By Jennifer Hallmark
During a few months in 2008, the words wouldn’t come. As a writer, that’s a big problem. I’d been working on a novel for a year and a half, had a tiny blog, published a monthly newsletter at our small church, and wrote articles for free article websites.
One evening, I picked up my journal and wrote these words:
I’m beginning an adventure in writing. I’ve always loved to write and once wrote almost daily…I have time now to write but have not been doing so. Why? There are probably several reasons with the main one being fear of failure. What if I write and am never published? What if no one ever wants my work? What if I find I can’t think of what to write about? How would I handle a deadline? What if I were successful?!? Could I handle the pressure of turning out more work?
But I must look on the positive.
(1) If I’m never published, I can still improve my writing and learn from the study. I can share with the church newsletter and my friends, and they can benefit.
(2) If no one wants my work but God asked me to write, then I am obedient and He is glorified.
(3) God has given me a talent to write and I enjoy doing so. There is so much to write about in the world and if God opens the door, He’ll equip me to meet deadlines.
(4) If I’m successful, I can glorify God with my writing, give more in tithes and offerings, and reach others with the written word.
(5) If God opens the door for me to be published, He will strengthen and equip me to write more.
The time for a declaration had come. I’d dipped my toe in the water but kept the rest of me safely entrenched in reality. Or what I deemed reality. I couldn’t really do this for a living, could I? What if I missed God?
Did you notice something in the above paragraph? There are a whole lot of “I’s.” My focus revolved around how everything would affect me. As long as my eyes turned inward, progress was thwarted.
I needed to think through where I was and where I planned to go and decide to be obedient, making a statement to myself. In the years since then, I’ve written or spoken declarations again and again concerning my writing. It keeps me moving forward. Or as my friend, Sarah Van Diest, would say, “Onward.”
Maybe you’ve reached a place in your creativity where you feel either stuck or like you’re wading through a swamp. Could it be time for you to declare life over your work?
Don’t worry about whether it’s short like mine or twenty pages long. Just do what’s right for you. Here are a few tips:
- Start by declaring where you are. Whether we’re beginners or pros, we all have times of uncertainty on this creative journey. Pen a little about where you started and work to where you are now.
- Name your fears and doubts. Take time to dig deep on this one. Ask questions like I did above or make a statement about the fear and what it does to you concerning your work.
- Now, write your declarations. Think of Aragorn in the Return of the King standing before the Black Gate. He faces his fear and the fear in his men’s eyes by declaring that they will not run. He says, “Not this day.” I took my five questions in my fear and doubt section and turned them into statements of faith. I looked realistically at where I was, but also on where I intended to go.
I decided, live or die, fail or not, I was moving forward. That released me to continue with obedience, no matter what.
Where am I today? Over ten years have passed. I’ve made mistakes and taken a few wrong turns. In the summer of 2011, I sold my first short story, followed by several more. I took part in a few book compilations, then in 2017, I signed a contract for my first novel, Jessie’s Hope. It released in June of 2019.
Turn your fear into statements of faith, then move forward. You’ll be glad you did.
Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Jennifer recently sold her first novel to Firefly Southern fiction (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) with a release date of June, 2019. She also signed with Cyle Young of the Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer sends out a monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max. When she isn't babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs. She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior. Social Media links: www.jenniferhallmark.com www.inspiredprompt.com Jennifer Hallmark, Facebook Twitter Pinterest and Instagram