Every so often, usually when a project nears completion, I sense more keenly the “risk” of exposing what I’ve written to others. This morning, as I begin to revise my newest book, I feel the “danger” of writing, of becoming more visible. This can be a fragile stage on my writing journey because my insecurities about writing instantly flare up and tempt me to stop writing altogether.
There is still a part of me that resists being a writer, that suspects it’s foolish to think I can write, that becomes embarrassed that others might “see through me” in something I write. This is the part of me that worries a lot about what others think of me as a writer, rather than focusing on my own call and journey. This ego-focused part of me also resists the relaxation and playfulness I need in my life to write well. It focuses on trying to control what I can’t: the creative process, the feedback I receive, etc.
I was reading Bonni Goldberg’s Beyond the Words, and she mentions that when we move towards sharing our writing with others, we can become concerned about proving ourselves through our writing. For me, “proving myself” is always a setup for disaster, and it distracts me from where I want my focus to be–on authenticity.
How someone else will receive what I have written (with God’s grace) is out of my control. Some of what I write seems powerful; lots of it is mediocre. One passage I write will touch one person deeply; another passage will move someone else.
When I have finished (or am coming close to finishing) a piece, it is time to entrust it. I entrust my writing to God and to the reader/viewer. Part of letting it go is to let the reader/viewer respond to it in his or her own way. The feedback I receive is welcome and valuable in my growth as a writer, completing the communication circle. But most of the time, I won’t receive much feedback. Feedback can’t be what I count on to keep me writing.
Entrusting what I’ve written to God–who inspired me in the first place–is where I receive the hope to keep going with the real work of writing. If I seek to be open to his inspiration as I write, then once a piece is written I can certainly trust that he will direct it where it needs to go. The Master Craftsman who uses the most humble of elements in shaping the world can use the fragile pattern of my words to touch people’s hearts and souls as he wishes.
My real work as a writer is to cherish the idea, write the piece, send it out, and entrust it.