Taking the pressure off

One of the ongoing topics of conversation God and I have is writing. What we want to do with it, what stories to tell, how, when, why, and so on and so forth.

Traditionally this has been a bit of a thorny subject, fear, the input of others, and misinterpretations being the main culprits behind its difficulty.

However, I have grown a lot in this area with time, and especially over the last couple of years. Most recently, in being able to make writing a much smaller deal.

Even when I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I had the inclination, the praise of teachers and parents, and I couldn’t imagine a better life than to tell stories for a living. As I grew older, my dreams evolved. Fame, fortune, book deals, etc. All of these could be mine. And best of all, I could do it all “for the Lord.” My stories would change the world, topple hearts, raise the dead. World famous by eighteen, I would be the next Rowling, the next Gaiman, God had called me there.

Now I could go on to explain how those dreams fell through (thank goodness), the journey that’s brought me to where I am today (thank goodness), but that’s not what I want to focus on in this post.

What I would rather focus on is one of the foundational misunderstandings I’ve had about my writing even from those seedling years. Mainly, that the content of my stories is the main contribution I can give to the world.

This is a trap and a lie, and it makes my writing worse.

 

See, when the best thing I can give this world is my writing, well, that’s a lot of pressure. It makes writing a paralyzing rather than joyful process, and the idea of publishing that work gets even worse. Couple that with the idea that the best way I can change the world (or worse, people) is my work, and things get even worse. Complicated characters become caricatures, explorations become morals, conversations become sermons, nothing I really want as an author.

More importantly and more tragic, I forget the most important thing that I really can do: love the people in front of me.

Writing is great. Stories are powerful. But to paraphrase the good old book, if I write the world’s best novel and have not love, well, what am I doing anyway?

Changing people is not my job. Writing words to unlock people’s hearts in just the right way is not my job. Loving people as I encounter them and writing with excellence, those two things are my job.

And believe me, that’s plenty.


Are there any areas in your life where you’ve piled on too much pressure? How has that affected that area of your life? Have you gained freedom by taking certain things less seriously or gained something else by pressing in a little more? Tell me in the comments below and if you want more content like this, feel free to follow my blog or social media accounts using the links in the sidebar. Thanks for reading!

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