For the past few days, I have been experiencing writer’s doubt (not to be confused with writer’s block, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms). I finished editing the third draft of my first novel – a project I have been working on for the past six years – and the most recent round of edits was very discouraging. My beautiful, well-planned plot seemed full of holes, my characters were inactive and two-dimensional, and my strong female protagonist was downright annoying. I questioned what I’d gained from my six years of toil. Questioned why I thought that I, of all people, could claim to be a writer, when all I had to show for it was 58,809 words of incomprehensible waffle.
“You’re clearly no good.” I told myself. “So what’s the point of writing anyways?” I felt like King Solomon: “Meaningless! Meaningless! … Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). I wanted to make a difference with my writing; to encourage people, build them up, engage their imaginations, and cause them to think through the story I told. A story I’m too afraid to let see the light of day. How could I encourage people if I didn’t let anyone read the book? And how could I let them invest their precious time reading something that wasn’t good? And so the sad spiral of doubt continued…
Thankfully, God didn’t leave me to stew in my own version of an existential crisis very long. He reminded me on Saturday of the Main Thing – that He loved me, no matter what. So much that He died for me even when I was living exactly the wrong way. Something I’d allowed myself to forget the past few weeks. Something that, when you are living like you really believe it, completely changes you life.
It means you can do things you’re afraid to do, because failure doesn’t matter when there is nothing you can mess up so badly that God will stop loving you. It means that when you are having the time of your life, it’s even better because God is right there with you, cheering you on. Means that when everything looks black and grim, you still have hope to cling on to – a rope to guide you through the dark.
I realized that for a while I had replaced the Main Thing with Writing. I had attached my value and purpose to the quality of the words and sentences I typed. And with Writing being the centre of my heart, rather than God, it was only a matter of time before I faltered. Because my value is not attached to how coherently can I express myself through words, my purpose in life is not determined by how good my grammar is, and (thank God) my spelling skills do not determine whether or not I am loved. I have value, purpose, and love given freely to me by God each and every day.
I’m still struggling to build up the courage to let other people read my story (after so much work it can’t really be as bad as I think, right?), but when I make God central in my life, it doesn’t really matter if all I ever write is incomprehensible waffle, if nobody ever reads it, and if the world doesn’t care Jack Squat about what I have to say. The Main Thing is that God loves me, and that’s plenty enough for me.