Friday, August 12, 2011

A SPIRIT OF POWER ...


Late last year we stayed at King Lake in Victoria. This area is now regrowing bigger and stronger than before after the tragic bush fires of 2009. It reminded me of how writers can sometimes feel burnt out and unappreciated when our writing is rejected or we receive a bad review. We question whether we should take up the challenge again for our next work.

However, when we're called to write it's important for us not to let rejection cripple us so that we never write another word. All rejection means is that our work is not suitable at that moment for that publishing house; a reader preferred to be reading something else; or we're ahead of our time for what we've written. It's not the end of the world. It's your work that's been rejected, not you as a person.

We can learn a lot from the burnt forest. In the same way the destroyed forest begins to grow after a fire we, too, can grow in our writing after a rejection. We can't help it. We've been called to write so we must write.

The important thing to remember is that we come back stronger than before. When starting a new work the words and small phrases are the new shoots that begin to sprout on the trees. The longer we sit at the key board or put pen to paper the more the words grow and blossom into a mini branch then an adolescent branch and finally to maturity when it becomes a chapter, part of the bigger tree, the book.

We repeat this for each of our chapters until we have the tree complete and mature ready to blossom and be shown to the world. The new tree provides nourishment for the readers, shelter and beauty. It welcomes wildlife that comes to enjoy the beauty of that tree in the same way as our readers. Soon the charred bark of the trees falls away and in its place is strong bark that supports the tree to keep the branches and leaves contained for generations to come. When you write a work of excellence your book will also be here for future generations.

If your work gets rejected I want to encourage you to become that new tree of life. Create new branches so that your work reaches out and changes lives in the world in the same way the forest changes us, giving us hope, and renewing our spirit. In faith we push forward to the next work when God plants a seed of creativity in our hearts that needs to be watered and allowed to grow influenced by the experiences of our lives. Every book has a different fragrance. Let's not be afraid of creating that aroma from our own unique blend.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." (2
Tim 1:7 NIV)

Make a decision today to use rejection to make your writing stronger so that your unique bouquet will add to the wonders of this amazing world.

21 comments:

  1. We went through a major bushfire here in 2007, almost losing everything we owned. The next day as I drove through the blackened and burnt out area I was reminded me of a moonscape. Desolate and seemingly destroyed.

    Yet here we are four years later, and the forest that surrounds our town is beautiful, lush and green.

    It always amazes me how God can turn something so ugly, into a work or art. Just like our lives. :)

    Lee

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  2. Fire that appears so destructive often fosters amazing regeneration. My first attempt at a book was nearly burnt to the ground my well meaning mentors. The debris had be cleared to allow the stump to regrow into an attractive manuscript. Let's make every fire count. Thanks Laura for a thought provoking post.

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  3. Thanks for that Laura. It's definitely something we writer's need to take in our strides isn't it? Rejection. Very hard. But... yes, like many roadblocks in life, rejection often could be just little speed bump and not the end of the road if we view it as something to spur us on. Appreciate your thoughts.

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  4. Great post, Laura. I sure know what rejections are like for writers. I had thirteen from editors before my first contract and even when multi-published rejections still can come!
    It is hard to always remember it does not mean my person is being rejected, just my writing effort. Through them all, God has taught me so much so those green shoots can spring to life the writer in me once again.

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  5. Thanks for writing your post Laura, I especially love your verse at the end.
    It was a real encouragement to me!

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  6. Great stuff! I like getting inspiration from life too.

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  7. Great image Laura, and isn't it so true. We grow so much from persisting with our craft in spite of the flames of disappointment or discouragement. It's great that we can understand and encourage each other.

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  8. Laura, great post! I love your tree analogy. We all grow as writers through receiving constructive feedback on our work, as hard as this feedback can often be to accept at the time :)

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  9. Thanks for your comments, ladies. I hope I've encouraged each of you when the going gets tough, because it does get tough. Blessings to all the readers of this blog.

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  10. It may even mean that although it fits perfectly with what the publishing house puts out, they have enough material of a similar sort they're already committed to, so may be a matter of timing. Second guessing reasons for rejection is just a frustrating way of spending time and we don't want to go there. Keeping on going is the commitment we make to ourselves.

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  11. I love this post Laura. Its so true after the fire everything grows back stronger and brighter.

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  12. Earlier this week I had a very strange encounter with rejection. The bizarre nature of it knocked me. I was emotionally shaken and had no idea why (didn’t realize it was a rejection issue with me). Until….. Page 78 of African Hearts. The character exchange on this page made me realize what was going on within me. It also drove home how the Lord uses great literature to speak to us. Thank you Laura for your contribution to my ‘Ah Ha’ moment – and for a truly great read in African Hearts.

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  13. Timing is important, too, Paula. The point is not to wallow in rejection. Get up and get going!!

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  14. Rose, thanks so much for telling me about your week's experience. I'm glad my words have given light to a difficult moment for you. :)

    Thanks so much for your encouragement, Michelle.

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  15. I thought of another part of the tree analogy, to think about the editing/revising as pruning away dead, or diseased part of the tree.
    That is always a huge part of my writing, I don't normally submit anything without first making sure it is as perfect as can be.
    MEL

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  16. I'm always encouraged by lessons from nature and the gardens God lets us tend. I love that you mention the fragrance of our work. Nothing can dishearten more than the scorched smell of smouldering writing hopes. But after the fire... God always promises beauty from ashes. And our writing is an offering to Him. Beautiful encouragement. Thanks Laura :)

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  17. Hi Laura,
    thanks for sharing your experience and what God taught you. I think because we often are working alone a lot in order to write it can be harder to pick ourselves up but this blog site is a great way to do that.
    thanks Jennifer Ann

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  18. We also experienced bushfires in the early 2000's; it was a close call (right up to the house and shed), and the place looked like a moonscape afterwards. Now everything is lush again, but the black tree trunks haven't disappeared - they seem like scars, healed wounds of yesteryear. And that reminds me of God's burning up our dross in His refiner's fire. Although we may carry some scars till the end, the final result will be beauty out of ashes - like some of our God-revised dreams or writing endeavours. Thanks Laura.

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  19. Melanie, you're absolutely right. It's important to prune our work before it goes out the door. Dead wood in writing is just that: dead wood that weakens the work.

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  20. Dorothy, I'm glad you're also encouraged by lessons from nautre. I'm certainly learning that onour round Australia trip.

    Jennifer Ann, picking ourselves up is not easy, but when we have God we have his supernatural power. What more could we ask for?

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  21. Margaret, thanks for the reminder of the scars. Yes, they are there until the end, and we've been made whole because of them and we have overcome.

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