Missy, here. I'm glad you joined us in Seekerville today!
From Webster’s New World Dictionary:
1 the seemingly inevitable or necessary succession of events
2 what will necessarily happen to any person or thing; (one's) fate
3 that which determines events: said of either a supernatural agency or necessity
I’ve never really thought much about the word destiny. But as I watched Good Morning America the other morning (April 11), I was intrigued by an author who Robin interviewed. Martha Beck was promoting her new book, Steering By Starlight-- Find Your Right Life No Matter What! I haven’t read the book, but they gave a bit of summary on the show that I’d like to share. (Thank goodness we have DVR, so I could keep pausing it to write down what she was saying.)
First Ms. Beck said that sometimes the reason we’re not reaching our goals is because they’re not right for us. She said that sometimes our goals are at odds with our destiny. An example she gave is that her goal was to get her doctorate from Harvard, but her destiny was to have a child with Down’s Syndrome who would teach her so much more. She said that when she was faced with the choice about keeping the pregnancy, she felt her own destiny for the first time. Ms. Beck followed that by saying that there is something deeper than goals.
She went on to say: What’s keeping us from our destiny? Fear. We’re afraid of what people will think or that we’ll go bankrupt or will look stupid. All things that stop us are fear-based.
Okay, so that’s great. What can we do?
Ms. Beck gave 3 basic steps to take:
1. Be “still” for at least 15 minutes per day. And “still” doesn’t have to be literal. Walking or jogging can actually help release stress so you can focus.
2. Tell the absolute truth to yourself about what’s happening around and within you.
3. Consider all your options, and always do what brings the most joy at that moment.
So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I want you to think for a minute, not about your goals, but about your destiny. Think beyond your expected daily word count, beyond your next contest entry, beyond your next requested proposal. I love Ms. Beck’s step number 2. Be absolutely truthful with yourself about what’s happening around and within you. My addition: Be totally honest about your writing.
What’s keeping you from your destiny? Remember, she said fear is what gets in the way. What are you afraid of? Failure? (I won’t ever finish a book… I won’t ever sell… I won’t ever write as well as so-and-so…I won’t ever sell again…My books won’t sell well or won’t earn out…I’ll get bad reviews.) Rejection? (The judge won’t get it…The judge will hate it…The editor will send a form rejection so fast my head will spin…The readers will send nasty letters…) Or do you even possibly fear success? (They may ask me to speak, and I just can’t!…I’ll have to sign books and talk to people…What if I only have one book in me?…My husband/wife may feel threatened…My friends may think I think I’m too good…I’ll have deadlines and have to meet them…)
Are you afraid of letting your emotions flow onto the paper? Are you afraid your story will be too raw? Will too much of you be on the pages for you to let other people read it? Are you afraid to tell the story God has given you because you don’t feel qualified?
Let all that go. Take time each day to be still. Tell yourself the absolute truth. Then write with joy, just for the fun of it. Let all the rest take care of itself. Pour all you have on those pages. Don’t restrain yourself—don’t think of publisher guidelines or of expectations or of anyone else reading it. Write down the story God has given you. And (even though it may go against all we’ve talked about on this blog all along!) I suggest that if you get stalled by the feedback from others, then don’t enter contests or send it to a critique partner until you’ve finished the first draft. Plow through that first draft, then begin getting feedback on it--after it’s fully formed.
What brave soul would like to share what you’re afraid of, and what you’re going to do about it?
Okay, I’ll go first. My name is Missy, and I’m afraid whatever book I sell next won’t be as good as the first. So I’ll keep working at it, revising, making it better. And I’ll trust myself with the story, and trust God to help me tell it.