Monday, March 26, 2018

Total Wipeout or Totally Write It Out?


About a decade ago, the first Wipeout game show aired in the USA. Contestants threw and bounced themselves into, around, across, over and through an absurd array of obstacles, mud, more obstacles, mud, creative obstacles, water, (washing off the mud), challenging obstacles, watery downpours … anyway, you get the picture. Total Wipeout, the British (BBC) version, followed hot on its heels, eventually airing in Australia (and currently repeating on ABC ME).  If you’ve no idea what I’m referring to, you can watch Total Wipeout’s first Episode here (after you’ve read this blog, of course).



The ‘killer surf’ giant water slide introduces the show’s final challenge (See it here at about the 48:20 minute mark). By this stage, the field of twenty-four starters has narrowed to three finalists who compete for the cash prize. It’s not hard to draw an analogy between those Total Wipeout contestants and writers, (aspiring and successful). With varying degrees of enthusiasm and expertise, we might
  • ·        bellow a shout of impending triumph at our brilliant intention;
  • ·        leap into the process with a whoosh and a splash;
  • ·        swim through the deep waters of structural sinkholes;
  • ·        tackle the long haul of obstacles (dealing with time restraints);
  • ·        jump barrels, balance disappointments;
  •      climb (or cling perilously to) the walls while a waterfall of negativity assails us;
  • ·        leap onto the dizzying merry-go-round of writing conferences and events;
  • ·        bounce up and down, back and forth, over (and often out of) the submissions' trampoline.



It’s easy to extend the analogy. Both contestants and writers might
  • ·        see it as a challenge, but also as fun;
  • ·        fall and fail, but try again;
  • ·        persevere, even when the mud sticks;
  • ·        step up to the next level after each success.

May I also draw your attention to the response of the game show’s audience because, frankly, they are amazing in their efforts to cheer on the players. They laugh with good humour at competitors’ pedantic pre-action antics, commiserate when they slip and fall, and cheer wildly when they pick themselves up and try again. Sure, every episode has one overall winner who receives a prize, but the audience applauds the efforts of all the players who try, whether they win or lose. In the presence of that faithful, enthusiastic cheer squad, naysayers face, um, total wipeout.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve been whacked and dumped and drowned by a plethora of challenges and disappointments that have seriously undermined my writing progress. I’m sure I’m not the only one. But a couple of weeks ago, the Holy Spirit challenged me with this thought:

The only power/authority/naysayer who 
wants you to fail as a Christian writer
is the devil.
In stark contrast, a huge cheer squad,
 led by Almighty God,
wants you to succeed.

My first thought was, ‘Wow!’

My second thought was, ‘I have a choice to make.’
  1. ·        I can reject this thought, thereby siding with the devil and … treat God as a liar;
  2. ·        I can condescend to it outwardly while letting doubt undermine my trust in God till I flounder in the mud of despondency and unbelief; or
  3. ·        I can accept it, embrace it, and run with it, letting God’s truth strengthen and empower me to keep going.



I'm going with number 3. 

Having meditated on this for a couple of weeks, I’ve concluded the Bible provides ample evidence that God is cheering us on as Christian writers, e.g. Isaiah 52:7, 50:4, Psalm 68:11 and more than 64 other verses that mention the word ‘write’.

It’s also supported by visible actions and evidence, vis-à-vis the encouragement readily given by family, friends, fellow Christians, writers, readers and editors. Honestly, although there are many articles across the web that reflect the struggles and challenges faced by writers, the overwhelming sense from both Christian and secular sources is one of encouragement to all authors, (aspiring and published) to go for it, keep writing, get better, never, ever, give up. In this industry, the players are generally much more inclined to critique with a view to improvement than be critical. Even the dreaded rejection letter is seen as a step or side-step in the journey, not a prescription for failure.

So, next time the devil starts throwing the mud of failure in my face, or yours, let's remember that, unless we choose to agree with him, he’s a minority of one, even if he appropriates a few human mouthpieces from time to time. Meanwhile, the great majority, in heaven and on earth, is cheering us on, big time.



Have you got a favourite line you’ve heard from that cheer squad? I'd love you to share it with the rest of us. Spur us all on to greater effort and action.

(Note: Images used above are Creative Commons sourced from Pixabay)


Mazzy Adams is a published author of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. She has a passion for words, pictures and the positive potential in people. 
Website: www.mazzyadams.com  
Email: maz@mazzyadams.com

22 comments:

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  2. What a good writer you are, Mazzy! Really enjoyed your post. Especially loved what the Holy Spirit said to you. Thank you for sharing with us and encouraging us too. I've come to the same conclusion when life's challenges were abundant - and it seemed as if there were people were against me. I've told myself during those times that 'The real Enemy is Satan - it is he alone who is the destroyer of all that is true, beautiful and good.' Isn't it encouraging that God, the host of heaven and our family and friends are all cheering us on? I'm very sorry to hear of the many challenges you faced over the last year. Sounds one of those difficult years and I know what they could feel like!

    I pray that those same challenges will be the springboard to greater blessings and joy and God's brand of success in your writing journey during the coming year. Keep writing - you do an excellent job of it! Cheering you on and with every confidence in you. Can you hear the thunderous applause? I can! And I too am clapping hard! :)

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    1. Thanks Anusha. There have been so very many times when your words have roared wild, exciting encouragement to me from within that crowd - one very good reason why I (and many others) keep on keeping on!

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    2. Delighted to hear it sweet Mazzy. Bless you. And of course there are lots of great reasons to keep cheering on such a gifted and lovely writer as yourself! :)

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    3. I concur! Mazzy's post was an absolute delight to read from start to finish.

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  3. Thanks for these thoughts, Mazzy--and I second Anusha's comment about your being a good writer! You have a lovely, flowing, easy-to-read style that kept me reading.

    Re your question about a favourite cheer squad line, I have had some great ones over the years, but keep coming back to the words my lovely 'soul friend' Joy wrote in a card that she sent me on the day I completed the first draft of my first novel, 'Helena', in 2004: 'The Book! Well done, dear Jo-Anne--congratulations and my prayers and love for the next phase.' So simple--but so encouraging.

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    1. Thanks Jo. I wonder if your friend realises how incredibly valuable it is for writers to have someone who believes in us, prays for us, and cheers us on. Joy sounds like a keeper!

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  4. I can't say I've ever been a fan of Wipe Out, but it's a great illustration of the writing life. I guess with both, getting to the end takes a combination of talent (athletic or literary), stamina, hard work, and plain old luck.

    It's also good to remember that God wants us to succeed, but that challenges are a normal part of life. Thanks for the reminder, and for the motivation to get back up there!

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    1. Haha! Honestly Iola, I've not been a fan-girl of the show either, and haven't watched it in years. I often thought the contestants had more gumption than sense. Perhaps that's why the image of the 'killer surf water slide' came to mind - once you've taken that leap, there's no turning back! I have moments when I feel like this writing gig requires more gumption than sense too, otherwise we'd opt for the easy way out. That's why I'm so grateful for the wisdom and encouragement shared by industry diehards like yourself! Even if I do feel like I'm clutching desperately to that climbing wall under an avalanche of challenges and 'must do's'. ;)

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  5. You're a truly engaging writer, Miss Mazzy. Your words brought a smile to my face and provided some much-needed encouragement. I love the analogy! Very clever of you...and I'm so pleased you chose option number 3 - the God Squad.

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    1. I made you smile? You've made my day. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

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  6. Love the analogy, Mazzy, though sorry that you've experienced some many obstacles over the last few years. What a great word from God though - yes, we are cheering your on, but more to the point God walks this journey with you. Looking forward to seeing the results :)

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  7. Great word from a great companion! Thanks Jenny. As for coping with obstacles, and overcoming them, I take heart from your example.

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  8. Agree with all the above. Thanks Mazzy, and after reading this I thought, "yea, we writers do have a healthy measure of perseverance, don't we? Even those reeling from hard knocks sometimes, we bounce back, never giving up. That's worth a lot especially when you consider the Christian Life and its mandate to keep on in our race, no matter what, for the lord Himself is with us! (Cyber hug here.)

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    1. Absolutely! Thanks Rita. (Returns cyber hug.) And so very often, it is the example set by those who do 'bounce back' that inspires the rest of us and spurs us on.

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  9. Hi Mazzy, what a great analogy 😂 You've highlighted the super challenge aspect so well, and also the fact that even after apparent falls, we can still punch the air for as far as we've come. I'm sure I'll remember your blog post whenever I see one of those Total Wipeout style shows. A reminder to be proud of ourselves for our attempts.

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    1. Thanks Paula. I'm glad you said, 'see one of those' shows ... I was a bit worried you might be tempted to audition. (There is a time for being gentle on ourselves too.) I love the image of 'punching the air' - and I'll see that now, whenever I see your lovely profile pic.

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  10. Good on you, Mazzy, for getting up and persevering. Satan definitely doesn't want any of us to succeed as Christian authors because we have a message to get out. It's so easy to listen to his voice instead of trusting God. Been there, done that many times. But God is faithful and is always waiting to pick us up again and cheer us forward along with that great crowd of witnesses. Thanks for the encouragement :)

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    1. Thanks Nola. You lead by example in so very many wonderful ways, but you're always ready to lean back with an outstretched hand to heave and haul (did I hear you say nag and drag?) the strugglers and the stragglers along with you. That’s a gift and a ministry.

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    2. LOL - 'Nag and drag' Ministry. Maybe I could add 'laser tag' to it and it could be the tagline on my author website - Nag, Drag and Laser Tag :)

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  11. Ah, I know the pull and push of those waves all too well, Mazzy. Writing can be a tough gig, especially when it seems wave after wave of failure is crashing in. A life buoy tossed at us in the form of encouragement by others can help buffet the hits, but the biggest whirlpool can be self-doubt, a water hazard most writers I know suffer from with undeniable frequency. Thanks for the reminder that we're not in it alone and that there are bigger, louder voices cheering us on, even when it seems the elements have conspired to submerge us completely! (Just keep swimming??? ;-) )

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    1. Well said, Adele. That self-doubt whirlpool can so easily suck us in. This is why God's challenge to me was (and is) so poignant. It was a bit of a Joshua 24:15 moment; 'choose this day whom you will serve ...'

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