January 25, 2011

Somebody Can Do It Better

The first year I taught writing classes was really an experiment. Did I even know how to teach writing?

One day I was driving to class when insecurity gripped me. I thought of all the people I knew personally who were better writers than me, better teachers than me, or had a degree in English or Creative Writing. “Oh, Lord,” I cried, “so many people could teach these classes so much better than me!”

Immediately, these words came to mind, “Yes, but they aren’t doing it are they?”

It was true that a lot of other people could have done a much better job, people with years of experience and expert skill. I could have rattled off at least a handful of names without even trying. But God hadn’t asked any of those people to teach the writing classes or if He had they weren’t doing it. He had given me that task, not because I was so overly qualified and not because I was a sensational writer, but because it fit His plan and purpose.

A few years later I started teaching in a co-op. Up to that point, I’d taught in a bookstore by myself, but at co-op each teacher had at least one assistant. I was mortified to discover that my assistant would be the other writing teacher at the co-op. Would she analyze everything I said and did? Would she point out all of my inadequacies and mistakes? After all, I was a thousand percent certain that she’d been doing this longer and had to be a much better teacher than me. Turns out, she became a precious friend and we continue to encourage and glean from each other to this day. My fears were unfounded.

Today I visit blogs of true writing artists and I want to crawl under my desk. Am I so brazen to name my blog Encouraging Words for Writers when such mastery and talent lies only a few mouse clicks away? So many of you write way better than me. So many are true wordsmiths. And I feel very small when I read your writing.

The truth is somebody out there can write better than you and I can. Sometimes when we encounter their writing we want to run and hide and never write another word because we feel so insecure. But the good news is there is room for all. Not only is there room for all, but there is a need for all, for every writer that God has called or gifted or commissioned to share His words with a big ole lost world.

Somebody can write better than you, my friend. Accept it and keep on typing.



Marilyn said...

Fabulous words of restoration!
"...because it fit His plan and purpose." WHO among us does not from time to time crawl under a desk, not counting ourselves worthy? Oh, it can lay a writer low, comparing, comparing, comparing and NOT tending to the work given this day.

I have taught at conferences, led writing groups and led workshops - ALL knowing there were legions of others more able. BUT, is was once pointed out to me, there are other abilities that a teacher brings. We do not know what is behind God's matchmaking of teacher-to-student.

In the same way, we really never know what's behind His matchmaking of writer-to-reader.

THANK YOU for your good eye to see this problem and your transparency to write about it and for your encouragment.

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

Good point. I suppose that's true for just about everything!


Linda said...

This post comes along at a time when I have been saying exactly those things and feeling so discouraged. Comparing myself to others just makes me want to close the computer and slink away.
Thank you for this. You are doing exactly what you should be doing!

Jimmie said...

Beautiful! The final line says it all. THOSE are truly encouraging words for writers.

Anonymous said...

I needed this as I timidly obey what has been a loving persistent nudge from God, directly and through others. At the moment I am 'just' writing and sharing the results with a few friends. Dancing in the background is a known outlet while the possibilities for a particular story remain aloof. Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement.

Miss Sandy said...


I love how you said not only is there room for all but a need for all those who write or do whatever else it is that they do well. One lone writer could not capture every audience or address every topic. Insecurity really is a big stumbling block if we let it be. I am not a trained writer yet God has called me to write and truthfully I struggle with not being educated enough to write. I am learning that I don't have to have a degree in English or Journalism to be an obedient or effective writer.

Thank you for understanding and sharing that we are not alone in our struggles.

Donna said...

I am so glad you write in this space. Your post today spills over with wisdom and encouragement.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I have been reading a new book by one of my favorite writers this week. Her words inspire me and seem to breathe with life. I have been feeling quite inadequate with my writing. Thank you for writing this, Bonita. I needed to hear it today!

I will put her gifted writing in the proper place of inspiration, not comparison or competition.

Michele said...

Thank you for saying this out loud. I can't tell you how many times and how many hours I spend poring over my posts wondering if I said everything right or wrong or if I can even measure up to "professional" bloggers. The point is, God put a tug on my heart to write that won't go away. Whether I have an audience of one person our thousands, I know I am the only person that can say what God put on my heart. So thanks for the encouragement to keep writing when you want to excuse yourself from the scene for not feeling adequate enough.

Honeybee Ministries said...

Thank you so much for being so honest. :) I feel like that almost daily and just needed to know I was not alone. (it especially means something coming from someone like you who I would never think feels that way) I truly appreciate the words of encouragement!