#5. Thick Skin

No one wants to read your stuff. Not even your mom. You are too politically incorrect. You can’t write. Who do you even read? “I think _______can always write better than you, all the time.” Stephen King already wrote that and he will never die. And even if he does, he will still pop out 100 books a year. P.S. Annie Dillard will always be smarter than you.

Whose a better writer than you? Are you ready for the list? Okay, might as well take that trip you’ve always wanted because this will take a little bit of time to load. Here’s a better question, Are you a better writer today than you were two weeks ago? Are you doing the things now to be a better writer a year from now? If not, then you’ve got to ask yourself, what is stopping you. I mean really, if you want to be an author, a published (many times over) author, then what is stopping you?

I think for most of us, if it isn’t laziness, it is fear. Fear is a powerful motivator that makes us stay put. We can hear our muse telling us to trust, when hidden in the recesses of our psyche is fear. We are afraid of the commitment a book takes. We are afraid of the countless rejections writers are guaranteed. We are not so much afraid of even a quarter of the success of say, J.K . Rowling, but of the work required to be successful. We are afraid of the loneliness success demands. Or maybe we are afraid to succeed. Maybe we are afraid to be loved because we can’t love ourselves.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30) found in the New Testament, the Master of talents doles out three portions of talents. Two of the men who receive, venture forth, take risks, and gain rewards when the Master comes around the second time to take account. But the one who failed had only himself to blame. He failed because he cast his own judgement of failure on the gift itself, therefore he buried his talent and lost everything in the end.

“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou…slothful servant…Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

It was fear and the judgement pronounced by fear that made the man, with the least, bury his talent and wait for salvation. And what is a writer’s salvation, if not readers? And what guarantees objective readers more than the published work of a writer?

When I played football I wore pads and a helmet to help cushion the blows. When I would dive into mosh pits in the 90s, I would wear a mouth guard. When warriors go into battle they wear protection. But to get the edge in any battle it takes not only protective gear, but a different mindset. Indian warriors would paint their faces and their horses. WWII pilots would paint their planes. As a writer, our protection, and our edge, must be in developing a thicker skin and tougher mindset.

We are at war with fear. Like Steve Harvey preaches, we must take the leap with parachute in hand, and jump off the cliff. We are guaranteed to be hurt on the way down, but this must be. It is the only way our parachute will open. It is the only way we will fly.


One thought on “#5. Thick Skin

  1. As I was reading about the parable of the talents, I was struck by “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” Thy talent, and lo, there thou hast that is thine. I never caught that before. The talent is not ours, it is the Lord’s. Gives the parable a new meaning to me.
    Thank you for writing!


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