Getting the New Words Down

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There’s no other goal.

And yet, so often, it feels like the only thing I can’t manage to do.

So I’m constantly searching for help.

It’s a perk of running a site for writers as long as I have—I get the direct benefit. All the great insights and stories of writers struggling just like all of us, people you’d think have no worries, they’re so prolific and powerful.

But everyone who writes struggles.

This week, I wrote a new chapter. But it almost didn’t happen.

It had everything to do with the fact that in the space of two days, three incredibly inspiring writers shared inspiration from their own struggles.

Anne Lamott, Glennon Melton and Ann Voskamp.

Anne Lamott shared at Facebook.

“I love not writing books. I think it might be what I want to do when I grow up. But other than writing, I am completely unemployable.”

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She said she and her editor were done with her last book Small Victories in early August. That’s the part she said she loves—having a trusted partner help her get the final drafts to their best. But then, nothing for months. And she doesn’t want to do it anymore.

You wait to hear whether anyone likes it, all the time sure “you have squandered your life thinking you could write.” And people start asking what she’ll do next.

And after 16 books, she feels everything’s already said.

She just wants to help people keep their heads above water, She said she doesn’t know what she’s doing and just wants to be of service—“partly because God tells me too, and partly because it is the only way to fill up.”

Glennon Melton shared she was struggling with deep doubt.

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“I regret to inform you that I am currently surrendering to the pull of a dark whirlpool of self-loathing and panic and doubt because during the writing of this second book it has come to my clear attention that I am – as a matter of sad fact – the worst writer in the history of the world…. It is over for me. It was a nice ride, but apparently I have only been able to fake being a writer for six years…. And I also need to change religions because shouldn’t Jesus have TAUGHT ME SOMETHING BY NOW? SOME WISDOM OR SOMETHING? SOMETHING I CAN USE?”

An hour later, she posted a status update.

Hundreds of messages of encouragement had poured in:

Dear G,

Just a thought. What if it’s OK to love and hate hard things at the same time. Like labor. Yes, like giving birth. It’s hard. Everything about it. Before, during and after. Yet 95% of people I know swoon while telling their story. (I did hair for 10 years. I’ve heard a lot of stories). Same thing about having littles. HARD STUFF. Complain all the way through it. Yet 1,000,000 people will stop you and say “enjoy it” because they miss it. You get the idea.

Soooo I say… It’s ok to dislike today in your book number two journey. It’s a part of the awesome story yet to be told. And you’ll swoon over it all later. The mess you feel today. Yeah. Embrace it sister. Your message is coming.”

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And then my own favorite Ann Voskamp, confronted her own fears.

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Dear You,

who doesn’t want to…do that big thing that feels like an impossible thing—okay, yeah, boy, do I hear you.

…You’re meant to do hard and holy things because they are the next thing—to get to the best thing.

…you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.

…Potential doesn’t add up to anything if you get addicted to perfectionism because perfectionism is slow death by self.

Fire your perfectionism and your procrastination will quit too.

Because here’s the thing: You’re the Presenter.

You’ve been given a gift and you’re the person who is trying to be present to this present moment and do the hard work of unwrapping your gift, your talent, your vision, your God-given dreams. Presenters want to be present to life and their calling and the joy and the work but they know that the path is painful.

Presenters know that the path is painful because behind every corner lurks The Perfectionist Terrorist. The Perfectionist Terrorist is a liar to the nth degree. He tells you that if you’d just get it perfect enough, do it right enough, be good enough—that you’ll be liked by everyone enough.

But the truth of it is? Sometimes you have to accept that you’ll never be acceptable enough for some people. And whether you accept that as their issue or yours is up to you.

The Perfectionist Terrorist claims to have High Road Motives, claims to want to make everything turn out perfect, but his policing pressures you and poisons you and prosecutes you, until it all paralyzes you.

So The Procrastinator tries to protect you, The Presenter, from The Perfectionist Terrorist, tries to intervene with distractions, temptations, and interruptions—or just pushes you to pull out and give up.

…So Who’s missing in this struggling, messy triangulation of The Presenter, the Perfectionist Terrorist, and The Procastinator? The compassionate Words of Perfect Love.

…His Perfect Love who accepts you 100% before you perform even 1%. There is His Perfect Love who speaks Protection and Peace and promises the Power of the Holy Spirit—so you can fire perfectionism and procrastination will quit too.

You fire your perfectionism every time you let His Perfect Love ignite you.

When you rest in Perfect Love, discipline comes easily because you’re being a disciple of Perfect Love, you’re following Perfect Love.

And Perfect Love says you don’t to have show anyone up; you just have to show up.

Perfect Love says you don’t have to impress anyone; you just have to press on.

Perfect Love says when you mess up He’ll pick you up… and when you can’t carry on, He’ll carry you.”

65614cf5b209017449d0bab900147be2If you understood the truth of the BLESSING coming, you’d understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting.

If you could see the smile of God for what he knows is coming, you’d understand the meaning of beautiful within this temporary suffering.

If you could measure the size of the result of your persistence, you’d know the reason the one thing he asks for is faith.

Belief.

Not in yourself. In his perfect provision.

Just get the new words down today. There is no other goal.

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4 thoughts on “Getting the New Words Down”

  1. There is so much truth here. So much that also applies to me. Because today I wrote about being stuck. A while back, my agent used that word, prolific, to describe me. You’d think it would spur me on, encourage me to roar into battle, sword drawn. I haven’t written a new word since. I stare at old words and move them around on the screen and add one here takeaway one there but…a whole new chapter? Stuck. So maybe tonight. Maybe tonight I’ll curl up on the couch in front of the fire, have a glass of wine, and get unstuck. And it won’t be perfect. But it’ll be a start.

  2. ahhh, mick, ann voskamp is the one for you. she knows about “the perfectionist terrorist” as do you up close and personal. i am not worried about that one so much, since i don’t think very hard. i have my own set of terrorists on my tail. love what these writers have to say to us writers and bless your heart for sharing their messy truths here. heartening.
    love
    suzee B

  3. Needed to read your words, Anne and Ann’s words, and Glennan’s. They basically come down to persistence in all realms of living. Thanks so much for adding to my day.

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