I shared earlier this year that I am writing a book, which is something I’ve dreamed about doing for many years. Writing is not just a hobby for me anymore. It has become a passion, a mission, a calling. It wasn’t until this year that I finally felt released to write this book. As I started on the journey, I followed a piece of advice a few writer friends gave me, which is to write at least 500 words a day. For a while, I was on a tear! The introduction and first two chapters just flowed out. I am currently sitting between 12,000 and 13,000 words with a word count goal of around 30,000. Great progress!
As I started on chapter three, I felt a struggle come on. I was unclear which way I wanted to go with it and the words started to dry up. This struggle even spilled into my blog writing. I entered into territory every writer dreads: writer’s block. I know writer’s block happens and isn’t unique to me. Experienced writers accept it as part of the process and learn how to work through it. I came across an intriguing article about 10 causes of writer’s block and how to overcome them. I related to a few of the different causes the author laid out, but what the article did for me was to help me evaluate what was going on in me that clogged the word flow up. What I discovered was a little surprising, but also made a lot of sense. My desire for affirmation was killing my dream. Let me explain.
All of us desire affirmation to varying degrees. Some long for it more than others, or maybe we look for it in specific things. For example, I have been leading worship for 20 years. There was a period of time where I needed affirmation because I was insecure in what I was doing. But now, I don’t thirst for the response much anymore. It’s still nice to receive, but I don’t search it out like I did before. A lot of this has to do with experience and confidence in knowing I am gifted and placed in this position by God. This feeling of confidence is a direct result of the affirmation I received early on. Affirmation confirms the calling, but should never dictate it. And that’s what I have a tendency to do in my writing. I’m still fairly new to the craft of using written words to tell a story or present a message, which means I’m not very confident in it. I watch reader statistics way too much to see what response certain posts get. Sometimes, I let that response drive my writing. I start chasing topics that I think will resonate with readers instead of letting the topics flow from a place of passion and conviction in my heart.
Do you have a calling or a dream that your desire for affirmation is killing? Pastor and author Bruce Wilkerson has great advice in the face of this unhealthy longing for others to respond to your work. “If you want your dream more than you have to have people’s affirmation, that’s how you break through your border bullies.” What border bullies are keeping you from attaining your dreams and living out your calling? My border bully has been pushing me around lately, discouraging me because sometimes I don’t get the response I hoped for. Now I realize that I have to confront the bully and give him a big time smack down. And the best way to do that is to focus on the calling I know I’ve been given to write and trust that the response will come.
What dreams or calling do you have in life? Do you want to start a business? Or become a better husband or wife? Whatever that unique thing is in your heart, I encourage you to stand up to your border bullies and refuse to let them discourage you. Focus on the calling and let the affirmation come. Otherwise, your focus on the affirmation will cause the calling to leave.