Guideposts for a writer's journey, part 4
Welcome! We have been discussing the writer's journey. I likened it to climbing up the side of a Colorado mountain. In my case, I had started on a path that began easily then got more difficult the longer I climbed.
I believe that the uphill climb is similar to writing.
I have a theory when it comes to pursuing publication: I believe that every writer can have a satisfying writing journey by following five guideposts along their way.
The first guidepost we discussed was the STOP sign and the significance of why you needed to stop before you began. Read that post here.
The second guidepost was the ONE WAY sign, which discussed the importance of commitment. Read that post here.
Last week's guidepost was the WINDING ROAD sign. We talked about the twists and turns the writer's journey takes you on. Read that post here.
The guidepost we will discuss this week is SPEED BUMP AHEAD.
So, you’ve been busy learning the craft, hanging out with writers, and having your work critiqued. You’ve gone to conferences, and you’ve written and written and written.
You want nothing more than to devote yourself to your writing career. And then IT happens.
“It” could represent any number of things. Your spouse needs additional training to continue on a career track or your child longs to explore an expensive activity, and your funds have to be diverted to family demands. Maybe you've volunteered for a position at church or school and underestimated the time commitment. You get sick or a loved one gets sick. In other words, life gets in the way.
Or sometimes you just get stuck. The creativity that once flowed like pure milk chocolate in a buffet fountain has dried up.
A writer I know posted this Facebook update: I have spent four months on chapter one. This doesn't worry me. Not at all. And my new hobby of uncontrollable sobbing is just a coincidence.
When I was nearly finished with my first (published) novel, I was so ready to meet with agents and editors. That spring I went to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and enrolled in a clinic run by Angie Hunt and Nancy Rue. Part of the protocol was to share the first three chapters of your book.
I was so excited and proud to share my pages. Then quite matter of factly, Angie Hunt pointed out that my opening sentence was boring and that I started my book in the wrong place. (And she was right!) I went home and wrote a new first sentence and three new chapters.
The timeline you had fabricated in your head—you know, the one that had you being a smashing success right around now—is not to be. Maybe you have to do some rewriting, maybe you have to study up on craft. Maybe you have to take time out of the writing world to tend to matters close to home.
But whatever your speed bump is, realize it’s not fatal. It's not the end of the world or even the end of the road. It's just a speed bump.
We are forced to slow down when we come to a speed bump, but eventually, we get back up to speed again.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4