A Blurred Starting Line

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Faith, Fear/Doubt, Friends of ACFW, writing 1 Comment

By Shirley E. Gould

According to the calendar, today is the first day of winter. With the variety of weather conditions across America you could have three feet of snow on the ground or be basking in the warm sunshine along the coast. We, in middle Tennessee, had an endless summer with a serious drought, basically two weeks of fall before winter temperatures had us bundled up in our heavy coats. The starting line for winter was blurred this year.

This out of the ordinary weather pattern altered the timing and vibrance of our leaves changing. We missed the stunning yellows, burgundies and oranges that we’re known for—that bring visitors to our state to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. With hope for a better year next year, we wait.

If you think about it, our ever-changing seasons resemble our writing journeys. We’re in a constant state of learning as we attempt to please the masses with our prose. Along the way there are seasons we walk through, seasons of acquiring an agent, dealing with edits and then the ever-lingering season of extreme patience as we wait for the illustrious book deal to come our way.

And, when it does, the work really begins. There are book covers to be designed, edits and more edits, growing email lists, a book launch to plan and book signings to schedule. We go from seasons with hurricane winds and rain to a period of time that are like walking a dry desert trail. It’s a world our readers know nothing about even though they truly appreciate the finished product as they turn pages or read their tablets.

As Christian Fiction authors, our solitary journeys have a super-natural element if we trust the Lord who gave us this gift with the ability and desire to write. As we plot and plan, we need to remember—we’re not alone…

Deuteronomy 31:8 says…
I will never leave you or forsake you.

 Proverbs 16:9 says…
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

As Christian authors, we have the Lord on our side. We must press on to finish our works in progress. Writing isn’t for cowards. We have to have strength and fortitude in our DNA to continue to put words on the page. As a Type-A personality, I fight the ‘do it my way’ battle. It’s then that the words blur on the page and I lose track of my goals. It’s then that I struggle for every word, every sentence. But when I pray about my writing and allow Him to guide my work, the sentences flow better and ideas come easier…and I don’t feel so alone.

My grand-daughter, Finley, is five. She likes to play games that she learned at preschool like Red Light, Green Light and Follow the Leader. She loves to be the leader. As her grandmother, I play the games. I make the memories. It’s what we do.

I’ve learned it is just that simple, that easy to ‘follow the leader’ and to obey the voice of the Lord telling me when to stop and go with all aspects of my writing career. I ask Him for blog ideas, plot twists and happily ever after endings. When I do that, I can rest in the fact that He knows my strengths and weaknesses and cares about the details of my life, about my writing career and He has a plan.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a veteran on this writing journey, relax, my writing friend. Seasons come and go as we learn and grow in our craft. Just trust Him…He is the best writing partner you can have…and He never leaves.

Be blessed this winter season and keep writing.

Shirley E. Gould is an inspirational speaker, an African missionary and a freelance journalist. She’s founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children, an orphanage in Kenya, East Africa. Shirley has written articles and newsletters for twenty years and is presently writing Christian Fiction novels. She lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area.


Comments 1

  1. Seasons come and seasons go,
    corn’s planted, picked, and shucked,
    and as we all already know,
    cancer’s season sucks.
    These days are set to be the gloaming
    of a life that is now passed,
    quiet talk, and no beer foaming
    out my battle-scarred pint-glass.
    Evening is the best of times
    (I heard Ishiguro say)
    but for me, that rings no chimes
    for I am not made that way.
    Hearken to me as I pound
    the bartop – “Let’s set up another round!”

    “Evening is the best time of day” is the signature line from Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, ‘The Remains Of The Day’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *