by Rachel Hauck
I had an epiphany in recent days. I’m a writer! A novelist. I write books for a living. That’s what I do!
And it’s awesome.
So what’s the epiphany, you may ask? I realized there was no joy in looking around at other things, people, opportunities, surrendering my soul to envy and jealousy, fretting and regular “hand wringing.”
It made me hate my job. Suddenly writing became about everything but the story I was telling. The one in my heart. The idea God gave me to brew.
The comparison game killed my creativity. Shot holes in my confidence. “Is this book good enough?”
“Wait, I should be writing another story…”
“Oh, no, I should write my story like this…”
“That author has such good ideas! Mine are just okay.”
“Or, wow! What an opportunity that author had! I had one like it but nothing blew up for me like him.”
You get my drift. Am I alone here. Even after a banner 2016 for me, the life-sucking mud of comparison creeps toward my feet and threatens to sink me.
In recent months, some opportunities came my way. Exciting ones. I was thrilled. My hopes were raised. This was cool.
Nothing more came of some of those opportunities and while these things are expected in any business dealing with “art,” I battled gripping disappointment.
Conversations with various folks gave no hint of said opportunities. In fact, it seemed the opposite.
So hey, what’s going on? Why the dark sinking sensation in my chest?
I was doing a thorough job of beating myself up when I realized, "Hey wait, it's okay to be disappointed. Just don't let it own you."
Ah, okay, that made sense. It’s no one’s fault. These things happen, but when I understood it was okay to be disappointed, I was able to go to the Lord with an honest conversation.
In the meantime, my work in progress (WIP to us writers) didn’t seem grand enough. “I have to do better!”
Then another light dawned. “No, Rachel, you’re doing great. You’re writing you! What’s on your heart and mind. You can’t write anyone else’s story.”
When I thought my story needs to hit a bestseller list, or win awards (mind you, I’m still writing the first draft) or make lots of money, I dreaded writing.
But when I just considered of the characters, the story, and ways to delight readers, the twists I might be able to come up with, I loved the story. I couldn’t wait to write.
I learned a lesson—I’m called and gifted to write. I love it. The rest is up to God. I leave the outcome to Him.
Recently, a new acquaintance read The Wedding Dress. When I saw her again, she gushed, “You are so talented. Your words are musical.” English was not her first language so hearing this from a native Spanish speaker touched me!
So what’s the summation of my epiphany? I can only do what’s in my control. Right now, that’s to write the next book. I can’t go looking in some other garden or over the wall at another venue when God has not placed me there.
Comparison is a thief. A robber of joy, hope and confidence. In fact, the Apostle Paul said we’re stupid to compare ourselves to others.
Are you struggling? Get back to the work in front of you, the thing God has called you to do. Don’t look around. Don’t envy. God has GREAT plans for you! Just wait and see!
After a week off with a family visit, I’m back to writing and my joy is full.
New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.