How is your writing coming along this year?
For many of us, it might be stagnating a bit or not going as well as we had anticipated at the beginning of the new year. Sometimes that stagnation or hesitation to write is related to our mindset. There are several different things that go into that, which I’m going to share in this blog post.
Cultivating a Christian Author’s Mindset
I try to read every day in God’s word. Sometimes I only get five minutes in, sometimes I get up to an hour-and-a-half. Well, recently, as I was reading Luke 5:4, five words that Jesus spoke jumped out at me:
“Launch out into the deep.” (Luke 5:4, NKJV)
These five words lead us to the first of four mindset cultivation points:
#1 Don’t stay in the shallows – be willing to go beyond your comfort zone.
Jesus initially entered a boat that was anchored just a little way into the shallows so he could speak to the crowd on the shore. But when he was done speaking, he told the disciples to launch the boat out into the deep.
So how does this apply to your Christian author’s mindset?
Well, when you first begin writing, there’s a lot to learn. So you take courses, you listen to webinars, you go to conferences – all the things. And they’re good things!
But it’s easy to get stuck in the shallows of education.
There comes a time when you have to leave the comfort and safety of the shallows and launch into the deep to move your book forward.
This means putting all your education into practice. This is often becomes a bit more complicated and time consuming than we initially thought it would be. This can cause frustration that can lead to procrastination. We just want to do the things that are fun and that we enjoy, right?
But writing, self-publishing, and marketing a book take work:
- We often have to create necessary components like a website and a newsletter list.
- We need to improve our writing craft.
- We need to navigate the self-publishing process if we’re going that route or
- Learn how to complete a book proposal if we’re going that direction.
- Sometimes we need to obtain necessary funding to complete our project, especially for self-publishing.
- And we always need to actively promote our book.
Each of these projects requires a multitude of smaller actions behind the scenes. Remember:
Action leads to traction.
Each small step that you complete takes you closer to your bigger goal, which builds your confidence and often leads to more opportunities.
It all begins with obedience through action. Launch yourself out into the deep.
The second way to cultivate a Christian author’s mindset is to …
#2 Keep your focus on your calling, not your circumstances.
It’s easy to look at other writers and assume that theirs was an easy path or that they must have had connections in the publishing industry.Or we come up with excuses for why we can’t do things like videos or public speaking or become successful at marketing in general.
But none of those things are accurate, nor are they God honoring. Rather, they’re forms of envy and fear.
And what does the Bible say about envy and fear? We’re to cast away envy and fear not.
I recognize that’s easier for me to say here in the U.S. than for some of the writers around the world who are listening to this podcast. They might be in a location that is experiencing literal, physical persecution of Christians. If that’s you, you have legitimate fears for your own safety and for that of your loved ones.
But God’s commands and promises remain true regardless of our circumstances.
Repeatedly, the Bible tells us to “fear not.” In the book of Mark, Jesus asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (4:40). And again, in Mark 5:36, Jesus commands us, “Do not be afraid, only believe.”
May we stop looking at our current circumstances and instead focus on our callings. Take small steps every day in your author journey, seeking God’s guidance and praying for Holy Spirit strength every step of the way.
- We’re not to act rashly or indifferently.
- We’re to be aware of our surroundings.
- And we’re to write, publish, and market our books humbly, wisely, and confidently.
That’s a big one:
We need to act confidently in what God has called us to do.
All right, moving on to point three of how to cultivate a Christian author’s mindset:
#3 Don’t fear failure.
This might be really hard, especially if you’re a perfectionist.
This type of fear is actually a form of pride. If we’re honest with ourselves, we innately want to be successful. But the unfortunate reality is that our definition of success is often vastly different from God’s definition of success. And therefore, our definition of failure is also often vastly different from His.
- We may want our books to become bestsellers, or
- we may want unbelieving readers to be won to Christ by the words that we write, or
- we may want believers to be transformed in some way by our words.
We would therefore do well to remember Acts 28:24, which says, “Some were persuaded by what he said. But others did not believe.”
That scripture is referring to the Apostle Paul. He was a gifted and passionate speaker, yet he wasn’t able to get everyone to believe in Christ the Savior.
Similarly, our words by themselves can’t save people.
It’s God who enables the words of our books to pierce hearts and convict readers’ minds.
We can’t change anyone, but God can work through us and our words to effect tangible, eternal change in the lives of others.
We just have to step out in faith and write what he tells us to write.
Imagine if the prophets and apostles hadn’t bothered to write what they were told to write. We wouldn’t have the Bible, the living word of God.
And finally, the last point that will help us to develop a Christian author’s mindset is …
#4 Don’t rely on past results.
In Luke 5, we’re told that the disciples had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything. Yet after Jesus was done teaching all the people on the shore, he told the disciples to launch out into the deep – to go back out and let down their nets for food.
“They caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking.” They actually filled two boats with fish! Simon Peter and all those who were with him, it says, “were astonished at the catch of fish, which they had taken.”
Now let’s relate this to your author mindset.
If you’re frustrated right now about your lack of book sales, it’s easy to throw up your hands and assume your book will never sell, but that’s simply relying on past results.
- Maybe you’re fishing in the wrong stream.
- Maybe your marketing copy isn’t resonating with your ideal readers.
- Maybe the cover art isn’t the right visual lure.
Sometimes all it takes is some small tweaks in wording or design to reach your intended audience.
Sometimes it means going to a new fishing hole.
After all, Amazon isn’t the only stream out there, friend.
I believe it’s also important to remember that if God gave you a story to share, then he has readers waiting for you to share it with them. You just need to be attentive to what he’s telling you to do to reach them.
Does this mean it’s a guarantee that God’s going to bless you and your book to the point that you’ll be an international bestseller? No, I don’t believe in the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel.
In fact, it might be that God wants you to write your story for you and you alone. Have you ever considered that? But regardless of who reads it or how many people God intends for your book to reach, know that you won’t reach everyone.
After all, even though the disciples net brought up a multitude of fish that was almost to the breaking point and it filled two boats, it still didn’t bring up every fish in the sea.
Your book is not for everyone and that’s okay.
Alternatively, if you’ve experienced stellar results in the past and your book is selling like gangbusters, don’t assume that it will always stay that way.
Authorship requires ongoing effort and adaptability to the ever changing publishing industry.
If you stop doing either or both of those, your success will begin to lose steam.
So, regardless of whether your past efforts have been lackluster or wildly successful, don’t focus on past results. Instead, focus on what God is calling you to do right now.
So there you have it, four ways to cultivate a Christian author’s mindset.
Which of these four aspects resonate most with you? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re tired of swimming upstream all alone, or are fearful of launching into the deep by yourself, and you’d like some guided assistance to point you in the right direction, I’m here for you.
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