Rediscovering the Joy of Writing

This past week I had the privilege of both attending and teaching at Write!Canada.

I had tons of fun hanging out with my editor and my agent

my agent Steve Laube
My agent Steve Laube and I, goofing around for the camera before the awards gala. BTW, Deadly Devotion won the suspense category!

and old friends and new friends, and despite entering this new week severely sleep-deprived because of it, I have an I-can’t-wait-to-write-today anticipation that I haven’t felt in weeks, maybe months!

Fellowship with fellow writers and awesome classes can do that, but a huge part of the credit goes to Ted Dekker’s inspiring keynote address and class.

Okay, I honestly don't know why I look a tad spaced. He's not the least bit scary.
Okay, I honestly don’t know why I look a tad spaced. He’s not the least bit scary.

I have to admit that the last Dekker book I read was Three. The plots started getting too dark for my comfort level, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from his talks. But wow, I am so glad I didn’t miss them!

He was so open and honest, talking writer to writer.

We learned about his childhood on the mission field in Indonesia and at boarding school, and his rocky journey to publication, and the new fears and struggles that came with sudden success. Too often our identity is wrapped up in our job or our children or spouse or in what we accomplish instead of in the Father and what he’s done for us.

Then he shared a proverb about a person who climbs a rope to get away from the tiger chasing him, only to be faced with a second tiger at the other end of the rope and two mice nibbling through the rope.

Tigers

He likened the tigers to our fears and how if you’re focused on them you won’t escape the fear and see the beauty around you…the strawberries.

He admitted that he often needs to consciously let the fear fall away before he begins writing each day and remind himself that the accuser is the one telling him he doesn’t love this.

When we let go of the fear & the lies, rivers of living water–creativity–can flow.

sandcastleHe likened our stories to sandcastles and authors are like kids playing in the sand.

We’re having fun making stuff up. If we don’t like it, we can wipe it away and start over. Change the story.

So go have fun and build a sandcastle!

 

Tiger image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
photo credit for sandcastle: KenC1983 via photopin cc

 

 

 

 

Seeing God’s Hand in Your Journey

   
This summer my husband and I visited Algonquin National Park in Northern Ontario, a wilderness brimming with pristine lakes, winding rivers and spectacular views. Being avid hikers, we chose one of the more difficult climbs, and as we sweated our way up a very steep, very long incline, I began contemplating how very much like the writing journey this hike was becoming.

A few mosquitoes buzzed around taking chunks out of me, not unlike how I felt after reading the first few critiques of my writing.
The air was unusually humid and several times we were tempted to stop and turn back. Then we’d arrive at a plateau and feel the sweet cooling breezes and catch a glimpse of the spectacular view awaiting us at the top.
And once again I found myself contrasting the experience to my writing journey. How in a similar way, God had given me little glimpses of hope to refresh and to encourage and to spur me to keep moving forward.
As my husband and I pressed onward and upward, my mantra became you can’t see the view if you don’t climb the height. Sure I could experience it vicariously by listening to others rave about it, or by looking at photos, but part of what makes the view so very spectacular is the effort required to get there. 
I honestly don’t think I would have appreciated it nearly as much if I’d simply been able to pull up in my car and snap the photo. And I wondered if I’d have felt the same way if getting published had been easy, if the first novel I’d written had immediately found a home and launched my writing career. Somehow, I don’t think I would have savored the accomplishment nearly as much.

In the same way, the photo doesn’t do the view justice. You can’t feel the breeze on your face, hear the cry of an eagle soaring overhead or the rustle of the leaves, or smell the heat on the rocks or the scent of pine. Neither do you feel your pounding heart begin to slow as you recover from the climb.
As I stood at the height soaking in the spectacular view, Psalm 121 came to mind:
1I lift up my eyes to the hills—
   where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.
And I was filled with a profound gratitude for the arduous journey toward publication, because it taught me to lean wholly on Him, to follow where he leads and trust in Him for the fruit. 
Your Turn: We all face difficult journeys in our life whether they be dreams we aspire to, or are situations thrust upon us. What glimpses of God’s hand have you seen in your journey?