Encouragement

Søren Kierkegaard on Writing

Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and writer in the mid-1800s. His works have been highly influential for the past 170 years. He is not without his critics but a couple years ago Christianity Today ran an article titled, “Why We Still Need Kierkegaard.” My own journey has included wrestling with Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Deathand Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.

Recently I came across some journal entries found in The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard edited by Peter Rohde (on page 52).

From an entry in 1847:

Only when I write do I feel well. Then I forget all of life’s vexations, all its sufferings, then I am wrapped in thought and am happy. If I stop for a few days, right away I become ill, overwhelmed and troubled; my head feels heavy and burdened. So powerful an urge, so ample, so inexhaustible, one which, having subsisted day after day for five or six years, is still flowing as richly as ever, such an urge, one would think, must also be a vocation from God.

If these great riches of thought, still latent in my soul, must be repressed, it will be anguish and torture for me, and I shall become an absolute good-for-nothing. […]

May God then give me good fortune and succor and above all a certain spirit, yes, a certain spirit to resist the onslaughts of doubt and temptation that rise within me.

These words resonate because it is the universal condition of writers. The call, the urge, to write is part of who you are. However, notice his last sentence where he admits to “the onslaughts of doubt and temptation that rise within me.” This, again, is a universal condition. It is normal. Embrace it and pray that God will grant you the strength today to resist.

Then do it again tomorrow.

 

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Four Ways to Apprentice as a Writer

One of the things that struck me as I read Stephen King’s On Writing (besides his reliance on the “S” word!) was his depiction of some of his first steps as a writer. Back then, a fiction writer could cut his teeth, so to speak, writing for pulp magazines (Weird …

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Unnecessary Worry

In the third and final installment of my “unnecessary” series of blog posts, today we will explore the issue of unnecessary worry. (Yes, I am going for the “w” theme with the posts, starting with words, then work. I am a sucker for intentionality and the obvious.) For followers of …

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A Writer’s Hope Springs Eternal

Writers can be quietly optimistic amidst their seasons of doubt. It is that hope of success that helps make the daily slog a little easier. I reflected on hope by finding a few inspirational quotes: Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. …

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The Curse of the Writer

Speaking from an agent’s perspective…
I have more conversations with clients about their feelings of anxiety, apprehension or insecurity than almost any other topic. Almost every writer I have ever worked with as an editor or an agent severely doubts themselves at some point in the process.

Doubts occur in the midst of creation.
Doubts occur when the disappointing royalty statement arrives.
Doubts occur … just because…

It is the curse of the writer. Writing is an introspective process done in a cave…alone. It is natural to have the demons of insecurity whisper their lies. And, in a cave, the whispers echo and build into a cacophony of irrepressible noise.

Once I had an author with dozens of titles in print and over three million books sold turn to me and say with a somber voice, “Do I have anything left to say? Does anyone care?” I didn’t quite know how to reply so tentatively said, “Well, I like it!” The author responded with a grump, “But you are paid to like it.” After we laughed, we agreed that this lack of confidence would pass and ultimately was very normal.

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Fun Fridays – October 20, 2017

A change of pace today. Do yourself a favor. Set aside 10 minutes. Turn up your speakers. Quiet your mind and heart. Close your eyes. Then play this video. The song “Alleluia” by Eric Whitaker is performed. (There is nothing to watch, only the album cover is displayed.) While you …

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Oh, What a Time I’ve Had

There are so many things about being an agent that I love. Finding new writers whose work resonated with, and moved, me. Building relationships with my amazing clients. The joy of working with them on their projects. Playing “matchmaker” and finding just the right publisher for them. Seeing publishers treat …

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Write Every Day

A young writer penned these words: “I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to …

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Is Your Glass Half Empty?

Over the decades it has been interesting to listen to and read the various pundits regarding the publishing industry. Typically those who spell out doom and gloom get the attention (fortifying the idea that “if it bleeds, it leads”). At the same time there is the optimist position which is …

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The Writer’s Responsibility

When you decide to pursue writing as a career or even an avocation, you probably are unaware of the responsibility bestowed upon you by the decision. There is no official ceremony involved, but there should be. This responsibility will change the way you interact with friends and relatives. It could …

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