Thursday, May 31, 2018

When Writing Goals Become Idols By Yvonne Weers

Hello, writers! My name is Yvonne Weers and I’m here to talk about what happens when a writing goal becomes an unhealthy obsession.

Have you ever been stuck on a ladder? Let’s just say that I know what it’s like to be frozen in fear. After staring at white knuckles for what seemed like an hour, it took a group of people to guide me down, rung by rung, until I reached solid ground.

This traumatic event sprang to mind recently during my quiet time as I heard God ask me to let go of a writing goal. I was reading the story of Abraham (Genesis 22:9-13), when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the alter. I confess, I’ve always struggled with this story. Eventually, God provided a ram for the sacrifice, so it does have a happy ending.

Nonetheless, I wondered why God would ask such a thing? It seems over the top, unfair, and even cruel. Then it struck me that it’s possible Abraham might have put Isaac before God. As I pondered this, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to let go of a goal that I knew in my heart had become an idol.   

It all began last year when I was determined to sell to a popular women’s magazine. I’d been asked to critique with a group of incredibly talented writers and jumped at the opportunity. Between the five of us, we’d written, critiqued, and submitted more than 50 short stories, but only one of us sold.

I found myself getting frustrated and decided to “make it happen” at all costs. I put it in front of my health, family, and obligations, until tragedy struck our critique group. One of our members passed away after a long battle with cancer. Suddenly, my goal rang hollow in the wake of losing a friend.

After the shock, and much contemplation, I decided I’d had an unhealthy obsession to get published with this magazine. I had to open my clenched fist and allow God to guide me back to solid ground. Does this mean I’ll never pen another short story and submit it? No. It just means that it won’t be the focus of my thoughts like it did before.

As a critique group, we’d decided to move on to other endeavors. But it didn’t seem right to throw in the towel, as Karen wouldn't have wanted it that way. She was our biggest cheerleader and believed in our talents. So, in response to our grief, the four of us decided to self-publish a collection of short romance stories and dedicate it to Karen.

Since that time, I’ve relaxed the grip I had around my writing goal and let God pour His blessing into my open hand. The new project helped me grieve, stay connected to our group, and make new, healthier writing goals. I don’t know where I’d be without God’s patience and the prayers and support of several critique groups in my life.
 
Is God asking you to open your clenched fist today? I’m guessing that at some point we’ve all had to let go of an idol and climb down the ladder of unhealthy obsession. I hope you’ll discover that the sweetest blessings come through obedience.
Today, I’m honored to share Short & Sweet: 10-Minute Romances to Warm Your Heart. A collection of short stories written by Kadee McDonald, Bonny Dahlsrud, Beth Boyden, and myself, which is due for release on June 15th, and available for preorder today by following this link. I hope you enjoy our anthology as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey with you.

 
AVAILABLE NOW FOR PREORDER!  Click here!
 

Short & Sweet: 10-Minute Romances to Warm Your Heart, out June 15, 2018.
 
Do you love reading sweet romance, but can never find the time for a nice long novel or even a shorter novella? This volume of 20 love stories from four talented authors is the answer! Read one (or more!) at lunch, on a coffee break, while riding the bus to work, or even while waiting for an appointment at the doctor's office. a matchmaking grandma hopes to knit two hearts into one. A guy meets his dream girl on a commuter train, but a misunderstanding causes a sticky situation. Mistaken identity at a library leads to a new romance. And a meeting of The Red Hat Society brings two sweethearts back together after time and distance have kept them apart. Settle back and savor these short, sweet romances guaranteed to warm your heart. Enjoy! ♥
 
Yvonne Weers is a California transplant living in rural Nebraska with her husband of 33 years. Together they have two adult children, a daughter-in-law, and three crazy doodle dogs. She spent childhood summers lounging on beaches, riding horses, and has lived in South Africa and Taiwan. Yvonne writes wholesome romance for the cowgirl at heart. Connect with her at: www.yvonneweers.com.  

 
 
 
 

30 comments:

  1. There was a point, Yvonne, when the Lord said I was getting way too obsessed with writing (easy to do, right?), that I needed that rest. So I don't write on Sundays and try not to do anything on Saturdays. In God's way of doing things, it all gets done. :)

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    1. Sandra, I've been there more times than I care to admit. It's easy to do when you're immersed in the creation of the story. God gifts us with our talents and a burning desire to write. I think part of our Christian walk is knowing when it becomes an unhealthy obsession. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

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    2. I was just thinking about what you said, that it all gets done. I've found that when you put the Lord first in your list of priorities, and this is true of your family as well, that the Lord honors our choice and everything falls into place. Thanks for mentioning that. It's very important. We have to remember that God stopped time for a battle! He is able to stretch our time too.

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  2. Yvonne, great post! I have found no matter how much I need to get done, if I spend time reading the Bible and praying first, so much more gets done. This post is a great reminder. Short & Sweet sounds like a great collection of stories!

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    1. You're so right, Sally. And the task always goes better when we're not trying to do things under our own power. Thank you for stopping by today.

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  3. Great topic!! Keeping my goals as "goals" and not idols is a struggle for me, too! I love that your group dedicated your collection of stories to your friend Karen. What a beautiful thing to do!

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    1. I think everyone struggles with it, Laurel. Thankfully, God is a patient with us.

      Karen was a beautiful lady. She was our greatest cheerleader. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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  4. Hi Yvonne. Wow - you kind of opened my eyes to a few things. My goals may be different, but the obsession can be the same. I have long subscribed to the theory that I must open up my clenched fists and write the words the Lord gives me. And then. . . allow Him to use them for His purposes, WHATEVER that may be, even if it's only to bless a friend and no one else ever sees it. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I can't wait to read this book of short stories. Eagerly anticipating release day!

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    1. Clenching our fists is a powerful metaphor for many things. What a privilege it is to use our gifts and talents to further God's Kingdom. It's quite a journey, isn't it? But one I wouldn't trade for the world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cindy.

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  5. Your heart-touching post is such a valuable lesson. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations to all the authors of this new collection!

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    1. Thank you, Sherida! We're all very excited to see this project complete.

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  6. And I meant to add...great cover and cute title for your book!

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    1. I'm glad you like the cover and title. I had a lot of fun working on it. Probably too much fun, LOL.

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  7. Love this, Yvonne. Haven't we all been there? You are an amazing writer and I'm glad to be part of your new project!

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    1. Hi Bonny! I'm so glad you dropped by.

      ...Hey, Everyone! This is Bonny Dahlsrud. She writes children's books and is one of the authors in our anthology, Short & Sweet.

      Bonny, I had so much fun writing these stories with you. I enjoyed every minute of our critique together and hope our paths cross for another project one day soon.

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  8. Thanks, Yvonne! I needed this reminder today. I've realized that I've been holding on too tight to some goals, and in order to find more freedom, I need to let go.

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    1. It's always hard to let go. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this, Yvonne. You're a very wise lady, and I think we can all use this reminder in our lives (since idols can take many forms, whether it's a house or car we're determined to buy, a hobby, etc.).
    And I love that you and your group wrote this collection and dedicated it to your friend---that's so very special.
    I've pre-ordered it and cannot wait to begin reading!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Thank you, Patti Jo! Oh, my goodness, yes...there are many things that can become idols--even our children, as Abraham discovered. We just need to keep slaying those dragons whenever we discover them and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He never disappoints.

      Thanks for dropping by today, Patti Jo!

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  10. Yvonne, thank you for putting into words what I'm sure a lot of published authors have struggled with. It's so easy to latch onto a dream that turns into an obsession. I believe anything that keeps our minds so occupied we forget about inviting Jesus to guide the goal (or desire), is something worshiped, as an idol.
    Congratulations on Short and Sweet!!

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    1. Thank you, LoRee! I've been guilty of charging ahead of the Lord more times than I care to admit. The sweetest victories always come with God's blessing on a project.

      Thanks for dropping by today. God bless!

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  11. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post, Yvonne - and congratulations on the publication of Short and Sweet!!!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I had so much fun putting it together that I can't wait to tackle a longer project. With open hands, of course. ;-)

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  12. Thanks Yvonne! I need to work on keeping my priorities straight. Blessings!

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    1. Don't we all? I'm constantly reordering my Planned Daily Task Lists when I discover that my priorities got out of whack. Every time I read about the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness, I'm reminded that I'm not the only one who keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over. God is very patient. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  13. Yvonne, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your friend! I totally understand what you mean about making writing anything an idol. I'm goal focused and sometimes it's tunnel vision for me. Letting go is hard but absolutely necessary to allow God's blessings to flow in your hands. Blessings to you my friend!

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    1. Hi Sharee! Nice to see you here. Thank you for your condolences. I know Karen would be proud of us for moving forward. I get terrible tunnel vision, so I know what you mean. As women, we torn in so many directions that when we have time to write, it's easy to get lost in our work. Thanks for dropping by!

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  14. Yvonne, I think part of the key is balance. It’s so easy to let a dream take the first spot in our lives, often I don’t even think we realize we’re doing it! Thanks for the reminder to keep our priorities straight.

    Your anthology is a wonderful tribute to Karen.

    Also, thanks for sharing and spending the day at Seriously Write.

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  15. It was my pleasure to be here, Terri. Balance is indeed the key to all things. I recently read a comparison that ballet dancers use a focus point when doing perorettes so they won't lose their balance. In the same way, when we keep our focus on Jesus, all things come into balance. Thank you for having m here today . God bless!

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