Just Look at Me: Encouragement for the Highly Distractible Writer

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When my sons were toddlers, they were so easily distracted (look: a squirrel!) that I often knelt down and gently placed my hands on their cheeks to help them listen.

“Look at me,” I’d say, waiting until their eyes met mine. Then I asked them, “What did Mommy say?”

Lately, I’ve felt God kneeling down, kindly pressing His hands to my cheeks. “Look at me,” He says. It’s not only a call to attention, but to single-minded devotion.

“Yes, Lord, ” I reply, taking my eyes off Facebook, Pinterest–even the Wordserve Water Cooler–and focusing on Him.

I feel Him kneeling down when I get jealous about other writers’ accomplishments; when I spend too much time clicking and too little time praying; when my tendency to compare Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers distracts me from the reasons I write.

Last week, I let Satan discourage me. Look at that author, he said. She’s your age and has written twice as many books as you have. Plus, she has a radio show, and her speaking resume is much better than yours. 

I started to get insecure, until I remembered the Lord’s hands on my cheeks. “What did I say?” He asks.

“Just look at me,” I respond.

I get it, Lord, I really do.

However, it’s hard to keep my focus when I am required to use social media for my part-time editing job. Plus, our post-recession world of high technology and low discretionary income means that book publishers’ marketing budgets are shrinking, while editors’ expectations are rising.

Sigh. This business is not always good for a highly distractible author…and yes, the apple does NOT fall far from the tree. (Look: a new webinar on building your tribe!)

I know I’m not the only author who struggles with this. Or at least I hope I’m not. So, let’s lean in and focus on our Parent’s eyes for a second.

“Do you hear what I’m saying?” God says.

When we spend time with Him, and hear His perspective on this crazy profession He’s called us to, we realize that He has uniquely called each of us to a highly specialized path.

I don’t have to be like anyone else. Although God calls me to work diligently at my craft and creatively tell people about my books (not for my glory, but His), I shouldn’t obsess about numbers, lists, or honors. All that leads to a place called “Crazy-ville.” And trust me, I can get there on my own.

My fellow scribes, God is calling me–and you–to be faithful and obedient:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)

Just look at me, He says, and write what I’ve told you to write. Write out of the overflow of our relationship, and trust me for everything else.

As a friend says, “God’s got this.” We can trust Him. After all, those heavenly hands on our cheeks are nail-scarred…from His scandalous, all-consuming love for us.

The Jealous Writer

Are You a Smart Writer?

Are You a Smart Writer?

Confession time. I have a problem with writer jealousy. It’s not a serious case, but enough that it requires energy and effort to keep it at bay.

As a child, I was known as The Smart One. But like most who want what they don’t have, I preferred any of these titles, The Cute One, The Funny One, or The Sweet OneAlas, I wasn’t gifted with any of those labels. And I allowed my thoughts over what I wasn’t to overshadow the gift of who I was.

As a woman, I know discontent. Over my hair color, body shape, shoe size, and the shade of my eyes. Insecurity reeks a crushing blow to productive energy. I’d love to recapture the minutes and hours of my youth, spent on wishing I looked more like someone else. I could reinvest my lost time in doing something meaningful.

Are You a Funny Writer?

Are You a Funny Writer?

As a professional author, I too battle the green-eyed monster. When I read an eloquent beauty, a humorous author, a sweet wordsmith, or a creative powerhouse, I often wish I wrote like them. I tremble in the shadows of a thick plot, riddled with mystery, nuances, and intrigue. I covet the ability to paint rich landscapes, where every small touch blends to perfection. I feel sad that I can’t make readers belly laugh like my hysterical peers. My heart’s desire is to embellish dialogue with verbs so strong that the reader forgets where they are as soon as they climb into the story. 

Are You a Sweet Writer?

Are You a Sweet Writer?

But there’s hope for a jealous writer like me. 

  • Through age, I’ve learned it’s okay to be me, as designed by God. The child in me couldn’t see the benefit of my unique outlook on things. But now I know if the building’s burning down, pretty, funny, and sweet won’t get you out.
  • Through maturity, I’m learning to appreciate my gifts. I am who I am, and so are the irrevocable qualities others see in me.
  • I’m a serious student by nature, and can’t help sharing God-inspired knowledge and wisdom. Like a sponge, I absorb and release.

    Are You a Cute Writer?

    Are You a Cute Writer?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get past reading a hilarious story, and wishing I could write like its author. But I resolve to remember that just as an arm can’t do an ear’s job, neither can I write what someone else is called to. I may always long to write a great novel, but not until I finish the current race set before me.

Jealous writers who allow themselves to wallow won’t have time or energy to produce their own good work. I am a professional, aged-to-perfection, mature author. This is how I choose to focus my thoughts, so I can create the projects I’m uniquely qualified for. After all, if I don’t write them, who will?

Do you ever struggle with writer’s jealousy?

Write From the Truth of Who You Are

Write From the Truth of How You are Wired