“The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath
The first book is finished. It’s accepted by a publisher. The big day arrives, and you’ve made it. You’re a published author. The story you’ve given so much of yourself to is now able to be read by everyone who’s willing to buy it. The next book idea, maybe even a continuation of your first story, is pouring from your fingertips into your laptop. Your excitement is high. You query your publisher who offers you a contract. Book two is set to be published.
Then, it happens. As hard as you’re working at it, sales seem to stall on your current book. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to grow your audience and sales with ease like everyone else is doing. You tell yourself it’s like that for everyone starting out, but in the back of your mind, there’s the whisper of doubt. Sitting down to work on your new manuscript, the words stall. You fight to work through the scene. Nothing seems quite right. You begin to wonder if maybe it was all a fluke. Are you a one hit wonder? (Not that the first one could accurately be labeled a hit, but you know what I mean.) Was your well of stories that shallow?
Doubt. It’s the big bad wolf of the writing world. It huffs and puffs. It manages to blow away your lesser built houses of simple dreams and pure inspiration. You cower in your final house, afraid your creativity has been destroyed along with your dreams and inspiration. You’re sure your time as an author is swiftly coming to a disastrous end.
But you shouldn’t fear. You don’t need to cower. This final house is strong. Its foundation is talent, both natural and learned through study of the craft of writing. Its walls are sturdy, made from the finest dedication, both your own and that of your supporters. Your passion, not for this particular project since that can fluctuate with the ease of which it comes but for story telling itself, holds it all firmly together. And housed safely inside this fortress is your creativity. It’s not buried in the rubble. It’s hidden in your final house, but it’s taking its cue from you. It’s hiding in some dark corner, afraid of the big bad wolf. It’s waiting for you to realize the strength of your house will hold up under the pressure of the huffs and puffs of your doubt. It will make its way out of the corner when you realize the big bad wolf of doubt is powerless to destroy your final home without you first letting it in the front door. Your creativity is waiting for you to take control, turn on your laptop, and begin writing like the author you are.
What are you waiting for?
By the Book: As authors of faith, we have more than what we were born with or what we’ve learned. We have God’s leading. If you feel God has called you to minister to others through writing, He will make sure you have what you need to succeed in the way He wants to see you succeed. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to work, but it does mean we take the opportunities He puts in front of us. And it means we seek to use what He’s given us the way He would want us to. The question for us is whether or not we are listening for His voice and looking for His leading in all we do.