Monday, February 4, 2008

Define Yourself

"What is she doing?"
"Can anything be done about it?" ~ Becoming Jane

If you haven't seen the movie, Becoming Jane, about the life of Jane Austen, I highly recommend it.
I haven't done the research, so I don't know how much is truth, but it was a great movie nonetheless.

Jane faced enormous opposition to fulfilling her calling as a writer. She was female for one thing, and of course in those days women did not seek any occupation other than that of finding a husband. Watching movies like this one and Miss Potter, really
make me realize how fortunate I am to be living out my dream of becoming a published author in the 21st century.
Many great women authors like Jane Austen have gone before us, paved the way, and made our journey that much easier.

Jane could have given up on the dream, married well and gone on to live a rather humdrum existence. But she defined her life as a writer. Writing was her passion. She lived and breathed it. And, as we all know, she went on to write a few good books.

How do you define yourself?
Are you at the place yet, where you can look someone in the eye with confidence and pride, and say, "I am a writer." ?
Or do you mumble something under your breath about trying to get published, but nobody seem interested, it's really just a hobby anyway...

As you will hear frequently on this blog, writing is hard work. If you know you are truly called to it, you must have the confidence to persevere. You will get rejected, probably more than once. It will hurt.
This is a big reason why we stress the importance of having a critique group, and belonging to a writers group such as American Christian Fiction Writers. It's imperative that you surround yourself with other like-minded individuals who will be there to pick you up when you fall, and cheer you on to the finish line, and rejoice with you when you succeed.
You must soak yourself and your work in prayer. Know what it is God has called you to do and trust Him to give you the tools to complete the task.
Believe me, this is one of my huge struggles. I lack confidence in a big way. It's a scary prospect to send out my work. Or even
to know there is interest in it...the "what if's" wake me up at night.
What if it's still not good enough?
What if I get told it's awful and what in the world possessed me to think I could be a writer?
What if I'm just kidding myself?
What if I'm really not meant to be doing this...
And on it goes.

I can tell you there is only one way out of this cycle.
Get with God and ask Him to give you peace. If you know you're in the right place, He will confirm it.
Define yourself as a writer, and ask God for the wisdom and courage to continue the journey.
I've been in Proverbs lately, and I leave you with a verse of encouragement from Proverbs 3, beginning at verse 21.

'...preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;

22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;

24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared."


Jo said...

How very encouraging! I love your website!

Cathy West said...

Thank you, Jo. We are glad you're enjoying it!

Leigh said...

For me, the difference is in shifting from "I'm a writer/editor" to "I'm an author." That might sound strange, but the people I know are used to me writing newsletters or articles or website copy for my freelance clients. Thinking of myself as "an author" takes things to a new and different level. Knowing I can write a press release is one thing ... believing I can write a novel is something else.

Thanks for the verses, Cathy! They're a good start to the week.

Lori said...

v.26 "The Lord will be my confidence" is one of my favorites. Thanks for posting this. :)