Being a Writer is Not Safe!

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This weekend, I did something I have never done before. I stood in front of a group of women for my first speaking engagement as an author. For weeks leading up to the day my stomach did gymnastics. But I knew my speech well, had practiced it in the mirror and in front of friends, and I was confident that my topic was divinely inspired. But still, I did not feel safe.

I am an introvert. Speaking in front of people older than about age twelve makes me extremely self-conscious. Will I look weird? Will I sound funny? Will I talk too fast? What if they think what I say is stupid or strange or...stupid?

Yet I felt that God had called me share my heart with these ladies, so I pushed through my fears. And guess what? It was great! The talk went well, my nerves disappeared, and from what I was told later, God used my words to touch hearts.

We, as writers, are called to do something that is in no way “safe”. We are called to pour out our hearts onto the page and then, against our own intuition, share those intimate thoughts with the world. It is a frightening thing, to hand over a piece of ourselves and allow people to judge, criticize, and possibly even rip it to shreds.

But when has anything exciting not involved risk? Marriage? Childbirth? Parenting? Traveling? Cliff-diving?

If we snuggle up with our fears the experience of risking it all will be missed. If I had held on to my insecurities and kept my manuscript clutched tightly to my chest I would never have known that it was any good. If I hadn’t taken those first terrifying steps of entering contests and querying agents, then Counted with the Stars would not be releasing next spring with my dream publisher.

When we push our book-babies out of the nest, there is risk. There will be people who turn up their noses at our genre, or our writing style. There will be critics and bad reviews. Guaranteed.

But if we are obedient to our calling as writers then there is nothing to fear. Yes, we risk failure. Yes, we risk rejection. But we also get the exhilaration of jumping off the cliff and into the arms of the One who called us to write in the first place. And there is no safer place to be.

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