Thursday, October 25, 2018

When You Don't Think You're Good Enough by Robin E. Mason

Every writer, truly every artist, at some time or another, feels unworthy. That their work falls short of some standard. And perhaps, sometimes it does.

But I’ve learned something—perfection is a cruel and impossible taskmaster, excellence a kinder, more forgiving goal. We all have them, those days we can conquer anything. And we do. We tick off those items on our never-ending to-do list, and settle with a good cuppa to enjoy the fruit of our labors. Other days, though, our 112% barely grazes one or two of those bits. Bits that have become insurmountable.

I don’t know about you, but those days crush me. Or, they used to. And when I was striving for the elusive and impossible perfection, those days were EVERY day.

But two things happened. Or, rather, one thing precipitated the other—God’s grace relieved me of an impossible burden, and with that, the freedom to grow and excel in my writing. Still, those days creep in sometimes. And what are we to do when that happens?

I offer you what I used to tell my kids when somebody said something about them; ask yourself one question: “Is it true?” When those niggling doubts creep in—“Your writing is abominable.” “This story is stupid.” “That character just isn’t believable.” “No one wants to read this!—ask yourself if it’s true.”

Does no one really want to read this? Ah! This is the question, isn’t it? To me, this is the heart of why we write. Whether “just” for entertainment or with deep spiritual meaning, do we not write for others to read? I know I do. Of course I’d love to be a New York Times bestseller. Why wouldn’t I want my stories made into movies?

But even if that never happens, even if I never sold another book—HUSH MY MOUTH!—I know I have an Audience who will never disparage or belittle my writing. Coach me, yes. Encourage me, certainly. But never will He shred my efforts, no matter how weak.

I write, we all write, ultimately for an Audience of One. One who has instilled in us our love of and passion for, and dare I say, skill with words. And when He is pleased with our efforts, if not our finesse, then who are we to argue?

Do we stop striving to our best? Not at all. Does this mean we can be lazy and sloppy? Certainly not. We offer our very best to Him. And He is pleased with that.

I saw a quote the other day, attributed to Priscilla Shirer:
And that’s exactly it.

The next time you feel you don’t measure up—and there will be a next time—remember Who holds the measuring stick. And gauge yourself by His measure.

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.” —Madeline L’Engle

 Robin E. Mason writes stories of identity conflict. Her characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, her stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and very deep way. “I know, I write from experience.”