Confidence Building 101

As I look toward 2010 and the new things going on in my literary life (my 1st book release in May), I'm taking the time to do a self-assessment. With the help of my God-sent mentors, I'm examining where I am and what issues I need to address as I step out of the cocoon of my private writing world and onto the stage of the public literary arena.

One of the issues that immediately stands out involves my confidence (or the lack thereof). I won't go into great detail, but as an up and coming writer I've been plagued with concerns about my ability to compete in the literary world. I've had these kinds of questions swirling around in my head from time to time... 

Am I good enough???

Is my craft up to par?

Will people want to read and buy my books?

Will readers take me seriously?

Is my writing authentic enough?

Is it relevant enough?

Will the readers get me?

Will they hear God through my writing?

Will my novels have the staying power in the industry to
sustain a full-fledge writing career?

And the list goes on and on...

But God... being the faithful Father that He is, He has not left me comfortless. I'm learning that this too is part of the process. Yes, there's that word again.

Process (v). To subject to a process or treatment, with the aim of readying for some purpose, improving, or remedying a condition.

I'm learning that my concerns and my questions are part of a process called validation. (Thank you, Kendra!)

I'm learning that it's normal for a writer to wonder, hope and pray that their work will be understood, accepted, appreciated and even celebrated. I certainly do. With everything that's within me, I want to realize my God-given dreams and fulfill my eternal calling. I want more that anything to be found doing what God has called me to do instead of sitting around taking about it. And I want to be successful at it. I want my work to be meaningful and effective, accomplishing it's purpose for being created.

And I believe God feels the same way because He is equipping me, preparing me and helping me achieve my goals. The evidence of His nearness is all around me - even as close as my own computer. As I searched through my files I found various nuggets of truth that I'd collected and written myself over the years that I needed to revisit and digest again.

If you'd allow me to, I'd like to share them with you:

“I want to write novels that are deep in content and purpose. Authentic works that are alive with truth and hope and love. I want my words to touch hearts, change minds and transform lives.”
Melissa Ewell Miller (My own faith statement.)

“She was able to make art out of the worst of circumstances.”
Said of Frida Kahlo (This is a huge motivational statement for me. When Frida Kahlo suffered a broken back, she painted in bed with a canvas suspended over her head. When she was too sick to attend a party in her honor, she had people carry her to the party in her bed. If she can...I can!)

"You see, in my view, a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.
Junot Diaz (Diaz suffered with writer's block for years and years to the point that he sunk into a deep depression. When he finally got his breakthrough, he won the Pulitzer! (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 2008) His experience has encouraged me to never give up!)

"To be successful in life one must have more than talent and personality. One must also be disciplined and focused. There are many talented and promising athletes and entertainers who never saw their careers flourish because they lacked discipline and focus."
Matthew Dodd (This one keeps me from slacking.)

"I was thinking the other day about the true lasting impact of words. Many of the books we call classics today did not set out to be a classic. The writers simply said what they felt inside and decades later the intangible message of these great writings still ring true.
I was thinking further about the idea of "legacy". Many people think in financial terms when they hear that word, but to me it means the part of your soul that you leave behind for others to "read". We are the beneficiaries of the legacy left by many great men and women that stood out for an exemplary act. At the very basic level, the best legacy you can leave is the best of who you are. No idea is too small to explore or too lofty to attain. It would not be birthed in you if it was going nowhere. 50 years from now if someone picks up your writing, will it still be speaking? Would you rather be classic or popular? Hmmm…"
Donnette Ekwerike, Writer’s Hut. (I love the way Donnette puts it all in perspective.)

"You're more than good enough. God never calls someone to do anything without first equipping them to do it well."
Kendra Norman-Bellamy (Enough said!)

And lastly, this is a poem I wrote nearly three years ago and filed it away. Dare I think the Lord gave this to me in preparation for this season in my life...

Ready, Set, Go!!!

"With every tick, tick, ticking of the clock, know that time is marching forward and we must take advantage of our Kairos moments in God.

Those divinely ordained moments when God mixes his finger in the lives of men and creates all kinds of wonderful opportunities.

When he blows the breath of His love and approval into the sails of our little ships called purpose, He's propelling us forward on towards our Destiny. Don't you feel the wind at your back...or for some of us...the gale force?

When He opens doors, we must not be too afraid or too intimidated to hitch up our wears and step on through. But we must remember to enjoy the journey since the experience is not ours alone, but an inspiration and a whisper of hope for someone we may meet along the way.
m. e. miller

(Gulp...Swallow) There...I just took a big dose of my own medicine!!!
Be Blessed!


  1. I can so relate to how you're feeling, Melissa. I just received yet another rejection today and I keep asking myself many of the same questions you listed. But like you, I know that I'm more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. It may take awhile, but you and I will get there. Thank you for reaching out to me through your article today. It's always nice to know I'm not alone.

    Bless you, dear one.

  2. I'm glad this could help, Sharon. I've a tough time with rejection, too and I don't handle it well. After two rejections from what I thought were my best chances, I decided to self-publish in 2005. I probably sold about 200 books and gave away many more than that.Then my husband got sick and everything got pushed to the back burner.

    What I'm realizing now is that all that work I did back then was preparation for this season. I was shocked by all the resources I'd gathered over time and the things I need to hear today are speaking to me out of my past preparation.
    God is good and His timing is always perfect.

    It will happen for you and I because His word will not, cannot return void. Our Angels are already at work to bring His will to pass in our lives. The people who are ordained to receive our words will receive them in the exact time God has ordained according to His plan.

    So as a motherfriend of mine taught me to say after I've had a setback:

    "Take a moment...sit back and relax while you enjoy a Ritz cracker and some good cheese. Fortify yourself because tomorrow the journey continues."

    Love you much!


  3. I probably have about 50 pep-talks to myself a day! LOL! When I look at my own frailties & inconsistencies, I feel small & intimated. But when I look unto the hills from whence cometh my help, I realize that I'm big in Him. And like you said, He has already equipped us with the goods. I love how Marianne Williamson puts it, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Be blessed women of God. The world is the better because of your presence!

  4. Melissa,

    Great blog post. It's like you were in my head with those questions. But like you said, this is a process, and thankfully one we don't have to tackle alone.


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