Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moderating Expectations

The greatest blessing of being a writer is having a strong imagination.

The greatest curse of being a writer is having a strong imagination.

I have always enjoyed dreaming big. You know, “Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise…” (Belle, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) Nothing wrong with that—except I tend to apply this to real life as well as the imaginary.

Like this past month, I entered a small, local writing competition. I had worked hard on my story and felt I’d done my very best under the restraints given.

And so throughout the past month, I plotted and dreamed what I might do with the prize money. After all, I had placed second in a similar competition a couple years back and I’d improved as a writer since then. Surely first place was within my grasp!

Then the results came in. I didn’t take first. I didn’t take second. I won third place.

As everyone congratulated me, I struggled to keep a smile in place as immediately my imagination swung in the opposite direction. I was a terrible writer. I hadn’t learned anything in the past few years. I’ll never get anything published.

But as I felt myself sinking into that dark brooding, God reminded me of what a writing friend did when everyone kept congratulating on a novel that hadn’t met expectations: my friend shook hands, said thank you, added some enthusiastic line about the novel and God’s goodness—and soon believed every word of it.

With that memory, something slowly changed in me. God controls all things and can do as He pleases, no matter how good (or bad) I am as a person—or a writer. Every success, both the magnificent and the insignificant, is a gift from Him.

And that includes third place.

Feet on the ground, head in the clouds,
Chawna Schroeder

1 comment:

Valerie Comer said...

Congrats on third place! And hugs. I can imagine the roller-coaster.