has us, and He has a totally separate plan for them. But like Peter asking Jesus what will happen to John, I’m sure I’ll see someone who seems to be having some success that I wish I had.


Yes, I know better. However, I still fall into this same old snare. (And we wonder why mice never learn.)


So, I’m going to take this opportunity to give myself some advice. (This may be the most selfish post ever. You’re still welcome to read on, though.) This isn’t to beat myself up, but to help me correct my perspective. Because isn’t that usually the reason we get down, we lose the proper perspective. We see too much of me, and not enough of Him.


Here are a few tips to give myself an attitude adjustment. (Whether it’s just a tweak or an entire course correction, we’ll see.)

1. God sees each of His children as special.


One of the best things my Mom was able to do in raising my brothers, my sister, and me was to make us know that each of us is special to her. She has never treated us the same, but she always was there to give us what we needed in that situation. And, most importantly, she was there. We always knew we could depend on her.


That was the message that Jesus gave Peter. Don’t worry what His plans were for your friend, Peter. Your job is to feed MY sheep.


I am to obey what He has told me to do. That’s enough to keep me busy.


2. God has a plan for me.


Sometimes I feel like the exception, you know. I mean, God is busy, you know? So, maybe, this time, something, me, has fallen through the cracks. Everybody else were having such great times talking to friends, coming up with terrific ideas, even winning awards.


And me? Well, the coffee was good.


God has a great time management system. You don’t have to worry about being overlooked. Sometimes, no, usually, God’s timing isn’t ours. (You’ve seen that one before, right?) I want things now. That’s why faith is so hard. Jesus even gave us props for trusting Him when we can’t see Him. (Will someone please put in the comments where this is found? Thanks.) (Ooo, my first interactive post.)


Even when you can’t see Him working, you can still trust His promises.


3. Don’t compare yourself to others to determine success. Success is determined by the One who formed us.


I grew up a NASCAR fan. Love those left turns. But one of the dumbest sayings ever uttered is “If you ain’t first, your last.”


That’s just dumb.


But writing isn’t a race, it is a very subjective art. We study our craft, and we take lessons that can help us get our individual messages across more clearly. And another writer’s success is something to celebrate because we all move forward.


An award doesn’t mean another writer is better, it just means the judges chose that creative work on that day. Sometimes we need to acknowledge how God is using someone else without feeling slighted ourselves.


We never know what someone else is going through. Even when we think that person has everything together. (I mean, look at her. Even her pen matches her laptop cover.)


Some of us may be able to win awards. Some of us may write words that our friends, or even a stranger, need to see. I’ve heard several ‘successful’ writers say that the most encouraging thing that they ever received from their writing is a letter from a fan who needed to hear the words they had written.


Now that is success.


So, Tim, remember, writing is a gift and an invitation. An invitation to a journey. And through that journey, you get to spend quality time with your Dad, your Abba. He will use it as a time of discovery, of correction, and of inspiration. Just you and Him.


And, just maybe, somewhere in your writing, His message will shine through.


Staying On the Trail As a Writer - @TimSuddeth on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers’ conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at 

1 comment:

  1. What encouraging words to remember. As human beings, we all traverse these same emotions but when we read another person's perspective it helps us to know that we do all have a different purpose and timing for God's path for us. We are admonished to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. When we can remember those words we can know that we are walking in obedience to our Father's commands. Thanks, Tim!