By Tara Johnson

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
~ Thoreau

Each year, I meet countless people who tell me they dream of writing, but only a fraction of them take the first step. Why?

Here are the most common excuses that can derail our writing dreams:

  1. Fear of Failure

Writers fail all the time. That’s just part of the deal. But the good news is failure teaches us success. Yes, it’s true that if we don’t attempt something, we’ll never fail. It’s also accurate to say that if we never try anything new, we’ll never truly live. We only have one lifetime. We should fill it by pursuing things that thrill our soul.

  1. Fear of Rejection

We are not what we write. What we create is merely a product. When we refuse to let our worth be determined by outside sources, it makes criticism and rejection much easier to swallow. Not everyone will get us, our ideas, or our stories, but that’s okay. When this life is over, we won’t stand before a jury of our peers. We’ll stand before God alone. Pleasing Him is all that matters.

  1. Lack of Time

Most authors work full- or part-time jobs. They have families. Some homeschool. Some are caregivers for their parents. Some battle chronic health issues. When do they find time to write?

Serious writers sacrifice expendable things for an hour each day to create (television, chores, downtime . . . even sleep). We are all given the same amount of time in our daily allotment. What we do with that time is a reflection of our priorities. Is an hour too much? Start with 10 minutes. In one month, that’s 300 minutes of work on a story we didn’t have before.

  1. Perfectionism

The stories that slip from a writer’s fingers to the page are never perfect because the one doing the creating is flawed. Learning takes a lifetime. The pressure we put on ourselves to release a perfect product is unrealistic. Why? Because we’re always striving to improve. A superb story in our 80s does not negate a great story we created in our 40s. Both have value. Both have impact.

With each new story, my goal has become to write the best novel I can in the current life circumstance I’m navigating. God has been faithful to bridge the gap where my skill ends.

  1. Vulnerability

Not every story will require us to bleed on the page. There is a place for fun, lighthearted tales that do nothing more than make the reader laugh. But what if God is calling us to go deeper?

Writing from hard places takes courage. Ask yourself why you are terrified to be honest about your feelings and experiences. Wrestle it out with God. One of the greatest joys of writing is allowing Him to heal those broken places as you create.

  1. Inadequate Skills

No one is born knowing how to be an electrician or a heart surgeon. Every skill set is taught. Pick up a book on the craft of writing. Follow a blog. Take a class. In today’s world, the opportunities are limitless.

Ask God to make you fearless. Change your “What if I fail?” to “What if I succeed?” Do one thing to pursue your dream.

Still feeling stuck? In order to do something new, you’ll have to attempt something you’ve never tried before. CCW is here to help.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” ~ Zechariah 4:10 (NLT).

tara color cropped 2 - Tara Johnson (1)

Tara Johnson’s debut novel, Engraved on the Heart (Tyndale), earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a finalist in the Carol and Christy awards. She is a speaker, and her articles have appeared in Annie’s and Guideposts. In addition to being published in a variety of digital and print magazines, she is a certified body language expert and has been on radio, television, and podcasts. Tara will teach “Tightening Up Sagging Middles,” “Songwriting for Novel Writers,” and “Body Language 101” at the upcoming Cascade Christian Writers Conference, June 23–26 at Canby Grove Christian Center, Canby, Oregon. Visit our conference page for more information.