More Musings on Writing and Perseverance

I love when I feel that Jesus has me on a path and he seems to confirm it with little things all around me. My post yesterday was truly of my own design, but I woke up to find that one of my favorite current authors put much of what I was thinking into much more eloquent words. I love Shauna Niequist because her voice is calming and she chooses her words so well. She paints pictures and creates metaphors that I love and shares a quiet vulnerability that draws you in. But all of that seems so outside what I can create on my own at this point in my writing journey. Here is a excerpt from her blog post that confirmed what I was thinking last night. If you want to read the full post (you do), click here.

"For me, writing is a lot like prayer, a lot like running, a lot like meditation: you trust that in doing it you will be transformed into the kind of person who does it better with each week, with each month, with each year. You trust that the work changes you into the kind of person who can more easily and deeply and wholeheartedly do that work."

This is exactly what I'm trying to do. Practice and be disciplined in order to get to where I want to go. For some reason I've had this subconscious mentality my whole life that if you are good at something, you shouldn't have to work at it. It should just come easily to you. I know consciously that this isn't true, that people who are ridiculously good at their thing practice. A lot. They put in their 10,000 hours. They perfect. But that seems like so much work and I've never been a very disciplined person. So I just tell myself that I'm not as good as others and chalk it up to talent and talk myself into being happy where I'm at, doing what I'm doing. I am very prone to being happy, which I consider to be a strength most of the time. I'm adaptable, I go with the flow. When life gives me lemons, I make Arnold Palmers. But what I don't do well is plan, work, practice or persevere. What would my life look like if I stuck with something and really worked at it? (It would probably look like my marriage, which is a wonderful testament to the notion that I can stick things out, that I can persevere, that I can make things really good if I work at it. And also if I'm linked together with someone for life and they make me work at it. That helps too.)

I've been thinking a lot about a regret I have from high school. I used to be a singer and I was always in choir and in the chorus in school musicals. The musicals were some of my best memories of high school, but I still always wish I had gotten the chance to be one of the lead parts. In my high school I could sing well enough to get one of those parts, but I was so shy. I was so afraid of looking like I was trying too hard or trying to be something that everyone else could clearly see that I wasn't, that I just never worked at it. I never sought ways to get better. I never took a drama class. I just told myself that if I was good enough to get one of those parts, I would be good enough naturally and if not, it wasn't meant to be. As an adult I can see how insecure and scared I really was. If I had tried just a little bit I think I could have gotten what I wanted. I see now that the kids that did get those parts probably did work at it. They probably practiced and practiced, not just for the shows, but for the auditions as well. It's the same with writing. If I start to work on it now, maybe in a few years I'll be able to see the difference from where I am today. Maybe I'll have found my purpose and my voice. Maybe I'll have something worth publishing. And if not? Then perhaps I'll just be a better writer and that's not entirely bad either. It's not like I'll break the internet by adding a few words to it here and there. Right?

Lastly, I know there is such a difference between working at something in order for it to be used well and striving to earn love or salvation. I don't want to work at this so God will love me more or so I'll be more popular (although those are always struggles in the back of my mind). But it is a very fine line between the two and I often struggle with wanting to earn approval. So to avoid that I then default to just not working on anything at all. Back and forth like I'm on a teeter totter with a much smaller person on the other side, never able to find the balancing point. So I'll keep praying that my motives stay pure and my focus stays on Jesus and that this thing comes about to glorify him now and in the future. I can release control while still pursuing excellence, even if it's difficult. That's where growth comes from, so I've heard.

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