Monday, August 29, 2011

Why My Writing Stinks (Sometimes), Part 2

In yesterday’s blog post, Why My Writing Stinks (Sometimes), Part 1, I mentioned this amazing phenomenon—many people blog, tweet, or have status updates on the same topic at the same time. For example, this morning I read this post, The Angst of a Diseased Author, by Linda Yezak. Perhaps it’s because we are reading one another’s thoughts on various forums and we all come up with the same idea at the same time. Or it could be a God thing.

Personally, I like to think of it as a God thing.

white flagFear does cloud our writing. The question is, what can we do to overcome that fear?

Last week I watched a 2008 video of J.K. Rowling giving the commencement speech at Harvard. Why did I watch a 2008 video? I rarely watch videos and this one was exceptionally long and made three years ago.

Someone had posted the link, and, for whatever reason, I clicked on it and watched. When Rowling touched on this topic, the topic of fear, the topic I had already been reading and thinking about, I sat up and listened. Here are some of her words:

What I feared most for myself . . . was not poverty, but failure. . . Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew. . . why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free . . .

(The rest of the speech’s text can be found here.)

We’ve all heard this--Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

When we reach that point, when we have nothing left to lose, when we have been stripped of all but our essential self, when we write our words to please God, when we no longer fear because our greatest fears have become reality, that’s the point at which we create our best work.

Thankfully, we do not have to fail on epic proportions.  We need only strip away our pride, our envy, our timidity and simply lean on God’s guidance.

Surrender all! And then we will have nothing left to lose and will be free to create without fear.

Part 3 coming soon!


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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.