Writers Slay Dragons (and You Should Too)
It started innocently enough, as most ideas do. I seem to recall working on a website at the office (alongside my brother, as usual) when a passing thought captured my attention. It went something like this:
You know that story idea you’ve been kicking around all these years?
I began to consider.
The one you’ve got tucked away in that drawer in the basement about a boy . . . and an ancient book . . . and the Shadow? Yeah . . . that one. You should write that book . . . as a novel.
Come again? I asked myself, glancing warily at a hefty bestseller that was currently stacked atop my desktop. For some reason, the book I had so easily read just days earlier looked suddenly large and daunting. Why, there must have been a hundred thousand words in that book. How on earth could I ever hope to accomplish that? As I contemplated the possibility of writing such a tome, a lump formed in my throat.
“Yes. Write, my son. Do it for my joy. Trust Me.”
I was stunned. You see, until this point in my career as a writer, I hadn’t considered myself much more than a children’s book author. Sure, Allan and I had managed to fool our current publisher into thinking we could write and illustrate gift cards and picture books. But this novel idea was so much more than coming up with clever rhymes and pretty pictures. It was an entirely new set of writing rules – uncharted territory to be sure. Things get downright dangerous when you wander down unfamiliar paths.
That’s when another voice, an all too familiar adversary, the dragon, stepped in!
He sounded a bit like this:
“Who are you kidding? You’re not good enough. You’ll never finish that book, but even if you did NOBODY would publish it. And if perhaps someone did publish it by mistake, NOBODY would read it. And if by some fluke some kid accidentally picked it up out of the trash heap and read it, they would all HATE it. So, don’t even try. You’ll just waste your life.”
Ever heard a voice like that before? Yup, he’s pretty sneaky like that, and phew, what bad breath he has. Makes you want to shout out, “Hey, can somebody get me an Altoid for the lizard on my shoulder here? No wait . . . make that ten.”
The truth is, the dragon is real and living among us. But what is this dragon really up to? What’s his goal? Is he merely trying to slow us down in our life journey? Is he simply keeping us from taking chances, fulfilling our dreams or doing great things for God in this world?
In part, yes, but that’s only the side effects. The dragon’s true intentions are much more sinister and go far deeper than that alone. You see, in that moment, sitting in my chair in my office, a battle began. It was a battle to test my heart’s allegiance. Would I trust the Author and let him be my guide, or would I bow to the fears of the dragon?
Who do I fear? That’s what ultimately was at stake.
Fear God, the Author of your life, and you make a bold stand for those around you that you don’t live for yourself. Succeed or fail, you are living for the only One who is worth living for. God doesn’t expect you to know how to get there (wherever “there” is); he just wants to know you trust him with the next step of your journey. Keep doing that and, much like the characters in a book, you’ll soon find yourself treading into new adventures everyday.
“Seek first the kingdom of God…” the Bible says. That’s what it’s all about. Don’t worry about anything else. Don’t put your focus on the things of this world (what people will think of you). Don’t decide to write that book for your own glory (or lack thereof). Don’t do it for the fans or the crowds (or lack thereof). Do it . . . for God and his kingdom alone. Only then, will you be where God wants you.
Let God be the hero of your life. Follow Him wherever he takes you and all of these things (the basic necessities and abundant life) will be added unto you.
However, if you choose to fear the dragon, you are bowing to the adversary himself –- one who wants to write the story of your life in his own way. By choosing to listen to this voice of fear and doubt, we prove to ourselves whom we truly serve. And therein lies the twist to this story. Like any good tale, this villain’s true identity may surprise you. It’s not Satan (as many may think) who speaks these lies to us (though his words are echoed perfectly in them). No, you have to look deeper into the eyes of the dragon to recognize him. Do you see it now? Frightening, right? It’s you.
That old man, the sinful nature you gave up when you surrendered your heart to Christ. He’s still in there . . . still trying to take back the throne Christ has taken from him. That bitter old self is still fighting to win his place.
We are the dragons. The residue of the original Dragon infects our skin, and it doesn’t rub off easily. Damned though he may be, the voice of the dragon is the voice of our own fallen selves still clamoring for a foothold in our lives.
So, do yourself a favor the next time you hear that dragon voice in your life. Trust the Author with your life. Don’t try and take the pen back. Don’t let anything but the Kingdom of God be what wakes you up and lays you down.
Oh, and bring some Altoids along for the journey because you’re going to need it from time to time. Trust me, I couldn’t have finished writing that first novel without them.
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As the balder half of the Miller Brothers writing duo, Christopher is convinced that his receding hairline is actually a solar panel for great ideas. While the science behind this phenomenon is sketchy (at best) one thing is undeniable – his mind is a veritable greenhouse of imaginative story ideas. Oh, he’s also the co-author of three award-winning youth fiction novels (The Miller Brothers) and newly released novel based on a video game and a pair of children’s books. He’s listed as one of the top 100 twitter users in Washington State so you can likely find him there if you want to chat @millerbrother1.
What an encouraging article, with a true fantasy author metaphor. I’ll have to look up your book!
Thanks, Kessie. Glad you enjoyed the article.
Great article, Chris. And the application is for all of us–writers or readers. Thanks so much for pointing us to Scripture, to God, to His kingdom.
I just saw in a Bible study of the book of Jude that one of the signs of false teachers is that they have a worldly mindset–looking at life the way the world tells us to instead of the way God tells us to. Our world today says we should put ourselves first, look within for the power to overcome, trust ourselves.
Instead, you rightly point out that we are actually the problem. I love the fact that God is the hero of our story! 😀
It’s so easy to want to “externalize” our enemy when the truth of Romans 7:18 reminds us that “nothing good in me lies”. Yes, we have an adversary (the Devil) but he attacks us from within (via our own sinful selves).
Looking forward to one day ridding myself of that old dragon flesh. Come soon, Jesus!
Christopher! So many things in this article resonated with me. And especially your use of the word “allegiance”. That’s the name of the series I’m working on, and I think it’s a concept that is in the air right now. Where does our allegiance lie? May the world see us shining bright for Him and Him alone!
So glad you shared this here. Great to be introduced to the Miller Brothers!
It’s all for His glory. May your words bring glory to THE Word.
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