May 26, 2017

Construction Zone Ahead by Marnie Pohlmann

living the dream
A few years ago, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a 30-day motorcycle trip. We started by riding from British Columbia through Alberta to Saskatchewan for our son's wedding festivities. Then we meandered down to the United States, through Montana, across Idaho, along the Oregon Coast, up through Washington's Okanogan County and back into Canada's Okanagan Valley. We then headed over to Vancouver Island to celebrate the wedding of friends, and back north to home in the BC Peace Region.

We saw beautiful scenery, encountered both sun and storms, rode in highway traffic and secondary road serenity. We experienced good days and bad days - just like 30 years of marriage has ups and downs.

stop light in the middle of nowhere
Another kind of encounter we had on our trip which is like marriage was traveling through construction zones. On busy highways, traffic was reduced to one lane. In the middle of nowhere temporary stop lights directed the sporadic flow of vehicles over a single-lane bridge. 


Road to the Sun
On top of Montana's "Road to the Sun" in Glacier National Park, workers were repairing the twisty, narrow highway, and with the heavy fog and rain of that day, it appeared they were hanging off a cliff on the edge of the world. Some day we need to do that Road to the Sun in the sun so we can see the grand vistas that were hidden by the weather.


slip sliding along
Closer to home, in the Pine Pass, we road through slippery, deep mud. Thankfully, the flag person waved motorcycles to the front of the line, just behind the pilot car, so we did not have to contend with the flying mud and wheel ruts left by the trucks in the long line of impatient vehicles.


There are not many trips we have taken when we have not come upon a construction zone. Funny how we remember those short times of inconvenience more than we appreciate when the road is clear and smooth.

When I think of construction zones I see a picture of the out-of-my-comfort zones of faith, writing, and life in general.

Construction zones seem to be everywhere throughout our travels. Out-of-my-comfort zones also seem to be everywhere. Parenting, healing, moving, new jobs. My whole life has been filled with uncomfortable times, often when I am in a construction zone of faith. Like construction zones, out-of-my-comfort zones can be found during the quiet and the busy, in the lows and the highs, in the light and the dark of life. I seem to notice them more than when I’m traveling along in a comfort zone.

motorcycles use extra caution
With all those areas of discomfort, I wondered if I have ever actually been in a comfort zone. What is a comfort zone, anyway? Perhaps there are no rules to comfort zones. No boundaries, no limits, no timelines. A comfort zone for some is being alone, for others, it is being with people. For some, it is being Martha and for others, it is being Mary. Each one is different. So, if comfort zones are so varied, can we really be out of a comfort zone? Perhaps comfort zones are just good roads with a few cracks starting. So when we feel out of our comfort zone we are simply in a comfort zone that is undergoing construction.

Construction zones may be a delay, a short detour, or a rough and muddy section. The delays of construction indicate better roads ahead so our future travel will be smoother. Being out of my comfort zone is also a time of construction, building in me a skill and a will for something still to come.

Many years ago, part of my Administrative Secretary Certificate college course included a class on public speaking. Why would a secretary need to learn to give speeches? Yet each week my classmates and I prepared and presented Toastmaster-type monologues. Years later, that time of skill building provided direction for me to navigate some of the expectations of being a pastor's wife - giving a devotional at a baby shower, speaking at ladies’ meetings and a retreat, or leading communion and impromptu prayer times. And these out of my comfort zone times are preparing me, perhaps, for a future adventure of author readings.

The journey from shame-filled young woman to introvert but stepping out in faith woman took much construction, many delays, and more than a few detours. When I think of times where I felt out of my comfort zone, in hindsight I was not truly out of my comfort zone, because God had already paved the way, preparing and training me for the next section of road.

As a meme on Facebook said, "Sorry for the inconvenience - I am under construction." Still. My life is a never-ending out of my comfort construction zone. Praise God! The adventure of my ride in life continues.  How is your adventure? Do you trust God to pave the way?

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)




Writer-biker Marnie lives her life under construction in northern BC. Travel the road with her at Phosphorescent, her blog about absorbing and reflecting God's light on the adventures of life.

May 25, 2017

Finding Comfort By Vickie Stam


Proverbs 3:24  "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."


I find comfort in the places where I feel safe and secure. The places that provide some sense of certainty, familiarity and  inner peace. Whether I'm basking in the light of day or sleeping soundly beneath the shade of the moon, I long to feel comfortable. Find a place where I am the most relaxed.      

In December of 2016, my husband, Tony and I moved off of our farm. We sold the operation and retired from raising pigs. With that change came a new construction. We had a house built and moved our belongings to the beautiful shores of Lake Erie.  

But, everything here is quite different from the farm life that we were once used to. Gone is the familiarity of our daily routine. No more early mornings. No more wretched smell of manure wafting in the air. 

We're now looking out our windows at the vast expanse of a lake and not looking across the fields of corn, wheat, or soybeans. We're now living in close proximity with our neighbours. The noise of the water pressing closer and closer to shore is much louder than the gentle whisper of the corn stocks as they brush against one another in the breeze. Still, I am enjoying the transition. Our new surroundings are breathtaking!   

Having moved a great number of times throughout the years, I have experienced the fear of the unknown, lost my sense of security and was forced to step outside of my comfort zone. Establish new friendships. Learn to meander through new territory. Yes, I've done it in the past, but it wasn't always easy. I think the repetitive packing of my belongings as many times as I have done it, definitely made the moving process less traumatic for me - easier to embrace it. 

"You could make a home out of box," Tony has said on more than one occasion. He means no disrespect when he says this. In-fact, he is complimenting me on how well I've handled each of the moves we've made during our marriage. I take comfort just knowing that the home is ours. The pictures on the walls capture the essence of our lives.    

Moving wasn't always easy for me. As a child, it was disruptive to me. Difficult! I was shy. Making new friends, took some time. They usually had to approach me first. Of course I never had any say in the matter. I was simply forced to accept the decision my parents had made. 

After a considerable amount of conversation and prayer, Tony and I chose to leave the farm and move to the lake. A decision we did not make lightly.

The walls here in our new home are much like the walls in our old house, except that there's a little grumbling going on - a shifting that's taking place. Every now and then after the walls have spoken, I discover a dreaded nail pop. A sign of stress.  

I trust that the builder did everything he could to minimize the risk of such stress, ease the pain of the home settling, yet the builder could not totally eliminate it. But it's nothing that a putty knife and some patching compound can't fix. 

Ah yes...even the walls of my house seem a little fragile these days, somewhat like the walls of my heart. God is all powerful and loving. He is my builder. He tries to minimize the risk of uncertainty in my life by giving me a free will. Even so, bad things still happen to me. I still suffer. My heart still aches. I'm not always comfortable! A putty knife and Pollyfilla can't mend these walls. Only he can. But, he never promised me a smooth ride.     

I can't always see God's will in the face of trials. I have to look back when the pain is less burdensome. Try to see him at work in my life. Search for the blessing in the storm. I hear the words of advice from my earthly father who always tells me to, "keep putting one foot in front of the other." 

God offers me a sense of comfort among the stories that I write. My words are the stepping stones, the ones that I use to describe every twist and turn, every bridge I cross and every mountain I climb. In my time of joy and sadness, I write in hopes that my stories might resonate with others.  


 





May 22, 2017

A Comfort Zone Without a Comforter by Alan Anderson



I love the writing prompt for this month. I want to give it a big verbal kiss! It has made me think deep and to choose my words with caution. The ghost of my “comfort zone” is looking over my shoulder as I write this autobiographical post.


The theme for this month’s blog is, “Out of your comfort zone.” Here are the prompt questions I will cover. “When has God nudged you out of your comfort zone, either in your faith life or your writing life? What fears did you face? What steps did you take (or not take) to leave your comfort zone? And what were the results? (Or perhaps God is nudging you now…)”


Please allow me to set the scene a bit for you. I lived my childhood primarily in a fantasyland of my own making. From my early years I tried to escape real life and what it confronted me with. I was shy, quiet and just wanted people to leave me alone. I took each day as it came. That was life. I didn’t expect anything special to come my way. As long as I could stay within myself it was okay. My life at this early age was my comfort zone. It was a comfort zone without a comforter.


When has God nudged you out of your comfort zone, either in your faith life or your writing life?” When I became aware of God’s love for me things changed slowly. I had to be sure God was real. That too would come slowly. My early thoughts of God were He was a big Meany! He was a Judge and I didn’t need another judge.


What fears did I face?
At first I didn’t face my fears for the most part because there were too many. I hid from them. They were bigger than me. I began to use humour to help me hide from me. In time, in years of time, humour would help me form a relationship with the world and myself. Humour slowly helped me face my fears by not allowing them to rule me anymore.


“What steps did you take (or not take) to leave your comfort zone?” I always took slow and small steps. I guess somewhere along the way of supposedly growing up, I wanted to have a less fearful relationship with life. My shyness pretty well stayed part of me into my teen years. I still much preferred my own company to that of having other people around. I worked hard at my self-awareness, at finding out about myself. That is still part of my journey today.


“And what were the results?” I began to come out of my comfort zone and saw the needs of others. To this day I resonate with those who hurt. I seem to naturally come alongside those in need of an ear and heart to listen to them. I guess in some way, I am a comforter to some.


 Even today I still have lots to learn about people, other God and myself. I think even with my last breath I will be amazed that God ordained me for good works. He ordained me? Me? I am thankful He knows what He is doing. I have a Comforter who is in the business of looking beyond my “comfort zone” and accepting me for who He made me to be. I’m cool with that now!




Blog: ScarredJoy@wordpress.com

May 21, 2017

Comfort-Another Setting on the Dryer? by Jocelyn Faire


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaȉs Nin


My life has been turned upside down and inside out for the past twelve years. The word comfort seemed contradictory to the reality of life. How do we even define comfort? As a nurse the term comfort measures is one of the options for end of life living. This designation indicates that the patient has lived her life and death is near; a miracle is needed to bring back life.

There was not a comfortable moment in the writing of my book Who is Talking Out of My Head-Grief as an Out of Body Experience, other than knowing I had to do it. I had been given a story, I had had to live through a story, and I knew that I was supposed to share it. In many ways, I became the reluctant author.


What were the hurdles faced?


Fear of the outcome, fear of vulnerability—why would I put my struggles of grief out there for anyone else to see or to judge? Why? Because, when I was in the darkest of places, I wanted to hear from someone else who had gone through such pain and lived. The biggest hurdles were to believe that I could do it, to believe that I had been called to write it and to relinquish the outcome to God. The next big hurdle was to start. I knew God had asked me to share my story, but what did that mean? Obedience was the motivator to get me moving. And so I began typing. I started to take writing courses. Some days the words flowed, and many days the tears flowed more heavily than the words. It took three years to get to the point where I felt I could begin to think of publishing. And then I asked for professional help to edit the manuscript. If I was going to put the book out, I wanted it to be well done. I began to understand the need to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own story of loss. Most importantly I also experienced the comfort of a God who walks alongside.


“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ― Brené Brown


What were the results?


As I wrote my way through the experience of the sudden loss of two beautiful children, God and I wrestled on the Big Issues. I became a student of The Meaning of Life 101, following the journey of the questions. My appreciation for the bigger picture of life and its beauty increased tremendously. The most impactful results were the connections with others who had also experienced significant loss. A most recent affirmation came last month when an aboriginal woman, who had been a foster teenager in my sister's house some forty years ago, asked if she could meet me. Doris had lived through many horror stories herself. My sister had given Doris a copy of my book for her 55th birthday. Doris wanted to thank me personally for writing. She was very nervous to meet us, waiting outside in her vehicle until her grandson, who had driven her told her she could not stall any longer. We welcomed her with hugs and coffee.

She looked at me and said, “I have to tell you, that I have not read a book since high school, and I could not put your book down. Even when I went to Bingo I took it along, and in between the calling of numbers I continued to read. I think I have had this sadness for so long, that I had forgotten how to laugh. Your words brought hope.” Her words moved me.


You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn't you be talking about it? Isaiah: 48, The Message



How do I continue to step out of my comfort zone? Life gets busy and I am private about my story, but when the spirit nudges me to share my words with people, I want to be open. One thing I hope to do is to end the six month hiatus I have taken from my Wordpress blog site. I'm still learning to be willing to share things I've learned along the way, to be sensitive to the journey others are on, to be willing to enter into their pain, and to be a walking reminder that there is much beauty and joy in this world.



Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head-Grief as an Out of Body Experience. She is a seeker of beauty, a grandmother and world traveller-wanna-be.


May 20, 2017

Uncomfortable Places by Joylene M. Bailey





I would have to say that I have lived most of my life outside my comfort zone. This may have more to do with who I am, than the places my life took me. I am an extreme introvert, but my life experiences have taught me how to live in an extroverted world.

From the time I was 4 years old, I was on stage, singing with my family.

“On stage” is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there because I practiced being outside my comfort zone.

As I was growing up, we moved a lot.
New places. New neighbourhoods. New schools.
Being thrust into situations with strangers is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there now because I was often placed outside my comfort zone.

In my teen years, Mom & Dad invited new people over for dinner every single Sunday. It was a way for them to get to know a new congregation.

For me, it was not comfortable having strangers come IN to my comfort zone – my home. But the experience taught me to look outside myself and realize it might be uncomfortable for those coming IN too. Maybe they felt outside their comfort zone in my comfort zone.

Strangers in my home is not a comfortable place, but I am comfortable there because I have learned to consider others.

After I got married, we moved to the farmhouse where my husband grew up.

Barn, chickens, pigs, horses, country sewer systems … all new for this city girl. And because my husband traveled a lot for work, I was often on my own dealing with this new life, and these new situations.
It was not a comfortable place for me, but it became comfortable as I lived it. I learned I could do anything I set my mind to.

Years later, our young adult daughter battled anorexia. This is not a comfortable place for a parent, let alone the sufferer. Every day – every moment – is new and unexpected terrain. The roadblocks and switchbacks are enough to make any parent go hide in a cave and never come out!

I can’t say I ever became comfortable with anorexia but I received true comfort from the Comforter, and learned that His grace was sufficient for every day and every moment; that I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

All of the uncomfortable places I’ve been in my life have made me comfortable in uncomfortable places. It also made me an amazing observer – something I use in my writing and in my everyday encounters.

In this modern world everything seems to scream,
Go!
Push those comfort zones!
Get the word out!
Spread the gospel!
Build your platform!
Make a name for yourself!
Become!

Instead, I seem to be hearing God tell me, “It’s okay to be comfortable. Live your life. And as you are living it, use the uncomfortable places I have brought you through to serve me.”

So, I will go where He leads. Using what I know, I will write, for whatever genre He asks me to write.
But I’m realizing that it is actually okay to be in a comfort zone. Life is not always about pushing boundaries. It’s about listening for the LORD’s voice and following Him.


And in so doing, He will use the uncomfortable places He has brought me through.





All photos courtesy of Joylene M. Bailey.


Joylene has left her Cowboy, Babe and a cat named Calvin to fend for themselves while she currently writes from a wonderful comfort zone in Gimli, Manitoba where she is helping out with newborn twin grandsons. What could be happier? Check out more of her writing at Scraps of Joy



May 19, 2017

Good Bye Ruts by Eunice Matchett


I like ruts.

Over the last nine years I’ve carved out a nice, comfy, deep one for myself. Everything in my life had a place and everything was in its place.

Then, about this time last year, something kicked a honking big hole in the side of my rut and my life imploded.

With little warning, my son, Lance, who, as most of you know suffers with MS, decided to try stem cell therapy. Not a biggie, except it was in San Diego. But, because my rut was so organized, all preparations, passports, hotels, flights, were soon completed with time to spare. Or so I thought.

Six weeks before the treatment, it was moved forward a month, and all my well-organized preparations went out the window. On top of that, a wonderful man came into my life. From the first moment I saw him, I knew there was something very special about him. But this was not the time to be thinking about myself.  After all, priorities are priorities.

The day before the therapy, Lance and I checked into our hotel room well past midnight. Lance was so weak from travel he could hardly sit up in his wheelchair. We got into our room and it hadn’t been made up from its latest occupant. After a lengthy apology, the hotel staff brought us clean linen, but had mistakenly brought all flat sheets and no fitted ones. We waited, and waited, and waited for his return. Lance’s head hung over his knees more, and more, and more. Almost to the point of a summer-sault position. I grabbed a sheet off the pile and made his bed myself. Then my own. Still no fitted sheets arrived.

I checked my email messages. At the very end was a one-line message from my new friend. I’m still praying for you. Too tired to think about replying, I crawled into bed and fell asleep.

The next morning, I noticed the diamond in my engagement ring, my tangible connection to Alex, my husband who passed away nine years ago, was missing. Devastated, I went into the bathroom where Lance couldn’t see me, and cried until my tears were spent. I removed the pathetic-looking ring and tucked it away in my purse. This was not the time to deal with the loss.

Later, as I lifted Lance into his wheelchair, a sunbeam came through the hotel window and something glittered in the pool of light on the floor. I investigated closer. It was my diamond. As I carefully placed it with the ring, the one-line email message from the night before wandered into my thoughts. My breath dried up. I’d been too tired and too preoccupied to respond. Guilt rushed into my thoughts, but it didn’t last long before a familiar comfort wrapped around me.

I  zipped up the little compartment in my purse with the broken ring safely inside and closed my eyes. “Ok, Lord,” I prayed. “You have my attention. I’m stepping aside so I don’t mess up what you are about to do.”

That was ten months ago. My well-organized rut has gone on a permanent vacation. My life is all over the place now, but because I recognised the warm, cuddly feeling that accompanies a whisper from the Holy Spirit, it no longer matters. Two months from now, I will marry the wonderful author of that one-lined message that arrived during one of the darkest moments of my life.

May 17, 2017

The Ordinary Nowhere - By Rohadi


When Lucy first emerged from the wardrobe into the land of Narnia, her first encounter was a lit lamp post, out of place in the middle of the forest. It didn’t matter which direction Lucy took beyond the lamp, it served as confirmation for the path home when she decided to return.

Christians often dwell in the tension of direction, especially when it comes to making important decisions. It’s human nature to consider all of the options in the wake of potential change. It’s also human nature to preserve status quo than to branch out into the unknown. It’s safer to do nothing. That’s why most potential heroines are just that, potential heroines, opting to remain in the confines of the Ordinary World over the risk of crossing the threshold into the Special World.

We want to make the “right” choice, ensuring we hear clearly from God before moving. But unfortunately, this leads to a space where we become frozen in place, never venturing beyond, “I’ll pray about it”.

We pray for the obvious, the proverbial “call" from God, to confirm beyond doubt where we go next. We’re hoping for a literal voice, a phone call from the heavens, something so obvious it makes our decision and direction easy. In our wait for ease we stay put. 

It’s so easy to stay put.

There are certain times of pause and wait, but we must balance these times with the consistent drive to move forward. The mere act of movement, not necessarily the "right" move, is a key to biblical calling. There are a few literal callings in scripture. The church receives one in Ephesians 4. You and I receive a calling at the end of Matthew 28. Then we have the foundational call as believers in John, to love one another. 

What if we’ve received all the calling we need, and what’s left is the movement to “Go”? Could it be that God's already given the pieces we need to make choices as we go? And that our equipping is reliant upon us taking the first step along the new path? 

Maybe we make change harder than it has to be? 

But then doubt emerges and we invariably ask again and again, “which path is the right path?!” So we await confirmation from God and the cyclical cycle of staying put begins again. 

I suppose we can wait. God does speak in mysterious ways but consider this. The next time you’re facing the fork in the road mulling the options consider Lucy. She had no path.

What if we’ve been given all of the pieces we need to choose direction and all that’s left is to, “go”? What if all we get as we go are tantalizing lamp posts along the way confirming that regardless of which path we take God will follow our choice?

She had no path, only the will to move into the allure of the unknown. 



_________


Rohadi blogs at his website www.rohadi.com. He released an adult coloring book last year called, Soul Coats. Recently, he co-launched a new church plant in Calgary called, Cypher Church

May 16, 2017

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone by Nina Faye Morey


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

For many years, I wrote mainly for my own personal pleasure. I’d had a few poems and other pieces published in the Western Producer’s “Young Co-operator’s Club” as a teenager. But, as I grew older, other things in life took precedence over my dream of becoming a published writer.

Then in 2004, God nudged me out of my comfort zone. I felt a sudden urge to see if I could actually get my writing published in newspapers and magazines. With time swiftly passing, I decided I had to try now if I was ever going to see that dream fulfilled. So I stepped out in faith and submitted my first article to a farm publication.


First Article I Wrote, Submitted to and Published by Grainews

What God wants, God enables. Shortly after, the editor called to talk with me about revising and resubmitting my article. She assured me she was interested and stated the deadline to resubmit it. I did as she requested, and it was accepted! Thus, my first article, “Is Santa Claus Real?” was published in Grainews in December 2004. That was followed by several other articles, short stories, and poems published in Grainews, The Manitoba Co-operator, The Prairie Messenger, The Canadian Messenger, The Prairie Journal, FellowScript, and Write On!

Some of My Stories Published in The Canadian Messenger

Soon the finger of God pointed me in another direction. I submitted a couple of pieces that were accepted by a Christian anthology. When Sheila Webster dropped by to deliver my copies of InScribe’s 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers in the summer of 2015, she offered me the position of columns editor for FellowScript magazine. I’d become comfortable as a writer—but an editor? Could I do that? I had no previous editing experience! I asked why she’d chosen me. She explained she’d been impressed by the grammar and writing skills I’d displayed in articles I’d submitted and published through some FellowScript Writing Contests and assignments I’d submitted for the FellowScript Free Writing Course she’d offered in 2015.

First Devotional and First Anthology

It wasn’t long before the hand of God nudged me out of my comfort zone once more. Sheila asked me to consider taking over as FellowScript’s editor-in-chief, expressing again her faith in my ability. At first, I accepted. Then I got cold feet and declined. She persisted; I vacillated some more. Sheila was determined and patient, reassuring me that I had the skills required. Finally, I succumbed to her persuasive powers when she promised to be available to help me if needed for the first couple of issues. But she was confident I’d be fine on my own. I’m not really sure how she knew, although I believe God had placed that assurance in her heart.

However, fear still gripped my heart. Was I really ready to step into Sheila’s shoes? What if I wasn’t up to the task? I had to remind myself of the lesson I’d previously learned—sometimes you just have to step out in faith and tackle opportunities, despite your fears. I’d already done that several times. So once again I stepped up to the plate, taking on the challenge of becoming FellowScript’s editor-in-chief. 
First Magazine as Editor

God was right! Sheila was right! “You took to it like a duck to water,” she remarked later. So I’ve discovered I’m capable of editing a magazine, and I’m feeling comfortable in that role now. I thoroughly enjoy being FellowScript’s editor-in-chief and trust God will continue to give me the ability and strength needed to carry out this special assignment He’s given me.

I can’t wait to cross the next stepping stone He places on my writing path!


Photo Credits: © 2017 Nina Faye Morey


May 15, 2017

The Discomfort Zone - Tracy Krauss

I'm sure we've all had to 'step outside our comfort zones' at some point in our lives. Maybe it was that first time you had to speak in front of a group of people, or maybe it was left to you to share some bad news with a friend. Whatever the scenario, we've all been there. This month we're discussing this topic, especially as it relates to our lives as writers.

I had to step outside my comfort zone many times during my adventure toward publication. It started as far back as when I finished my first manuscript. I had laboured over that first story for years, (literally) and finally came to the point where I had to let somebody read it. It seems silly now, but I remember being so apprehensive. Of course, my goal was publication, yet I really wasn't sure I was ready to let anyone read what I had written! Writing is so PERSONAL. Handing over one's baby for the first time can be a really scary experience.

The next big 'discomfort' was receiving my first rejections. The rejection 'form letters' filtered in and I was soon to realize that this 'becoming an author thing' was not going to be as easy as I had first imagined. Then I got my first real critique.  I was shocked, hurt, and even angry - until the truth of what was being said sank in. Suddenly, what they were saying made so much sense. My stylistic errors were suddenly glaringly obvious. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it myself. Since then, I've learned to value every piece of criticism I receive. They are actually gifts that sharpen the craft and makes one a better writer in the end.

Looking back, these were easy 'discomforts' to overcome. Much more difficult is all the self promotion that seems to be part and parcel of being an author. I'm okay when others give me genuine praise, but 'blowing my own horn' is unnerving. It's something that takes time, practice, and a healthy dose of humility.

I'm not normally a person who likes a lot of attention - a bit of a paradox for someone involved in the theatre. (Perhaps the difference is that when acting, you aren't trying to be yourself. You're pretending to be someone else.) As an author, however, I'm baring my soul to the world, bracing for the criticism that is bound to come. This is the real me, even if I'm writing fiction. Hopefully, there will be a bit of positive feedback as well, but the fear of the negative is often worse than the real thing itself. There is a sense that in the midst of all the self-hype, someone will notice that I'm actually a fraud.

This kind of negative self-talk is at the root of many of our insecurities as authors. I like how Jeff Goins in his Writers' Manifesto, encourages us to step out of that realm:

“Writers don’t write to get published. They write for another reason. This is the first and only lesson every writer must learn. Writers don’t write for recognition. They don’t do it for fame, accolades or notoriety. They do it because they cannot NOT write. By their gifts and under the authority of a higher calling, they are compelled to create. To wonder. To dream. To express...
We must put these ideas of fame and reward to death. They have no place in the creative process. The true writer simply shows up. Ready to do the work - whether the work is successful or acknowledged or important. And they do this everyday. Even without applause. 
Of course there is a great irony to all of this... fasting from acclaim liberates us... Here is the paradox: as we care less about our audience’s affections more people will be affected.
- Jeff Goins, The Writers Manifesto


A little bit of discomfort actually helps us to grow. I'll end with some encouraging words from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase:

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6: 4 – 5 (Message)