By Natalie Monk
Many of us experience writing-related guilt. Not writing enough, writing too much, neglecting “X” in order to write, not making enough money by writing, having too little to show for years of work, and my recent favorite, “What if I’m investing my life in something ‘good’, but not God’s best for me? Am I really called to write?”
Secular advice says, “Do only what brings you joy, and forget everything else.”
As Christians, we’re called to a higher accountability than self. We know from the Bible we are to live as spiritual “carbon copies” of Christ, dying to our own wishes daily and seeking His will above all else. We also know God gifts each of us according to the work He wishes us to carry out. As Dr. Tony Evans once said, and this is my paraphrase, “God doesn’t give us talents to store up and keep for our own enjoyment.” Everything we have, He’s given us to minister to others in a way that will bring Him glory. To some He gives many talents, which requires us to divide our time responsibly.
Let’s take a look at how to combat guilt as we write for the Lord:
1. Request God’s Help.
Often our last response, prayer is the most powerful tool a Christian writer possesses. If you’re unsure your current writing habits or project meets God’s expectations for you, talk to Him and wait patiently for His response. Sometimes His answers take time, but they are worth the wait. He may want You writing something else. He may want you to stop writing for a season (*gasp*). Or He may confirm your current path and give you strength to overcome your doubts and get that book-baby finished.
2. Run a Reality Check.
If you’re writing for God, He’s the ultimate one you have to please. Not yourself (I speak to the perfectionists among us, myself included.), not your mom, not your agent, not a pub board, not the untold masses. God. He put writing in you. What a great blessing when writing brings us joy! But our joy-meter won’t reach capacity until we stop worrying about pleasing people more than pleasing God.
3. Renew Your Motivation.
If your guilt stems from putting off what you’re called to do, stop procrastinating! Fill your tank with good fiction and set your fingers to typing. Go for a walk. Start a thankfulness journal and remember why you wanted to write in the first place. Instead of recycling guilt filled thoughts twenty-four-seven, think on good things. Know if God has given you this task, He will empower you to reach the goal.
On the other side of that coin, don’t expect more of yourself than God does. You’re only one person, you’re human, and though I love action movies, none of us are supers. Give yourself allotted “off” time, and permit no guilty thoughts or writing pressures to ruin your recharge. Take such thoughts to the Lord and let Him keep them captive for you until it’s time to write again.
5. Renovate Your Schedule.
Reprioritize your time to include writing and all the “other stuff.” Overhaul if necessary. If you’ve never written out an hour by hour routine, you’ll be surprised how much time your day holds. I read somewhere (story of my life) that any task will fill the time allotted to it. Measure the time it takes to do every task, and give yourself a margin of free time, but work to finish it in half the time.
Natalie Monk writes southern historical romance and proudly wears the label “preacher’s kid.” Her goal in life is to bring glory to Jesus Christ. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves meeting new authors and readers at her website: http://www.nataliemonk.com.