About Natalie, As Author, Part 4: Challenges and, Yes, Terrors
I’d sure like for us to become better acquainted. It’s kind of awkward over the internet. However, I have a few Q&A items that might serve us to this end. Today’s centers on personal challenges I’ve experienced – and still experience – in my writing life.
I hope that you will comment below and introduce yourself, as well, and let me know what brought you here.
Thank you! In advance: it’s nice to meet you. To read the first three posts, click here.
I think I’m a bit of a slow worker. Fiercely determined and committed, but slow. Twelve years on a book? ‘Nuf said. I learn as I go—determined to figure out the landscape and challenges, both within and without, then how to overcome them. That’s probably a major contributor to this slowness. Another is probably my slowness in “getting” what God is trying to tell me, show me, or motivate me to do. Three of the clearest, most incisive “moments-that-happened-over-time” in my life, however, are (1) the sense of call to lifetime ministry, (2) the release from/direction to leave full-time ministry and attend seminary, and (3) the tapping to write the book I’ve just completed.
Despite that clarity and despite objectively observing my surprising tenacity despite all sorts of obstacles (“on accounta our obstakcles” – heh heh, a nod to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” sorry…); despite God’s continuous supply of enthusiasm and dedication to the project; and despite its recent completion, I am still terrified by the prospect of a successful reaction to the book and subsequent possible invitations to speak, as well as to produce other books or media.
I’m afraid of myself, really. I’m afraid that my slowness is actually something mental, something lacking, or some degree of adult ADD. I’m frequently distracted, which I find extremely frustrating. I’m afraid I will disappoint others who request future production from me in shorter periods of time than twelve years.
It’s ironic, really, because I appear very self-confident. I easily and enjoyably engage people of all ages, situations, and backgrounds. I am comfortable on stage in impromptu, even comedic, situations. I’ve sung solos for thousands; I can lead worship for as many. But when it comes to speaking with clarity and with engaging calls-to-action, I fall short of where I’d like to be. I think it’s because, ironically, I don’t think clearly on the fly. It takes me time—a lot of time, it seems—to formulate thoughts, to find a good explanation for a concept, or even simply to remember things that I myself have written. And my book is not only about faith, it’s about thought.
Whatever the book is about and whatever I lack, the book is coming; it’s what comes after that that gives me the shivers.
I think, in short, I fear looking foolish. Thinking about it now makes me want to vomit. This is where I cling to the Lord and benefit from the people and specific communities he places in my life to affirm and bolster my gifts, talents, and calling. These have included my husband, some family members, my dearest friends, my D.Min. mentor and cohort, my professors, some church family members through the years, women I’ve met through the Synergy network, my writing critique/helping groups, and my current writers Guild, the Redbud Writers Guild. I need and blossom under the help and encouragement of these important people that God has placed into my life.
For a writer, a community of other writers – and in my case, women in particular but not solely – who are serious about their writing craft, developing themselves, and reaching out helpfully to the world through writing as a calling seriously helps me grow and face whatever God has in store. It also helps to hear from folks I’ve not met yet, to hear whether something I’ve written has impacted them positively, particularly for their growth in better understanding God’s Word.