Whether we've just started out or are multi-prize-winning published authors - the writing journey can have ups and downs, twists and turns and often what seem insurmountable obstacles. So what keeps us writing?
Over a two-part series, each of the CWD admin team will share their insights.
This photo shows my planning notes for last Thursday’s CWD blog post. Tentatively titled, ‘Are we there yet?’, I pondered the twists and turns of the writing journey and questioned why we persevere. However, the topic overwhelmed me and, fearing I’d descend into a ‘woe is me’ sob story, I opted to write ‘A Good Yarn’ instead. Then, when Jeanette O’Hagan asked me for a couple of paragraphs on what keeps us going as writers, it confirmed just how desperately we all need encouragement to persevere.
Over the last three years I’ve encountered interruptions and setbacks ad infinitum. I’ve left new stories simmering on the back burner while stirring the Indie Publishing upskill pot, and doused raging spot fires of personal ill health, family crises, and the COVID-19 invasion. Nevertheless, I bless and thank God for a pleasant detour beyond the fetid swamp of frustration as we celebrated our daughter’s ‘pandemic safe’ wedding in July. When life throws a tantrum, it’s tough finding the head and heart space to pursue this passion and calling to which we’re committed.
But therein lies a significant clue—we keep going because, as Christian believers, our call to write exceeds ourselves and our circumstances. Like all skilled artisans appointed by God (Exodus 31:1-6) our writing comes from and belongs to God just as we belong to him. It is our responsive act of love, devotion, honour, and service to our precious Lord and Saviour, a pleasing sacrifice, a pleasant aroma rising to him because, whether our writing is overtly or covertly Christian, God is the centre of our earthly existence, the central word in our personal story, the heart and soul of every phrase we write, and the Spirit that draws each and every reader to him.
That’s why we
stop glaring at the obstacles, stop trembling at the giants that threaten and
oppose us, and keep our eyes on the One who said, ‘Is anything too difficult or
too wonderful for me?’ (Gen 18:14 AMP). Believe me, once we see his eyes smiling at us and
his face nodding approval and encouragement, our strength to carry on is
renewed and renewed and renewed again. Today, will you look to him, see him and
write on? Will you seek out his personal word to you? Maybe he’ll expand upon my
scribbled notes. If so, I’d love you to share what the Lord reveals to you in
Susan Bruce (aka Sue Jeffrey)
It was the first time I’d ghostwritten and I found it much harder than expected. The book was complex with lots of research and there was a great deal of too-and-fro with the author. Overall the project took more than four times the hours allocated and I felt pretty burned out at the end. During that time I had little energy to write my own work. However from about halfway through the project I could feel this nagging voice inside me, like a small child tugging on her mother’s skirt. ‘What about me?’ I realised my own inner voice yearned to be heard. This was why I’d taken on this writing gig. God had given me things to say, and words to uplift and entertain, that needed to be expressed. It was one thing to write someone else’s words but I wouldn’t be happy unless I could express my own voice.
I’m still pretty exhausted and my back is in a bad way from long hours sitting, but I’m thankful for this gift of fresh focus. When I pray, I feel a deep peace surrounding my desire to write fiction and I believe that’s where I’m to focus my energy for the next few months. I have to write my own book. After that? Who knows. But I press on in the light that I have, pushing the doubts aside and whacking my steroid-enhanced inner critic on the head several times each day. I know if I do this, and persevere, whatever happens success wise I’ll have been true to myself and to God.
That’s what keeps me going as an author.