I’ve learned so many things from Gina Detwiler. Our partnership has been one of the great surprises of this season in ministry. When I prayed that the Lord would send me a imaginative, creative and brilliant writer to help put flesh on the scrawny bones of The Prince Warrior Series, He answered . . . with Gina!
Gina is a writer’s writer. It’s her skill and her joy that intrigue me (’cause let’s be honest, many people have one of these traits but not the other). Her pen is like a fine tuned instrument, posed and ready to bring vivid colors to the mind’s eye. And I’ve found that she has so many incredible words of wisdom for anyone aspiring to write words that are worth another’s time to read. We’ve shared some of them before.
Today, she offers words of encouragement to any would-be writers who are discouraged at the arduous process, reeling from rejection or just fed up with writer’s block. Hoping this will give you some steps to get out of those doldrums.
Part 1 today. Part 2 coming up soon!
Enjoy this post . . . from my friend and co-author, Gina Detwiler.
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If I had to pick the hardest thing to deal with as a writer, it’s rejection.
To any young person who asks me for advice in pursuing a writing career, I tell them: get used to rejection. The most famous authors in the world faced rejection, sometimes for long periods. We have a writer saying: “R.I.P.” Rejection Isn’t Personal. But it sure feels like it is! We writers tend to be sensitive, insecure people whose work becomes our identity. If a publisher or editor or agent rejects our story, it’s like they are rejecting us, even though the two are not the same.
I’ll be honest, here: I have quit writing many times. I’ve thought I should get a “real job,” like a plumber. Plumbers bring true joy to people. Nothing like an unclogged septic tank to make you break into a happy dance.
My resolve has never lasted long. But here’s the question: how do you know, when you are doing a thing, that God wants you to keep doing that thing?
One thing I do know, rejection and discouragement don’t qualify as reasons to quit. Remember Elijah? The Prophet of God who, after the greatest success of his career on Mount Carmel, sank into such a deep depression that he wished he’d never been born? (This is in 1 Kings 18-19, if you are following along in your Bibles.) Why? Because his super-duper miracle hadn’t changed a single heart (though it did stop a few). It only made his enemies madder. So, he thought, what’s the point? Why do I even bother?
I love that God answers his weeping and wailing with: lunch.
So, step # 1 When you want to quit: Have lunch. Then take a nap.
God makes Elijah some food and then tells him to take a nap. Can you relate?
Once Elijah is feeling stronger physically, God’s next direction is to take a walk. To the top of a mountain. I’ve found that “walking it out” is a great way to sort through the stuff of life. (Not running, mind you. Nothing good comes of running, LOL.) It’s also a great way to burn off those lunch calories.
Once he’s had a good nap and a nice walk, God addresses Elijah’s spiritual malaise. He asks, point blank: “Elijah, what are you doing here?” God’s not interested in his physical location, but his spiritual one. Elijah starts right in with more complaining: “I’m doing all this amazing stuff for You, but it was a total failure and I’m all alone, so please kill me now” (Paraphrasing here!)
No matter how sure we are of God’s role for us, there are times when we all think: “All I’ve done has gotten me exactly nowhere, so I must be a failure.”
Step # 2: Vent. This is healthy, for a time.
God’s not a fan of us grumbling and complaining to each other, but He’s okay with taking our laments directly to him. After all, there’s a whole book in the Bible called “Lamentations.” God lets Elijah repeat his complaints two times. But He doesn’t say, “There, there Elijah, I know how you feel. I’ve been there.”
When Elijah is done venting, God gives him a to-do list. It’s like God is saying, “Okay, feel better now? Great. Here’s what you’re going to do.”
So, why not start here with these two steps if you’ve been feeling discouraged lately. Feed yourself something hearty and satisfying, nap, exercise and then take your concerns to God in prayer. He’ll listen, restore and then rejuvenate you to full strength.
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Be sure to join us next Tuesday for part 2!