Way back at the start of my writing journey, I naively thought it would take a month or two to sell my novel once I’d finished writing it (which I did mid-year 2005). I scoffed at writers who only managed to sell the third or fourth book they’d penned thinking that would never be me. I laugh now when I look back – I pushed hard to finish my first book thinking that would be our source of grocery money in a month or two’s time. I know, right?! Writer friends – pick yourself up off the floor, stop sniggering and keep reading please.
The transition from that level of bright-eyed faith in my calling to the
impossible hope sober reality of getting a book published broke my heart many times over. I argued with God – how can He tell me to do something, then make it impossible for me to do? I fought, pleaded, declared in faith, got my friends to agree with me, still Heaven wouldn’t budge. In those early days, the one thing He did say consistently was that I was going to have to trust Him beyond what I’d ever trusted Him before. Ouch.
Did I ever want to give up? I’d be lying if I said no, and bad things happen to people who lie so… heck yeah. And I did, many times over. And yet, here I am still writing. And the strangest part of it all? I’m grateful that my first book wasn’t published the month after I’d finished writing it. Sounds crazy, but I am grateful to the very marrow in my bones and here’s why:
1) I’ve developed a writing work ethic that doesn’t depend on the acceptance / approval of others. Its a sneaky trap for a writer – there is nothing quite like the charge we get when someone ooo’s and aaah’s over our work, or we get a request for more, or we land that freelance job – it buoys us to keep the words flowing. But I found the energy from each positive would only carry me so far and I’d be needing my next fix of approval. I need to know what is in my gut to say to the world, and be true to put my bum in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard. Regardless of the feedback I do or do not get.
2) My skill as a writer has grown. I’ve had time to glean and absorb, to apply and work my writing muscles.
3) I appreciate any writing gaps that I get in my busy days. I don’t scoff at a stolen 10 minutes or a forward push of 500 words. It all adds up, builds and brings your book that tiny bit closer to being finished.
4) I’m getting to know myself as a writer – who my key audience is, what I should avoid writing, where my sweet spot is, the most effective way for me to tackle a project.
5) I’ve let go of the need to manipulate God’s timing and am able to let Him help me wait graciously and productively without the tantrums and crises of faith. He gave me the gift, He will use it best in His good timing. As much as I still get the odd day of throwing toys, I know I can trust Him to help me manage my heart in the meantime.
The process of waiting is a beautiful thing. It causes our roots to dig deeper into our Source, making us less likely to wither at the first blast of a hot wind or drought. It makes us tough yet, strangely, more flexible. It prepares us for the work that is written into our DNA to do.
And so I’ve learnt to trust the process, not only for the process itself, but because I know the Author of the process.
How do you cope with waiting? I’d love to hear from you.