Monday, September 19, 2016

Writers: Are You Asking for Help?

We’ve talked a lot about writing with community. Surrounding yourself with a group of people that you can trust your heart and writing with. People that become your friends beyond this writing journey and support you in nearly every aspect of your life.

They are your warriors. Your champions. The people that hold you up in prayer when the going is rough and the people you in turn laugh and cry with when they are joyful or struggling.
This is your tribe. These are your people.

But I was challenged recently for how often I actually come to my tribe—my people—and ask for help with my writing.

Allen Arnold has talked and ministered to many, many writers about not writing in a vacuum. About not being the “orphan” that writes alone, creates alone, processes alone and instead invites the Creator into the creative. Instead, invites in the people that the Creator has given the creative to form this story that He has laid on their heart.

It’s shockingly few and far between that I ask for help.

I don’t want to inconvenience someone. Take away time from their projects they need to be doing. Make them obligated to say “yes”, when they just really need to say “no.”

But I’ve been stuck on my story now for about a month and a half. Only written about a thousand words between family being in town, ACFW national conference and then more family being in town. It’s been a great month of fellowship and reconnection, but also a month filled with the trepidation of the next thing I have to do: which is dust off that story and start writing the next scene.
Only problem is: I have no idea what that next scene is.

Minor detail is all.

So the other night, at my writer’s mentoring meeting, I decided to pipe up. Gulp back any feelings of worry that I would put something beyond their time in helping me, and asked for help in outlining my story.

See, outlining your story might not be a big deal to you. You might love it. Get inspired from it. See new plot twists and scene ideas.

I hate it.

I’d so much rather sit down with my laptop and just write. Except then, I write myself into a corner and oops, I don’t know what happens next.

It’s not a complicated project, this request that I’m making. A lot of the work has already been done
in a previous brainstorming session. This is just me, needing a friend to join in writing these scene ideas out on 3x5 cards and inspiring my love for this novel all over again—and putting me back on track to do the work.

Once the words are said, it’s not hard asking for help.

It’s hard getting to that place where you have to ask for it. Invite someone else into your story world; let them take your hand and journey with you in this process.

Don’t get stuck in your cave. The answers don’t all lie in what only you are capable of doing.
So invite someone in. Let them take partnership with you. Don’t be ashamed, but let yourself be motivated and encouraged.

Because remember that tribe of friends you’ve formed? Yeah, they are here for you in this too. And you’re not alone. By a long shot.


What are you needing to ask help for in your writing today? Have you done it? 


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Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in colorful Colorado where she gets to live her dream stalking--er--visiting with her favorite CO authors. 

11 comments:

Emily Conrad said...

This is something I've been learning, too. Asking for help in writing and other areas of life is hard for me because not only do I not want to inconvenience people, but I also minimize my need for help and tell myself I can handle things on my own, that others' needs are more pressing. But friends really do value being able to help, and as much as I tell myself I can handle it on my own, we were put in community for a reason. Thanks for this reminder :)

Angela Jeffcott said...

Great article. Thanks. I often struggle with asking for help. Sometimes I'm not sure what to even ask, I just feel stuck. But writing truly does take a community.

Angela Jeffcott said...

Great article. Thanks. I often struggle with asking for help. Sometimes I'm not sure what to even ask, I just feel stuck. But writing truly does take a community.

Casey said...

Emily: I feel you, my friend! And I completely understand where you are coming from and what you are saying. The thing with saying we can do it all on our own: we isolate ourselves. And when you live in isolation, you deny the body of Christ of fulfilling it's greatest purpose: coming alongside and supporting you in your need. Big or small. It's a hard lesson to learn, no? It's not always easy asking for help, but its so incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. WE want to be asked to help someone else, so we shouldn't deny that same privilege to anyone else. :)

Casey said...

Angela: It DOES take a community! And some of the best friends I have, I have found in this writing world. Here's the thing I have to remind myself: if someone doesn't have the time or ability to help me, they will say no. And I will respect that. And I have to trust them to know if they are saying yes, it's because they truly have the time and energy and want to help. It's a gracious and humbling feeling to know others are coming alongside you in support!

Julia M. Reffner said...

So humbling and so true of life. Just like in the Christian life we can't do it alone as you say. I think of the one body with many parts and the writing community is like that too. We each have something to offer someone and something we could benefit from that they have already learned.

Casey said...

Amen, Julia! We can't forget that concept and lesson, can we? And it can be such an easy one to misplace.

Casey said...

Amen, Julia! We can't forget that concept and lesson, can we? And it can be such an easy one to misplace.

Mary Vee said...

So..I'm wondering why it is that we feel this awkwardness toward asking for help. It's not that we really think we can do it on our own. We've already come to terms with that...but we sit...and think...and get a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate...and turn on the radio...and maybe exercise...or....anything except ask for help. And then we get frustrated and convince ourselves that we can't do it...so we walk away from the project...leaving behind a blank screen that is begging for words. Sigh.
And then we remember God's Words...He looked at man and said, "It is not good for him to be alone" so He created.....a friend.

Pepper said...

Oh Case,
This is so true! I'm horrible at asking for help because I don't want to become a broken record or a burden
But we are a 'family' of writers and friends. God brought us together and it is a blessing to give help and receive it among family :-)

Claire said...

I need a group support system as I start writing my novel but I'm intimidated by other writers. I always feel like my skill is not adequate enough to associate with the majority of writers out there.. I wish there was like a place for writers who are just starting out and their writing hasn't fully matured yet.