FCWC 2015 / The Insecure Writer’s Challenge

Greetings, fellow Faith & Culture Conferences attendees! It was great to spend this time with you connecting and learning.  Thanks so much for coming to my workshop.  Below you’ll find a number of resources I’d like to give you:

The Slide Deck.

The Presentation PDF

This is provided for your reference. This is copyrighted material and I ask that you not distribute it beyond your own personal use.

Resources to Help you Make Progress.

In this presentation, I suggest 4 challenges that will help you create good and beautiful work in spite of your insecurity and perfectionism. These are some practical resources that can help you with each of the challenges.

1. Face Your Story.

Your story is the internal narrative of your life. It is made up of your history (the events of your life, what you’ve done, what’s been done to you) and (more importantly) the meaning you’ve assigned to these experiences. Here are some resources that can help in this process:

  • Find a counselor. Finding a good counselor is really hard — it’s a bit like dating. There are many methodologies and perspectives, and not all of them are equally good or helpful. For this process you want to find a counselor who is willing to help you understand and process your story. The best way, of course, to find a good counselor is word-of-mouth where you can hear about someone’s experience. For Christians, please note: Just because a counselor identifies as Christian does not mean they are any good. A good counselor will not let their personal religious beliefs interfere their work with you, and quite frankly, a counselor who isn’t a part of your particular sub-culture can be excellent for helping you have some perspective on the parts of your story that you take for granted. Key words to listen for, when you interview a new counselor: trauma recovery, story work, narrative, history, etc.
  • A Quick Read. This post by Michael Hyatt is a quick example of how this principle impacts your life.
  • Read some books. Expand you understanding of how your story is impacting you.  Everything by Dan Allender is helpful. To be told, is a great starting point. Leading with a Limp, talks about the implications of your story on your leadership. The Healing Path is another of his that is excellent. Outgrowing the Pain by Eliana Gil focuses specifically on people dealing with trauma in their early life. For a more conservative Christian friendly angle, John Eldredge talks about this same principle in several books. The Sacred Romance and the Journey of Desire are both good.
  • The Storyline Process. Donald Miller has a number of great resources that can be a starting point. He wrote a workbook that walks you through this process called, Storyline: Finding your subplot in God’s story. The same material is expanded in an online course with video and some coaching. Both are affordable ways to start this process.
  • My own little book, Discovering Your Authentic Core Values, walks you through a process of self-discovery that is connected to knowing your story. The process in the book was really meaningful and helpful to me, and it might be a good start for you. (Of course, if you were there, you got a free copy!)

2. Get Honest (Give up trying to find your voice.)

Instead of trying to craft a unique voice, just work hard to tell the truth.  “When you write, tell the truth, tell your truth, and tell it as truthfully as you can bear.”  There’s no real steps to this, other than just doing it.  Here are some thoughts on the subject.

  • Don’t Avoid Painful Writing by Jeff Goins.
  • Why you should tell the ugly parts of your story by Jeff Goins.
  • OK, if you haven’t read it, stop right now. Do not pass go. Do not do anything else until you’ve read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott. This is one of the best books on writing that there is, and it directly tackles why your writing needs to be vulnerable.  Seriously.  If you haven’t read this, don’t do anything else until you have.

3. Act in Fear

The voices of your insecurity and fear will always tell you to back down from the things that evoke fear. If you back down you are letting them steal your growth and opportunity. So, do something. Here are a few ideas.  Whatever you choose, don’t wait.  Get started and begin acting while you fear.

  • Ready to start a blog? Follow this tutorial from Michaell Hyatt and get one going this weekend.
  • Have a book idea? Buy yourself a copy of Scrivener and use it to help you get your book organized. This is the best software for writing a book anywhere. I actually use it for all of my writing. Give yourself a daily word count.  I write 500 words a day minimum.  Most days I write more, but the 500 word commitment gets me rolling.
  • Need to get a proposal Started? Then write your proposal.  Michael Hyatt, who has been in publishing for eons has a template guide for a great proposal.  I used his template exactly in my book pitch and multiple agents asked for my full proposal. The process he takes you through (both for fiction and non-fiction) will help you sort out your book idea and get it in order.
  • Join or start a writers group and hold yourself accountable to write.

4. Be Generous

Every time you act in generosity you re-write your story. You move from a person who is living from scarcity to a person who is living as if they are enough.

On the adventure!

– Marc