“I really dislike my book. My character is an insipid female with no strength of her own,” I typed in a text to my-friend-with-the-big-publishing-house-contract.
Which friend you might ask, and you’d be right in asking, because I have several friends who have contracts with major publishing houses. I’ve seen these friends rise to the top of their game with #1 ratings on Amazon, calls to speak hither and yon, and multiple future book deals even now in the works. I’ve had the privilege (and it has been a true privilege) of being there with them through beta reads, pre book launch discussions, launch team insider groups, and finally, sharing in the excitement of BOOK LAUNCH day!
I know, I know, I may be doing a little comparing of myself to others, and comparison is the thief of joy, right? I’ve preached that with the best of them.
Here I sit with my little blog, occasionally checking in with y’all, while working on my own book on the side. The book that alternately consumes every waking moment or lies dormant and forgotten under the other demands of life. Namely, this “staging to sell” mode I’ve been in.
With all in order here on the home front I picked up the book writing again this week and began skimming through the pages to remind myself of where I was, and after reviewing only a few chapters, I came to the conclusion that I dislike my book. Yup, if I were to pick it up in a bookstore and read the first few pages I would realize right away how beginner-ish it is and lay it right down again without giving it a second thought.
Y’all! Fiction writing is H.A.R.D.!
Making likeable characters is hard. Showing instead of telling is hard. Drawing readers into the story with all of their senses is hard.
I’m sure my husband does some inner cringing every time I tell him that I don’t know how to write good fiction and that I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of it (this has been an off-and-on theme in our household by the way). He looks especially dismayed when I question whether or not I should give it all up. After all the money invested in classes, conferences, computers, and tech help? Not to mention the bazillions of hours of pouring my heart out on the keyboard, only to go back and realize that what I’ve written simply won’t make the cut.
How do I know? Because I’m a reader. I know good writing. And I know that really good writing is kind of a rare thing. But that’s what I want my writing to be!
So am I giving up? No, not today. Let me share with you some things I’ve learned in my QT this week (a week of extreme frustration and discouragement) that have caused me to determine to press on.
- Monday, at my ladies-of-the-lake Bible study we had to fill in the blanks of the following statement: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me ____________. And when I do ______________, I feel His pleasure.” You might guess that the answer to this was writing. Writing is frustrating at times, but I do feel God’s pleasure when I know that the words He’s given me have touched the heart of someone else.
- Tuesday, in my quiet time I was reading a passage in the book Chase the Lion, by Mark Batterson. Here are some key thoughts I wrote down in my journal:
- God-given dreams are more about others than they are about me.
- The goal of a God-given dream should be to honor the God who gave it to me in the first place.
- Am I living to make Him famous?
- On the days when I feel like a no-name I must remember that if my dream is to honor God it doesn’t matter.
- Wednesday, I wrote this quote, also from Chase the Lion: “If you stay humble and stay hungry [for God], there is nothing God cannot do in you or through you.”
- Then Thursday: “In every dream journey there comes a moment when you have to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. You have to go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.”
- And today, Friday, my quiet time brought me to Psalm 63, A psalm of David, when he was hanging out in a desert. I wonder if his desert was anything like this writing desert of mine?
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
I had to ask myself what I wanted more, for this book to come to fruition or God Himself?
Down on my knees I confessed and repented and declared my choice out loud, “I choose You God.” Click To Tweet
And I am humbled.
This week has been five days of God pouring encouragement into my heart every time I’ve turned to Him with my complaints and inadequacies. Do you know what the meaning of the number five is in the Bible? The number 5 symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans. Isn’t God good that He spoke to me each day this week?
Side note: If I weren’t in the habit of journaling I might not have heard God’s message to me. In truth, my journal often turns out to be God’s Personal pep talk to me.
So back to the writing table I go. At least until I hear the Lord say it’s time to lay it down.
Maybe you too, are in a place of discouragement as you pursue your own God-given dreams. If so, I hope the words that encouraged me this week might also encourage you.
I’ve been known to link up to the following great parties!!!
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FunkyJunkInteriors, OneMoreTimeEvents, SaturdaySparks, TheInspirationGallery, Make My Saturday Sweet
And SATURDAY: Leslie reminds me to simply write for an audience of ONE.
Yes! I wonder what the number six symbolizes in Scripture 😉
Dr. Michelle Bengtson says
Beautiful friend. I needed your encouragement today. Keep writing.
Even the great ones (and you are GREAT) need encouraging don’t they? Love you!
Lisa Young says
Thanks, Patty! Love this!!
Thank you Lisa. Hugs!
Many Blessings to you Patti!
Thanks my friend. God is good <3
I love your thoughts on Wednesday, He has this Patti, He already knows who your writing is meant to reach and teach. I have faith that His plan will prevail!
I had to look back at what I wrote for Wednesday and yes, staying hungry for Him is the key. My words, written on my best day, are powerless without God’s inspiration. Thanks Lisa.
Diana Rockwell says
P Patricia, I needed your encouraging words. Thank you Diana
Oh Diana, I’m so happy my words spoke to you. You are such an encourager yourself! Bless you.
I so often wonder why I write. Because God asked me to. Thank you for sharing your struggle so vulnerably.
Writing can be so hard can’t it Debbie? We never really know how many will read all the way through or be touched in some way. I often have to remind myself, as my friend Leslie said in her comment, that I must write for an audience of One. If it is truth, from the heart, I know He is pleased. And yes, even if it’s not perfect!
Michele Morin says
I didn’t know that you were writing fiction — such a challenge!
Lately, I”ve been thinking that some of the books God has used most in my life have been fiction, which is surprising, because for the past couple of years, I’ve read mostly non-fiction.
Oh Michele, it definitely is a challenge. I think the greatest challenge I’m having is that I want it to make a difference in people’s lives, and it always seems like REAL stories have more power than fiction. Everything I attempt to write about is, of course, based upon personal experience, so I hope that comes through the writing.
I never saw myself as a writer, even after self-publishing my book. I like to share my life in words and I suppose that makes me a writer. May you continue to be encouraged and strengthened for this journey. Blessings!
Thank you Barbie. I’m finally beginning to call myself a writer, but not an author. Maybe I’ll be able to do that when I have a real book!
Valerie Sisco at Grace with Silk says
I’m your neighbor at Holley’s today and I just love this post! Yes, writing is so hard but you’re so right that when we write (even just in our journals) God meets us there. That’s the beauty of this journey, isn’t it? And Patti, your writing is beautiful here so I’m pretty sure you’re being a little hard on yourself and I can’t wait to read whatever work of fiction is being birthed in you! Sending love to you! xoxo
Thank you dear Valerie! I am thankful for you and your words of affirmation. Especially since you are one of my favorite writers to read. Love & hugs!
My prayer journals are the same way, Pam. God encourages me page after page, prayer after prayer. And I can so relate to your writing struggle. I’ve been convicted time after time by God that He has called me to be faithful not successful. Of course, if I am faithful I will be successful in the way He defines success. Often His view and mine do not jive!! And that’s when I get in trouble! ha! Keep on persevering, my friend! There is so much more God is doing in and through you than you’ll ever realize!
*Patti* Eek! Sorry for the wrong name! What was I thinking!
Patti, I love your encouraging post and your heart is beautiful! I understand that struggle with writing. It’s really difficult for me. I often get frustrated because I’m a homeschool mom and I’m needed “all day long.” I need silence to write. Long spaces of silence. Yet I don’t really get that. But God is good, and what I do is for Him not me. Thank you for sharing this and keep writing!
Thank you Kelly, I will indeed. You keep writing too and know that while it may not easier once the kids are grown the long periods of silence will come! Was that an encouraging sentence or not? LOL! Anyway, writing is always hard, but you will have more time to conquer it.
My goodness, I can connect with you on so many levels here! Thank you for sharing your heart and reassuring me that I am not alone! I loved all of the ways that God has ministered to your heart this week, but I especially love Thursday’s quote! I am tired of only chasing the things that I know will be a success. I want to follow God’s big plan for me and watch His divine intervention. Thank you for sharing your heart!
Thank you for this Jessica. I appreciate you words today.
Donna Reidland says
One thing I’ve learned is “writers write”! We can’t NOT write without feeling as if we’ll explode. I remember a writing instructor years ago saying we should all write this and tape it to our computers (I think it was typewriters then :-/ ): “Others may write better than me, but I write!” Her point was you can have all the great words or characters in your head, but if you don’t actually sit down and write, no one will ever be blessed by them. And it’s only in the actual writing that we grow as writers. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Joanne Viola (@JViola79) says
Such an encouraging post, Patti. I love how God knows exactly the words we need to read and hear to keep us on the path of fulfilling His purposes in our lives. May He bless you as you write!
This so spoke to me. Discouragement with trying to write and teach full time and parent, etc. – it was overwhelming this week. Thank you for the encouragement!
Discouragement seems to dog every one of us as writers, and it is especially hard when one’s life is so FULL. Thank you Carol for your comment.
Crystal Twaddell says
We are all in this together, and it is so reasurring to be reminded that God has each of us on a unique and personal path to glorifying him with our gifts. We write for Him….keep writing and glorifying God in the process as He shapes and molds your heart:)
Thank you Crystal! It’s good to have company in this writing journey 🙂
My Dear, You have no idea how encouraging your post was to me today. I needed your words of perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. But nothing is impossible with God! I love that you will continue writing until God Himself tells you otherwise! Praise Him for your perseverance and for listening to His still, small (but mighty) voice!
Dear Patricia, thank you for sharing with me that you were encouraged by my post. That means the world to me as the whole goal behind writing is for God to touch people with my thoughts put to paper – or computer screen:) You are absolutely right in saying that nothing is impossible with God. I don’t know what your circumstances are but I know that He cares about every detail and longs to be your comfort and strength. Praying that the light on the other side of the situation(s) is evident to you today.