Battling the Chickenhawks of Writing

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Fear/Doubt, Friends of ACFW, Rejection, writing 14 Comments

by Laurel Blount

Let’s talk about chickenhawks–and writing.

My sister and her husband recently adopted a beautiful little girl, and our whole family fell in love. Hayleigh is spunky and and refreshingly honest–as three year olds tend to be. My sis, previously blessed with an adorable, rough-and-tumble little boy, has entered the world of pink dresses and oversized hair ornaments. Hayleigh has innumerable bows in every possible shade, most of which are roughly half the size of her head.

Hang on. There’s a point to this. I promise.

Hayleigh loves to be told stories–more proof that God was behind this adoption–a child who craves stories nestled into a family of storytellers. What could be more perfect? My creative sister was delighted to oblige, and thus began the saga of  Chickenhawk–a sneaky bird who liked to fly down and steal little girl’s hairbows. He was a convenient villain. Hayleigh loves her hair ribbons as much as her new mommy does, and she doesn’t want to take them off in the evenings. Chickenhawk made surrendering them a lot more fun.

Tales about Chickenhawk were told with appropriate swooping gestures, and Hayleigh would giggle, hands clasped protectively over her head. The story would end with tickles and happy squeals as Chickenhawk succeeded in unclasping the precious bow.

This game went on for weeks, as Hayleigh grew more comfortable and confident in her new home. Then one day, the little worm turned.

Hayleigh had begged for a Chickenhawk story, and my sister was in full storyteller mode, voices, swooping gestures–the whole nine yards. Then she reached the climax.

“And,” my sister said, “then Chickenhawk swooped down to steal that little girl’s hairbow–” she prepared to deftly unclasp the bow.

Suddenly instead of giggling, Hayleigh straightened up on the sofa.

“But I punched him right in the mouf!” A three-year-old fist waggled menacingly up in the air at the imaginary bird, “And I told him (voice drops to a growl) Not today, Chickenhawk!”

Chickenhawk retreated, properly vanquished, my sister almost died laughing, and Hayleigh wore her huge pink bow triumphantly for the rest of the evening.

This is now my favorite kid story of all time–and I have four children of my own, so that’s saying something. For Christmas we have already decided the entire extended family is getting t-shirts that say “Not today, Chickenhawk!”  We believe in solidarity–and the protection of hairbows.

Okay, you’re thinking–that’s cute–but what does this have to do with writing?

A lot, I think.

We’ve all got our Chickenhawks, don’t we? Nasty, sneaky villains  that swoop down to steal our sparkly joys. Self-doubt may be your Chickenhawk. Or comparison to other writers. Or rejections. Or perfectionism. Or procrastination.  Bad reviews–or–worse–NO reviews. Unsupportive family members.  Disappointing sales.

The list of writing-related chickenhawks is endless–and when they’re swooping over us, they seem overwhelming. But I think Hayleigh hit on the right answer–and it’s Not today.

The Bible instructs us clearly to live our lives one day at a time–and warns against borrowing trouble from tomorrow. We should battle our discouragements in these small bites of time–focusing only on what we’re dealing with right now.

And when we face our daily writing-relating Chickenhawk, we now–thanks to Hayleigh–know exactly what to do.

We shake our fists and growl, “Not today!”

Today I’ll focus on the good in this God-given calling of mine. I’ll rejoice and refuse to be discouraged by my enemy.

Today I will write.

So clench your fists, dear friends, and hang onto those hairbows. I–along with your readers–are cheering you on.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll even get a t-shirt!

Battling the chickenhawks of writing--one day at a time! @laurelannwrites #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingtips #encouragement Click To Tweet

Award-winning author Laurel Blount lives in Georgia with her husband, four children and assorted spoiled animals. Her days are a happy whirl of writing, housekeeping, homeschooling and hobby farming. Her newest Love Inspired romance Hometown Hope is now available for purchase! Sign up for Laurel’s monthly newsletter at







Comments 14

  1. The chicken hawk story is the cutest ever! Laurel, you need to write a
    children’s book on that story!
    (Keep doing the romances, too!)

  2. You know I was picturing this as I was reading it and laughing like crazy. When are you and Leigh going to put out a children’s book? ?

  3. Loved this. What a kid!

    Cancer is my chickenhawk,
    swooping down to steal
    my ability to move, and talk,
    and eat an evening meal.
    Fighting him is hard to do,
    each day is pure intention.
    What worked before, he outgrew
    and I need new invention.
    But every bleed and each new tumour
    is fuel for my resistance,
    and in hell there is a rumour
    that I may just go the distance.
    Don’t count me out, for in every way
    I live the dream – “Not today!”

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