Every writer asks this question at some time, maybe many times. Christian writers ask it right along with all the others. Every Christian knows that it is not God’s plan for us to be scared or confused or unproductive. When we feel this way, we have wandered off God’s path into Satan’s wilderness.
This isn’t the vicious abrasive Satan that scares us when we think of spiritual warfare. This is the indolent Satan who is enjoying the shade of a big tree on a warm day when the rest of us are trying to accomplish something. Out of the corner of one eye we see the wastrel lying there in the cool grass. Playing with bugs. Figuring out cloud images. Looking for the bird with the special song up there in that tree somewhere. Swilling Kool-Aid or Coke while we are sweating. It all looks a lot better than a computer screen. We envy the hours of guilt-free purposelessness as Satan whispers:
“You are wasting your time. Shut up. Quit. Nobody cares what you think.”
There is only one answer. Prayer.
This is the time to remember just one sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus gave us to teach us how to pray. As Satan lolls back with a smirk on his face and a sneer in his eye, pray, “Your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.” Satan’s smirk be wiped away, but that is not all. As you pray, you will remember your call from Christ. “Stop focusing on you and look at me. Follow me. Go where I go. Do what I do. This isn’t about you. It is about me.”
At this point you can begin praying and talking with God about your work. Go ahead and be frustrated.
Tell him how you have started and deleted at least five versions of chapter 8 since breakfast because they were garbage.
Ask him why you haven’t increased your blog following since last June.
Rant at the prices stupid editors charge for the right to read your great book.
Cry because you can’t afford a premium theme and your own domain and a web artist to create a great logo.
But after you have finally laid on him all your fears and failures and fulminations, then be quiet. Be still. Let God speak. Listen for the voice of sheer silence. Wait.
The psalmist had days just like yours, and he had to deal with them. God had work for him to do, and Satan threw roadblocks in his path, too.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my writing project. I trusted you! Those reader comments are so insulting! Those editors have no taste, and they keep rejecting me! Did you mean for me to fail? Do not let me be put to shame! Make me to know your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me. For you are the God of my salvation; For you I wait all day long.
Psalm 25: 1-3 (my free paraphrase) 4-5 NRSV
QUESTION: What do you do to combat the feeling for the need to quit writing? Click here to leave a comment.
* Image credit: Greaterumbrage (Creative Commons)