Will They Like My Writing?

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. For relaxation, he writes westerns. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.

Every writer has doubts.

Again. EVERY writer is mired in doubt.

You and I are sitting at my kitchen table, talking this through.
We both have doubts. Sure, we’ve a few writing credits to our name. A blog
here. Maybe a published book or a few articles. I’ve won an award or two. I
share that one writer I spoke with is on his twelfth book and called me because he’s filled with doubts.

But not like our hero writer. Not like the one we emulate.
Because she’s got it all together.
Ahhh, forget it. It’s been a brutal day at work, and I’m in
no mood to write or talk, so I’m going for a jog. I’ll talk to you in a bit. You
head home.
My playlist rocks and rolls, pumping creative juices.
Cool winds brush across my skin, and my feet beat a steady
rhythm to the music, awakening joy in my soul. But fears about my writing drive a
frozen spike through any happiness. Worthless, pointless, unskilled and
readerless—the doubts drift through my mind. My running slows and I lower my
head. Writing is everything to me.
Then a song jars from my absurdly awesome playlist. Muppets.
Mahna Mahna. Do doo bedodo.
A fun song, no doubt, but not for this run. I reach up to
skip it.
Mahna Mahna. Do dodo do.
I pause. It’s God speaking. The song continues.
Mahna Mahna. Do doo bedodo.
I hold my thumb on the clicker. LEAVE IT
Come on, God. I have some amazing music on this playlist.
Some Christian tunes even.
I stop running and listen. There’s not a real word in the
entire song. Mahna Mahna is just
dribble. Worthless, pointless, unskilled, and amazing dribble. How could the
writer of that silly song know the meaningless words would make millions upon
millions of people happy?
My mouth opens wide. I play the song again as I sprint home to
call you.
Listen, I say in a rush. It’s not about the work and the
edits and the story. Sales aren’t our problem. Reviews…pshhh—we can’t
control them—and they weren’t written for us, anyway. In fact, it’s not about
us at all. God’s given us a passion. It’s inside us, and He wants us to write.
That’s it. There’s nothing more. Sure, we’re going to do our best to learn the
craft and market and stuff, but in the end, who knows how our writing will influence people? Yep,
that’s right. Only God.  

Good point, you say. You end the call, sit down, and push away
your doubts. Because you’re a writer. And the rest is in His hands.