Wise Words for Writers: C. S. Lewis

I’m into C. S. Lewis this week.  I’m not sure why, but while we are here, let me share this bit of good news.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance for writers to believe in themselves.  You have to believe in yourself because it is possible that no one else never will.

No one believed in Vincent Van Gogh while he was alive.  In fact, some thought he was crazy.  Now, of course, he is considered one of the greatest painters who ever lived.  I wish you better fortune than that, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you will fail.  Indeed, you have failed already if you don’t believe.

Lewis put that thought in perspective when he said:

We are what we believe we are.   C. S. Lewis   

This is absolutely true.  In the church we refer to it as calling.  We ask, what has God called you to do?  But even if you are a non-Christian or even an atheist, the truth of this statement does not change.  If you believe you are unworthy, that you don’t have the skill or talent, that you will fail, you will.  If you don’t believe you are called to write, you will know only frustration and likely will give up.

I am not saying you will never have doubts, but generally that it is imperative, whatever the endeavor, that you believe in your calling.  If you believe that this is what you are designed (called) to do, it is likely (by contrast) that nothing will be able to stop you.

In a way, though he was talking about Christian salvation, Lewis understood another fundamental truth:
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.   C. S. Lewis

No.  If you are called to writing or whatever, you must take it step by step.  Yes, it will be work – perhaps hard work – but you will get there as long as your confidence in your calling remains strong.  If you flounder, neither I nor anyone else will be able to help you.  Perseverance, after belief is probably the greatest single reason some succeed and others do not.  Think about it.

As a last note, I came across one more quote:

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.   C. S. Lewis 

This is hope for many.  Believe this too.  Perhaps you were an engineer, a teacher, a lawyer, a construction worker in another day.  Perhaps you are retired and always thought you might like to write but never had time for it.  Well, you may very well be called to write.  Just don’t say “I’m too old to change.  I’m too old to start over.”  Remember, Scrooge tried to say that too…

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