By Deborah K. Anderson
Have you ever felt as though someone, or something, tries to stop you from writing? You know, an evil force on a perverse mission hinders you from finishing an article, a short story, or perhaps even that next novel? It may sound crazy, but I’ve encountered this more times than I can count.
Several years ago, I landed an assignment with a prominent publisher. After turning in my first article, the editor asked me to submit two more. Before I could finish, a shortfall occurred.
And it was over.
Just like that.
Then my white dove died. The day after burying my feathered friend, I broke out with poison ivy-in the dead of winter-and had a severe reaction.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
My elderly mother had a heart attack.
One of my cats died.
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
Overwhelmed, I plopped onto my bed and sobbed. Why bother? You’re never going to make it anyway.
So I surrendered to those thoughts and walked away from writing-for a few months.
When I finally returned, strange things started happening all over again.
I perched in front of my computer one day, fingers flying across the keyboard, and I decided to reward myself with a piece of chocolate candy. I bit into the luscious morsel and chewed, savoring the burst of flavor in my mouth-until my bottom molar cracked.
After I arrived at the dentist’s office, I sat quivering in the chair, with a root canal looming in front of me, but the tooth broke off the rest of the way and had to be pulled. At least I avoided pain from the root canal. Right?
The next day I developed a dry socket.
Then another one of my cats died.
I wish I were kidding.
Days later, as I tooled around on the riding lawnmower, sniffling as I passed by my cat’s grave, a swarm of bees chased me. I also had an encounter with some snakes farther down in the valley.
See what I mean? It’s perverse, I tell you.
Why this happens to me every time I get a good head of steam going on a project, I’ll never know. I keep telling myself that I’m on the cusp of something big (it works for me, Dr. Phil), and that there’s a huge blessing waiting for me if I can just hang in there and clear the next hurdle. I do wonder, though, how many more of these obstacles remain in front of me.
And people wonder why I have such a sparkling personality.
Since that time, and after more roadblocks, I finally finished my novel. I didn’t come all this way to get pushed around by minions, tragedies, insects, and reptiles.
Speaking of which, don’t let anyone, or anything, steal the gift God has given you. Your blessing, and hopefully your next novel, could be waiting for you on the other side.
Deborah has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, SCBWI, and FCW. She recently completed a supernatural suspense novel for young adults. You can contact Deborah at: DAnderson955@aol.com. Visit her blog at: www.deborahkanderson.com.
(Originally published in CFOM, June 2010)
Great post, Deborah, very identifiable. I had so many obstacles I questioned whether I was to write and God always sends a confirmation even as I’m blocked from moving forward, backward, or stepping to the side. Then I ran into verse about God hemming me in. He wants total dependency on him. He wants each step to be in his timing and will. I did. Suddenly this imprisonment of obstacles seemed like a paradise. Thanks for your cheering post, a reminder to be faithful to the calling, even as God is faithful.
My husband is a pastor, so we experience this quite frequently. Just when God seems to really be working through us in our church, the bottom falls out. We now see it for what it really is – When we’re having an impact for the Kingdom, satan hates it. He will do whatever he can to thwart our efforts.
The key is to not let it stop you but spur you on, because if we’re not accomplishing for the Lord, satan doesn’t feel threatened and will leave us alone.
I am a stay at home mom of four little ones (including twin boys who just turned two!) and my days are full of one obstacle after another. I try to write when they are asleep, but that leaves very little energy and creativity for my stories, so I sneak in ten minutes here and fifteen mintues there whenever I can manage. It isn’t much, but little by little it’s adding up.
Deborah~ At first I thought it was a joke showing how things can happen to take away our joy….It appears that definitely happened to you. I’m wondering if you were writing something that Satan just didn’t want done, and tossed road-blocks in your way. What a time you had! Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is greater and with His help you were able to pick up and continue to work your craft?
Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on the work you are doing~
Obstacles are everywhere. Some are self-inflicted and some are external. As Mary Allen says, they all serve a purpose. Improving self-discipline. Redirecting or narrowing focus. Creating dependence on God. The list goes on.
As you pointed out, the real secret is turning each such event over to God then pushing forward in the strength and power when He so directs and in waiting when that’s what He wants.
Are we living the same life?
I love how you balance truth with just the right touch of snarky…
I needed this laugh today and also the reminder to write no matter what’s happening around you.
Mary: Amen, God is faithful, isn’t He? You keep moving forward, sister.
Paula: I’ve had others tell me the same things you just mentioned. And I think you’re right, sister. Onward!
Gabrielle: You keep pressing on. God will bless you for being faithful over those few minutes, you know?
Diane: I know. This stuff wouldn’t even make for plausible fiction! I must be close to something. As was already mentioned, I wouldn’t be getting fought so hard otherwise.
Carrie: They do serve a purpose. I may not know what all of them are yet, but that’s okay. God is in control, not me.
Sherrie: Uh, yes, we are. 🙂
Cynthia: Thank you. I’m glad you “get” my sparkling personality.
Thank you all for your words of wisdom, encouragement, and humor. You’ve all been a blessing to me.