Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Where Do We Find Our Identity As a Writer?

“Writer” has been attached to my name for as far back as I can remember. Writing is how I spent my free time as a kid. English is the subject I excelled in growing up. Every teacher I had in elementary school knew I was a “writer” and that I aspired to become an author some day.

Maybe you, too, have been known as the “writer” in your family, amongst your friends, and/or in school. Perhaps “become an author” is a dream that’s been etched onto your heart for as long as you can remember as well.

When we’re accustomed to viewing ourselves as a writer—when we’re comfortable hiding behind this identity—it can hurt when others question this identity. When others doubt our ability or stomp on our dreams. When we receive a harsh critique or a rejection that makes us question whether we truly are a writer—or simply a wannabe. Someone who has a big imagination and far-fetched dreams.

Where should we turn when our identity as a writer is threatened? How can we find the confidence we need to hold our heads high and continue trekking along our writing paths—even when we stumble upon doubts, insecurity, and rejections?

We can start by reminding ourselves of these 3 things:

1. Our identity is not attached to our writer status.

Whether you’re published, unpublished, a bestseller, award-winning—whatever your writer status looks like, keep in mind that this is not who you are. Sure, it might be a passion. A dream. An achievement. But this is just one aspect of your life.

We’re not defined by our achievements or lack thereof. We’re not defined by our careers.

I think this is one reason why some writers often become destroyed when they receive negative feedback on their work—because they take it as if it were an assault to their identity. Thankfully, as Christians, we can find freedom through discovering our identity as a Child of the Most High. Our confidence is built when we can see ourselves through the eyes of Christ. When this becomes our identity, then we’ll be less tempted to fall apart if and when someone questions our ability to write.

2. People don’t have the authority to remove the calling God has placed on our lives.

Why have we been given this calling to write? So we can bless others through the gift of words. That’s always the intention God has behind giving gifts to His children—so we can use them to further His Kingdom and delve into greater intimacy with Him.

However, the enemy doesn’t want this to happen. His intention, on the other hand, is to thwart our attempts to pursue our callings. Why? Well, think about it: If we don’t believe in ourselves as a writer, then we won’t have the confidence we need to finish our books. And if we don’t finish our books, they won’t get published. And if they don’t get published, then the people we could have impacted through this gift remain unreached.

Obviously, that’s good news to the enemy, right? His plan is to stomp God’s plans, so he’ll do everything he can to prevent our ministry from being furthered. He may use other people to cause us to question our ability to write—all in attempts to steer us off course.

Fortunately, we don’t have to fall for this trap. We can remind ourselves that our calling isn’t diminished when we receive a rejection or criticism.

Yet when we do begin to doubt this calling, let’s return to the moment when we first discovered the joy of writing. When we first felt the nudge to use our words as a ministry. And when others attempt to cause us to trip, let's find reassurance by replacing their lies with the truth of God's promises.

3. We’re not going to please everyone.

That should be a relief, shouldn’t it? Think about your favorite author. Sure, you might purchase every new book this author releases—but if you look at their book reviews, you might find the occasional one or two-starred review. I’m sure there are those who have questioned that author’s ability to write as well.

Not everyone is going to receive and respond to your writing the same way. So go ahead—take the pressure off of yourself to write a book that “everyone loves”. (This can result in perfectionist paralysis, anyway.)

Instead, when you approach your projects, I suggest keeping in mind those who will some day fall in love with your books—those who will be impacted by your words. But even more than that: Write for the One who gave you this gift to begin with. Because true fulfillment doesn’t lie in receiving the approval of everyone; it lies in pleasing only One. Our Father. That can be accomplished when we use our gifts for His glory.

So if you’ve been struggling with your identity as a writer lately, I’d encourage you to return to the moment when you first felt called to write. Forget about the critiques. The rejections. Even the positive feedback you’ve received from others.

Instead, allow yourself to be immersed in the creation of your story (or non-fiction project) as you write. Not just because you’re a writer and it’s what writers should do, but because it’s the gift you’ve been given. And gifts are meant to be received by the recipient with joy.

It's only then, when we fully embrace our role (not identity) as a writer, that we can step into the fullness of what He has in store and be the writer He wants us to become. And nothing, not even a one-star review, can take this role away from us!

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Where do you find your identity as a writer? What helps when you begin to doubt your ability to write or calling as a writer?


Where Do We Find Our Identity As a Writer? #writerslife @TessaEmilyHall

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charis! Thanks for letting me know that you were encouraged by this!


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