One of the biggest obstacles I faced in becoming a writer was fear. What if I wrote for years and never got published? What if I was no good? What if people laughed? I was so afraid of failing and of being criticized that my husband was the only person who knew I wanted to write. One day during my quiet time, I realized fear was killing my dream. I needed to trust God and take the seeds of my dream into the sunlight so they could grow. I had to risk calling myself a writer.
Not long afterwards, I was writing on a Saturday morning while my children played nearby and my husband taught music lessons to a parade of students. One young man awaiting his turn wandered up to me and asked, “Whatcha doing?”
I hesitated. Should I admit to this 16 year-old stranger that I wanted to be a writer? I decided to overcome my fear and trust God. “I’m writing a novel,” I replied. “I’m a writer.”
“That’s really cool,” he said with a huge grin. “My mom is a writer, too. You should meet her sometime.”
I was speechless! When I could finally talk I asked, “What does she write?”
“We’re Christians,” he said. “She writes devotional books for Moody Press in Chicago.”
The following week, Glenn’s mother came with him for his lesson. And from that day on, this gifted Christian writer, Alma Barkman, took me under her wing and mentored me. In a Canadian city of more than 300,000 people, God had brought a published Christian author right to my doorstep and into my life. I wonder where I would be today if I had been too fearful to call myself a writer?
One of the first things Alma did was invite me to her writers’ critique group. Again, fear nearly defeated me. How could I possibly read my feeble work in front of other people? And risk criticism? No way! But I set aside my fear—and quickly realized how helpful it is to have unbiased readers critique my work. I had to leave this group when we moved, but one of the first things I did in our new location was form a critique group. Two dear friends from that new group, Jane Rubietta and Cleo Lampos, have now been meeting with me for 21 years. None of us had published a single word when we began. Now, we all have multiple books to our names.
Whatever your dream is, don’t let fear hold you back a single day longer. Bring your dream into the sunlight where it can grow. I promise you, God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).