I shared last month that I’ve been slogging through a deep writing funk. I’ve struggled to write creatively for several months and it’s not letting up, I regret to say. My characters feel trite and nearly dead to me. My story feels sophomoric and beyond redemption. I keep thinking the fog will lift, that my affection for my story and the craft will be restored to me. It hasn’t.
In past years I’ve written my New Years blog post with an eye on an ever-simmering desire for publication. Every year I believed THIS might be the year for me. My heart, my prayers, and my energy were devoted wholeheartedly to “the goal.” I was ready. I was serious about this dream. I was hopeful.
Not this year.
It’s not impatience which has taken that hope from me. I’ve always been prepared to wait on the Lord. I never thought writing success, as I imagined it to be, would happen quickly for me. But the waiting feels different this year. Last year, and the year before (and the year before), I was waiting for God to do something for me. This year I’m being quiet, and waiting for God to do something in me.
It’s begun, I think, with a humbling. A taking away of something good to make room for something…else. Something that is not about story and adventure and proving a moral good through my characters and plot.
So there is no fictional world for me right now. No winter whose chill and ice I have to imagine and create with words on the page. No smells, no tastes, no sudden frights. There is no hero to make affable but flawed, no villain to humanize. No romance, no fighting, no tears, no blood, no misunderstandings, no obstacles to overcome. No climax, no long-awaited kiss at the end. I have loved all these things, and still do. I pray they are being kept safe for me until the fog lifts, God willing.
Neither is there a hope for publication. God has taken that from me, but I am grateful. The bondage of hoping for worldly success has been lifted from me, and it is wonderful to face the blank page without it. For now, my writing consists only of my handwriting on paper; my thoughts, my prayers. When I’ve written for a while, I close the notebook and tuck it away. I don’t reread it a dozen times, clean it up, and get it ready for critique. It’s not for anyone else. I don’t wonder how it will be received because I know it won’t ever be. It’s between God and me and I can trust Him not to let it be wasted.
Making Much of God
I believe one of the things God is teaching me during this time is how to make less of myself and more of him. I know intellectually that’s what we’re called to do as Christians. But in my experience, it’s one thing to know it; it’s quite another to live it out, especially for a writer who loves the sound of her own words and desires that others would love them too.
So my goal with my writing, and my life in general this year, is to flesh out what it means to treasure Christ above my own words, above my dreams, above my desires, above my comfort, and even above my life. To truly say my only boast is in the cross. To count everything–even writing–as loss compared with knowing Christ.
I’m way too worldly and self-centered to do this on my own, but I have the Word of God, the lesser words of great theologians, and the company of prayerful friends, both near and far.
Pray for me, Reader, and share with us how we can come alongside you in prayer and suppor during this Year of Our Lord, 2018.