What It Takes: Courage

Blog Post 53 What It Takes CourageCourage.  When first spoken, that word generates a number of images in my mind and probably yours.  The first things I think of are our Special Operations soldiers, who routinely venture into situations where they may not come out alive.  I also think of Martin Luther King, who waded into another kind of battle to overturn ideas.  Or Jim Elliot, who took the message of Jesus to the Huaorani people and paid with his life when he did.

The dictionary defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Do writers need to have courage?  You may think, “I’ve never had to go into battle like a soldier, or face down years of racism like Martin Luther King, or go into an unknown situation like Jim Elliot.”

Writers do need courage in all parts of writing a novel.


You need courage to make your writing authentic.  If you’re working on a novel, you must go to what I call “the hard places” or “dark places,” as one of my writing friends put it.  That can be both during the research phase or the drafting phase.  Doing so makes your work ring with authenticity, something your readers need because they crave truth, even if they don’t realize it.  Your authenticity provides that.  This isn’t easy.  It may impact you.  It should.  You may feel the pain, either of someone you interviewed as part of research or when you’re writing hard spots in your novel.

You also need courage as a writer as you revise your manuscript.  Writing is an intensely personal process.  When we write, we invest our hearts and souls in our work.  During the revision phase, feedback can sting, even hurt.  You may also realize halfway through revising a novel that it’s not working (see my post regarding how that happened with Panama Deception).  It’s painful to hear criticism, especially when it’s delivered improperly.  You feel like a part of yourself has been assaulted.  It may even seem easier to give it up and get on with your life.  Don’t.

Finally, you need courage when you put your work out there for people to read.  It’s one thing for you and those you know will love your work to read it.  It’s an entirely different thing when all of the sudden, strangers are out there reading your work.  And when you get your first 2-star or 1-star review?  Ouch!  “Never again!” you want to say.

Do you think you don’t have courage?  If God’s called you to be a writer, you do.  You just may not see it in yourself.  I promise you do.  The call to write will always be there, even if you want to deny it.  Here’s four things to remember if your courage is flagging:

  1. You aren’t alone. All writers feel at times like the small David facing the huge Goliath.
  2. Going to hard places is difficut. But you can and must do it to have authenticity. Remember that it’s okay to hurt, even to cry, when you do this. Those tears will resonate to your readers. But when you’re finished, seek the light with those who know and care about you.
  3. In writing, you’ve got to have a thick skin. It’s part of the cost of doing business. Surround yourself with writers and avid readers who don’t tell you what you want to hear but tell you what you need to hear in a manner that won’t make you put down your pen and shred your work.
  4. When you finally have your work out there, remember that writing is a highly subjective business. What one person may love, another may not. Don’t let reviews sway your opinion of your writing. Matter of fact, avoid reading them if you can.

Remember that God has given you a gift.  Even if you don’t believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, do know that God gave His entire creation many gifts, and that one of them for you may be the gift of writing.  Take heart.  Have courage.  Use those gifts well and wisely.

This post does not mention any products.  Therefore, I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments