You are a Writer

What happens when you tell yourself something every day

After reading You are a Writer by Jeff Goins, I decided to do the exercise he recommends. All you have to do is get a pen and paper (no screens or keyboards allowed!) and write these words: “I am a writer.”


You know what? It’s working. But perhaps not for the reason you might think.

I feel like a liar immediately after writing down the statement. How can I be a writer when I am not writing at least a little bit every day?

Since I’m determined to be honest, one of two things must happen to resolve this situation:

  1. I need to start writing more consistently so the statement will reflect the truth.
  2. Or, I need to stop writing the statement!

Happyness is Pointless

And why I wish we would quit striving for it

Happyness taunts us. We wait for it with bated breath. Just a second — it finally arrived!


Only to vanish before we finish exhaling.

All of this is pointless.

How Story Changes Things

Looking at tough experiences through a powerful lens

After studying much of Donald Miller’s work, wife and I are beginning to see life through the lens of story. He has an excellent resource available called How to Tell a Story.


We went through an exercise in the PDF to help make sense of the past by viewing it as a story. The life experience I chose was when I was overwhelmed in college.

Donald Miller’s exercise helped me realize my experience was actually a good story in the making.

So You Slept Through Class

You slowly wake up to a peaceful morning. The sunlight from the morning fills your room with a pleasant glow. It’s not normally this bright when you wake up…

Oh no… Why is it so light outside? What time is it? How did I completely miss my alarm?!


You just slept through class.

Yes, you will be late turning in the assignment you spent all night working on. No, it doesn’t matter you were finished and accidentally overslept.

I remember this feeling well. It’s unnerving and frustrating, and can throw off your entire day, like it used to for me in college. But there is more than one way to look at it.

Instead, this can be an opportunity to show yourself grace and realize it’s not a big deal.

You will take a hit on your assignment, even though you were trying hard to be responsible. You were even going to pay attention and take notes. Maybe you missed because you stayed up partying. Or, maybe you stayed up late to finish studying, and there is no shame in that.

Maybe you see I’m not just talking about university classes.

It could mean missing a deadline at work, spoiling a nice surprise, or otherwise messing up something which should have gone well.

Though you feel like an idiot, you and God understand the circumstances. You’re here now, and you can’t change anything. It’s going to be okay.

Wife and I joke about this when we try our best but things still go poorly.

It’s refreshing and helpful to know your mistake won’t wreck your life or ruin your career.

Oh and don’t miss the benefit to accidentally sleeping through class — you get a few more hours sleep than you would have!

What is one specific way you can show yourself grace instead of beating yourself up?

Why Do I Need Margin? There’s Work to Do!

We talked about margin before. But maybe you weren’t convinced it is important. Why margin?

In your defense, I find it very important to understand why. As a small child, I used to frustrate dad because I would ask “why” whenever he asked me to do anything.


You can acknowledge the “what” of what needs to be done, and do things out of routine and obligation all day long.

But if you fully understand the purpose — the “why” — then you can carry the torch much further. And no one will have to explain “what” to you ever again!

Now let’s take this concept and apply it to the topic of margin.

I’ve now seen the book Margin referenced half a dozen times in various other books I have read. This sounds like a book I have to read!

This is the most recent reference I found to it. I’d like to paraphrase the section myself, but let me just quote it instead.

Margin, on the other hand, is having breath left at the top of the staircase, money left at the end of the month, and sanity left at the end of adolescence.
— Richard Swenson, Margin

Now read what James Bryan Smith has to say about Richard Swenson’s quote.

Swenson discovered marginlessness in the lives of his patients before he recognized it in himself. He is a medical doctor who began noticing all sorts of health hazards that were caused by stress. Stress, he discovered, came from overextension. So he started telling his patients to slow down and eliminate unnecessary things from their lives.

Then he examined his own life and discovered he was in the same condition. He realized that by working eighty-hour weeks he was compromising his health, his family time and his relationship with God. Then it hit him: those are three of his most precious resources!
— James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God

Did you catch that? The author of Margin realized he was compromising three of his most precious resources: health, time (with his family), and his relationship with God.

Back to margin.

“Why do I need margin? There’s work to do!”

Because by choosing marginlessness, you are displacing the most important resources in your life for the sake of work, productivity, and mere “busyness.”

Margin allows you prioritize your prioritize and put up boundaries for the noise of life.

That’s why!

What are your most important resources?