What’s belief got to do with commitment? In a word, EVERYTHING! God designed our heart and mind to only commit to that which we believe in. If we believe in our ability as a writer, we’ll commit to it. If not, we’ll run from it. Simple as that.
Here’s the truth. If you were not a writer, you would not be reading this article. It doesn’t contain jaw dropping, heart stopping, gotta-turn-the-page material. It’s not a New York Times best seller. Its literary magnificence can’t be the reason you’ve made it these hundred words. No, you’re hoping to gain insight to help you reach your goals as a writer.
I believe in you. I believe in your dream. But I’m not the one who’s under the gun in your dream. You are. And you’ve had a lifetime for your imagination to conjure up all sorts of false reasons you should not believe in yourself.
1) Your uncle Bert said you were crazy to think of being a writer because you had the talent of his goldfish. You know, the scaly pet that died when you were seven.
2) You could never score higher than a B+ on your compositions no matter how much time you spent writing and rewriting.
3) Oh, and those twenty three rejection letters scream blood curdling I told you so’s every time you sit down at the computer.
No wonder you have trouble believing in yourself. Not only are those painful experiences imprinted in your self esteem, they hurt like a popcorn kernel stuck in your gums. Every time you try to take a bite out of your word count, it hurts.
Rejection hurts and is the most damaging event that a writer suffers through. It’s hard to remember how talented you are as you read, “We’re sorry but your manuscript is not what we’re looking for.” Makes you want to write back and say, “I’m sorry but your rejection letter wasn’t exactly what I was looking for either!”
While that wouldn’t win you any brownie points, you’d sure feel good doing it, right? Well, there are some specific things that you can do that will make you feel just that good, and will help you believe in yourself throughout the year. Here are just a few:
1) Take the time to settle, once and for all, who you are in the eyes of God. Let it sink deep into your heart and spirit. God didn’t create any knockoffs. All His children are name brand quality.
2) Listen to what your thoughts tell you when they think you’re not listening. Let me explain. Say I was just rejected. It will sting like someone punched me in the nose. But then, as the hours and days go by, I stop consciously listening to my thoughts of rejection. I pick myself up by the bootstraps and continue on my pursuit of authorship.
Suddenly, I realize I’m rehearsing conversations like, “Well, if that editor thinks I’ll remember him when I’m a best-selling author, he’s dead wrong. I won’t even give him the time of day.” Or perhaps, “If that critic thinks my book will tank, maybe I’ll just repay the compliment when a book she gives the thumbs down to sells millions of copies!” Oh yeah, that’ll show them.
Wow! Those thoughts that crept into my heart unawares are revealing, aren’t they? Suddenly, I’m headed down a dead end road called sour grapes and I can’t remember where I made the turn. As a result, I believe I’m not worthy of acceptance. I might as well smash my computers with a sledge hammer. I won’t need them in my new home in Self Destruct neighborhood on Sabotage Street.
3) Tell yourself the truth. Don’t blame others. It doesn’t help. Most of the time you shouldn’t even blame yourself because you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not a crime to be developing in your craft. Perhaps you have a ways to go before Love Inspired and Thomas Nelson fight over your manuscript. That’s fine.
Are you working hard, learning from the pros and practicing plotting? Then you have every right to believe in yourself.
Rejection, negative comments, and lack of belief by someone else does NOT make you who you are unless you allow it. So, DON’T! Remember who you are and believe in you! Believe in your dream. Commit to making it happen!
This is YOUR YEAR! Seize it. Believe it! Make it yours!
What’s your dream? Do you believe in yourself? If not, why do you think that’s true? You can email me confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Reba J. Hoffman is the MBT Member Care Coach. She has a PhD in clinical counseling and is the founder and president of New Hope Institute of Counseling. Reba uses her gift of encouragement to help writers overcome negative emotions so they can live their dream of being a writer. Her works appear in publications such as Running for the Woman’s Soul by Road Runner Sports and The Good Fight by Donna Hicken. She is the author of My Book Therapy’s Dare to Dream, a Writer’s Journal. Contact her at email@example.com.