Tag Archive | humility

Lessons Learned While Writing: I’m Not As Good As I Think I Am (aka Humility)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I had started writing in a way many in that genre write, from an omniscient narrator perspective which meant I’d hop from one character’s thoughts and experiences to another without pause. Well, if older writers could do it, why not me?

Oh, how wonderful I thought my first book was, until I began to get the critiques back. What was head-hopping? What do you mean I have too may points of view? What is a point of view anyway?

Because that was then and this is now. I read, and got feedback and I rewrote the book taking out one character as it was too long. Then I rewrote it again with only two points of view. I revised it another time sparsely adding the point of view a villain who appears in subsequent books to give it a darker, more suspenseful tone. Instead of writing a lighthearted Regency-era romance, my novels were more Gothic!

Every time I write a story there is a mixture of pride and fear mixed into the process. Will it be good enough? Will the story resonate with readers?

Sometimes I wonder if big sales have eluded me because I’m poor at marketing or because God is protecting me from pride—that erroneous belief that I wrote those books and I’m wonderful.

I did write them—with God’s help and that of others. And I am wonderful, as a child of God which means I’m also a flawed human being.

Every round of edits can bring up fears of not being good enough. But in reality, I’ll never be good enough. I can only hope to grow to be better than the last book I wrote.

My daughter told me not to worry: “You’ll be famous when you’re dead.” I laughed. Guess I’m not in a hurry to be famous then because I have a lot more living to do should the Lord allow me to remain here.

Sometimes I wonder when it will end. Writers don’t really “retire,” so as long as I have the ability and the imagination, I suppose I’ll keep writing, and leave fame in the hands of God.

What projects do you struggle with to find humility? What works for you to keep you from wallowing in self-pity or puffing yourself up too much?

Mixed Bag of Dreams

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe writing life is a path littered with dreams mixed in  with gravel and uneven pavement.  It’s an uphill hike with mosquitoes and muscle cramps. It’s filled with momentary joys and lots of harsh reality.

I wrote my first book and was so proud of my accomplishment. I mean, I wrote a book! A whole book! A novel that surely was amazing! But then I found out that no one writes a good first draft (duh, even college should have debunked that thought!).  I revised and modified and cut and entered a contest.

I didn’t win. I found out I had been guilty of a sin I didn’t even know existed. I was a dreaded “head-hopper.” Yup. My point-of-view moved around with great alacrity leaving nothing to be hidden. Don’t even get into show vs. tell issues. And nasty little words like “Oh!” and “then” and “a bit” that would pop up with regularity.

I still found it fun to edit my work and make changes. I still do because I know I’m getting closer to a book someone would possibly be willing to spend money on.

Then I went to my first writer’s conference. So fun!

I got my first short story published! How exciting!

Not a whole lot of money for the amount of work you put into it, but hey, they are publishing credits.

And then there were rejections.  Contests with feedback that contradicted. One judge would love my writing and score it high and another (same manuscript) would get panned and scored low.

Or agents with various criticisms, again contradictory.

Then I found out that leading with my contemporary romance was not good because they don’t sell right now. Funny because I’ve been reviewing quite a few wonderful ones (Beck Wade’s was just last Friday and I just read her latest one and loved it!). Sigh.

Well, I did finally snag an agent but the joy was tempered with the reality that my work was still flawed and I’m going to have to work hard before she can sell my story to a publisher.


I’m still learning and I take comfort that no one is an expert in this. We are all learning and three different editors will give me three different opinions. I’ll trust this agent because she’s not afraid to make me work hard and I know she loves me for who I am too.

And even if I get a great book out there, someone is going to pan it at some point. The more an author sells, the more there are haters that will not hesitate to slam them.

I read a lot. There are some books littered with errors in formatting, puncutation, grammar and sometimes even just horrible research.  I had read a recent book and a friend and I talked about it – because it was bad. For its genre it should have never been published. It was one of the rare ones that I couldn’t even finish. Yes, it was THAT bad.

But I’m not going to review it. I know writing is hard and at this point, what good would it do? Unless I’m willing to read the entire book (and I’m not) then I’m not going to bother writing a negative review (it would be very negative).  When I mentioned that my novel is being returned for me to do some major edits, my friend reminded me of this aweful one and said that even with the work I need to do, my novel is better than this one that got published. Bad day for that publisher? There’s a lot of great fiction out there and writers willing to work and do what it takes to get published.

I don’t want to be like that author and not have a book that someone would be afraid to review because it was so bad.

Someone once said to me: “Watch out for pride as you take this journey.”

Pride? Oh, yeah, it rears is ugly head in moments only to be crushed by the reality that my writing is never going to be as wonderful as I think it is. Someone will always have a problem with it.  Hey, I even read a Nicholas Sparks novel and got so frustrated because he kept telling me the same thing over and over and over! Get on with the story! I’m not an idiot!  Yeah, I didn’t review it. He’s a great writer, but even he isn’t going to appeal to everyone either. As much as he sells I”m sure he’s been whacked a time or two (or million) with critics.

So I’m rejoicing that I’ve taken the next step in my publishing journey even if I’ve stubbed my toe on my own inadequacies as a writer. I’ll keep writing, editing, learning and growing as much as my wee brain can handle.

Can I have some Cheese with that Whine?

Reading Time: 2 minutesI hate whining. Seriously. My kids do it often and I find it annoying. As I sit and type, my son is next to me doing homework and complaining loudly all the while about everything under the sun.  The room we are in at school. Relational issues with friends. The work itself. The size of the desk he is sitting at. The light being on. Noise in the hallway.

We do this about the weather. We complain winter is too long, spring is too wet, summer is too hot (and full of mosquitoes) and that fall, well maybe we don’t complain much about fall except that it’s a prelude to winter.  It’s like we cannot just be content in the moment God has given us. Right here. Right now.

I know that deep down inside, I whine just as much as my eleven year old son. I want to blame all my problems on others just like he does. I complain and moan and groan to God about, well, pretty much everything. My weight, my wardrobe, money, marriage, kids, bed, messy desk, dishes, laundry, the impossible to keep clean toilet. . . I just may not speak the words out loud. But they are there.

Then God starts to change my circumstances. Not everything, but I can subtly see Him working. I asked for Him to show me that He was at work. I knew He was (He always is, even when I cannot see Him) and now, well, I don’t have a good excuse to whine so much. It’s a bit


It kind of takes the wind out of my self-righteous sails so to speak.

We sometimes ask our kids if they want some cheese with their whine. (they don’t get the joke).

I don’t want to have a complaining spirit. I don’t want to be someone who is looking for the negative and basking in the glory of victimhood of events beyond my control. That sounds so


I’m just vain enough to not want to be ugly before God. In reality, my whining is simply a cover for my anxiety and fear. This is why I so desperately need to be spending time daily meditating on truths from God’s Word. Then I need to reorient my thinking to who GOD says He is, regardless of my circumstances and rejoice in that, hold tight to Him and focus my thoughts on better things.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:8-9 ESV)

How about you? Do you have a list of complaints, (i.e. prayer requests) that you give to God but continue  to hold on to as a mantle of all that is wrong in your world? How do you fight against the urge to complain?