Gleanings: Wisdom from The Guild about Writing Fears


I belong to a local writer’s group here in Grand Rapids, MI, called The Guild. We’re not part of Jerry Jenkins’ nationally recognized Guild. We’re just a handful of writing sisters who are knit together at the heart and soul.

 Almost every day you’ll find us encouraging one another online about our lives and our writing. This morning we all dumped out our fears and asked each other to pray and pray big.

 I confessed my fear of tackling a new genre: historical fiction. Another Guilder mentioned fear of a character not revealing himself. Someone else mentioned fear that the work they’d invested in a big story wouldn’t pan out. The list continued as we dumped out new fears and old. Some that had stalked us for years.

 Then a voice arose from within our group and cast out her wisdom for the day–the voice of award-winning historical fiction author Tracy Groot. Be blessed, friends. It would just be wrong for me not to share some of these pearls with you once in a while.

 “One thing I think may help us all is action. It doesn’t really matter what we do, as long as it has to do with the project. Open the laptop and get started.

 “‘Bum glue’ is what one famous writer told another when he was asked his secret to productivity.

 “Yesterday I told my fear about my character not revealing himself to [my husband] Jack. I wanted to model this character on a few characters I love from other works I’d read or movies I’d seen. But I didn’t like my character yet.

 “’Well, what is it you like about those characters,’ Jack asked me?

 “When I hesitated, he said, ‘They’re loveable, right, despite their idiosyncrasies? Make your character lovable.

 “Bam. There it was. All because I talked about my fear to Jack. And yesterday I had a pretty good writing day. I put the name ‘Loveable’ on my character and he came alive. I wrote almost a thousand words, which is a pretty good writing day for me.”

 Thank you for the wisdom, Tracy Groot.

 Are you struggling with fear as a writer?

1.     Name your fear. (Be sure to name it to someone who will understand.)

2.     Get in the chair.

3.     Apply bum glue.

4.     Be willing to write junk (one of my mother’s favorite “special” words during her Alzheimer’s years. I will not share the others.)

“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” –Benjamin Disraeli.

You can do whatever God has called you to do. Just keep moving, and you’ll figure it out on the run. (Thanks, Trace.)

Photo Credit:

You can find Christy Award-winning author Tracy Groot at

Join the Guild for their next Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference this coming October.

4 thoughts on “Gleanings: Wisdom from The Guild about Writing Fears

  1. Dear Shelly, I need to tell you a very practical application for my life immediately after I read your post. We are having a 2inch per minute snowstorm. My mortgage company recently sold my mortgage. Need I say, change is always stressful. I wanted to mail my first payment to the new company. Which on President’s Day means a trip from my house to the post office. Not advisable in this snow, not even possible if I were in the country. I have chronic pain and fatigue issues. I can only do so much at a time. I was afraid to go, and afraid not to, because I will be snowed in again after this storm lets up. I read your post and decided to go. It was the worst snowstorm I’m ever driven in, and I am a lifelong nurse who always made it in to work. I’m very glad that I went. Because I knew I was going to stress on it if I didn’t. Last week, I worked on getting a new auto pay set up, but that takes time. I will be snowed in tomorrow. I’ll eventually get plowed out. But in the meantime, I did what I can do, and my mind and emotions are happy about that. I wrote in the flyleaf of my Bible, the quote by Benjamin Disraeli “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” My mother is in a nursing home. She had a brain aneurysm in 1977. She has come close to being my life long (adult) responsibility. I have to call the nursing home today. I can’t get all of her issues addressed today. But at least I will have done what I could. Thank You! I have your book “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” on my nightstand. And give it to people in my church in caregiving situations. Even my Mom has read it. God bless you, Shelly, God is using you. Sincerely, Marianne Caron

    • Marianne, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are such an encouragement to me and to others. God is faithful. You have encouraged my heart today more than you can possible know. Prayers and hugs across the snowy miles.–Shelly

  2. Shelly ~ Great stuff here! Tonight I will be stepping up to the plate and sharing a character out of my book, The Longest Letter: Incredible Hope. You see, in order to tell this true story, I had to become Amy Kayleen. What I will be sharing with my writing group tonight is the Prologue (how it all began.) After reading what you wrote, then looking over my manuscript, I believe I accomplished what you suggested. I think I like the little girl of 8 years old that I write about in this section. But, I want to thank you for prompting me to do some double checking on that. Also, thank you again for leading me to Word Weavers; it’s a wonderful group! Lord bless your home.
    Kittye Sharron, Author (soon to be published.)

    • Kittye, how exciting to hear about your writing journey. Word Weavers is a wonderful group, and I’m so glad I could point you in their direction. Please let us know how your presentation goes!

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