Pressing On

Awesome fan art for my trilogy made by K.M. Carroll.

Awesome fan art for my trilogy made by K.M. Carroll!

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged in several weeks is because I’ve been busy writing hard – or planning hard.  My brain has been busy, and half the time lost in Kraesinia.

But this past week has changed a lot of things.

It would take a long time to explain it all, and I don’t want to bore anyone, 😛 but here’s where I’m at in a nutshell.

I’ve been working on draft 5.3 of The Trusted since July 2014(!!).  This month I was taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo, and at the start of April I had high hopes of finishing this draft by July, so I could pitch it to a publishing house at the Realm Makers conference.

But as of today I’m officially scrapping this draft.

The whole thing.  All of it.

The reasons are many, but probably not interesting to those who haven’t read it, so I won’t go into all that.

The point is, I realized that it was not up to snuff, in a variety of serious ways.

There have been moments where this decision has been discouraging – mainly because I thought I was almost done!  *wails*  And I scrapped the draft before this when I was midway through that one, too, so I feel like I could have avoided all this if I’d put more thought into the revision that’s now going bye-bye.  So that’s disappointing, but what can you do?  It was all a learning process, so it was all good.

Overall, though, I’m really just excited!  Because God is answering prayer!

So many elements of this book need to be completely revolutionized; until now I never had the courage.  Standing at this crossroads has been bewildering and overwhelming.  I’ve prayed hard for wisdom – and asked prayer of writing friends as well.  And God has answered those prayers abundantly, and continues to do so, stunning me every day by setting new ideas in my lap, things that revolutionize how I see my characters or sharply clarify my vision.  I’ve never had so many ground-breaking realizations about this story in such a short period of time.  God is clearly answering prayer.  He is good!!

Sometimes the amount of work ahead (yet again) is overwhelming – but giving up is the cowardly, selfish thing to do.  If I’m focused on how it won’t be perfect (nooo!), how people I respect may not like it (ack!), and so forth…all I’m really thinking about is myself and my pride, my desire for admiration and acceptance.

But when I focus on the future readers, and ask God what I should do for Him and for them, the answer in the back of my mind is clear: “Press on.”  To do otherwise would be like the wicked servant burying his talent.  This story wasn’t given to me in order to bury it under a layer of earth for fear of failure.

Interestingly, I didn’t think of that answer, “Press on,” as a direct one from God at the time, but then I remembered this verse.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13b-14 (emphasis mine)

Sure, I’m taking it way out of context, 😀 but that’s a perfect command for me right now.

As time goes on, my sense of calling over this book only increases.  It’s important.  Deep down I know it is important for me to tell this story.  It’s a story only I can tell, and I am certain it has a purpose.

It’s such a massive part of my heart, too (and has been for 10 years and counting).  I don’t know how I will move on to anything else until it’s done and behind me, so it’s “blocking” the rest of my writing career.  Until this massive beast is tamed, I cannot even think of other beasties to play with.  Moving on eventually will be hard too!  But rather than dawdling as if this project will be around forever, I am making up my mind to finish finally.

My eyes are on the prize.  I am running the next lap of my race with joy, knowing my strength and inspiration comes only from the Lord of all creativity, and trusting Him with my story…which ultimately does not belong to me, but Him.

Sometimes asking for prayer for my writing feels silly.  Since my storyworld is all in my head, I guess I worry that prayer requests for it feel “imaginary”!

But no detail is too small for God; he cares about the worlds in my head as well as the world we walk in, because stories have power, and without Him we have no inspiration or creativity.  So if you think of it, I ask that you please pray for me in this next revision!  Pray that the Lord would continue to guide me and give me wisdom to understand how to craft this book into what it is made to be, a thing that will glorify Him and bless those who read it.

And if you’re struggling with a creative project, leave a comment explaining how you might need prayer!  I would be honored to lift you before the throne of grace too. 🙂

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20 Comments

  1. I’m so glad God has answered our prayers! 🙂

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  2. As a faith-based publisher and writer, o want to wncourage you that praying over what you feel called to do write isn’t silly at all! He does know every big AND little detail! I love that you say/know you are the one that has to tell THIS story! He has given you a great gift! I’ll be lifting you up in prayer on your journey! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Rachel! 🙂 Yes, I’ve finally come to where I pray over my writing all the time – it’s sometimes more embarrassing to ASK for prayer for it, though! But I’m learning to do that more too. 🙂

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  3. Rachel

     /  April 15, 2016

    Ack-sorry about the typos above-commenting late at night from my phone-not so good! But sentiment still stands. LOL

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  4. I get this. I’m on draft 8. I keep reading that first books aren’t usually published, which sometimes maskes me feel like I should give up. But I press on too. We’ve invested too much into these stories to drop them!

    Have you read K.M Weiland’s book on structure? I used it to evaluate my novel when I realized it needed more revisions. It’s been get helpful. I recommend it!

    And I pray about my writing too.

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    • I haven’t read K.M. Weiland’s book, but I have read her blog and incorporate a lot of her concepts into my outlining process!

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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  5. So glad you have the stamina to press on! I totally understand the need for the story to be perfect and not settling for anything less. The first book I ever wrote (a science fiction romance) went through four drafts, and I thought the last one was the final one, but after setting it aside I realize it needs to go through another draft! BUT we press in and don’t get discouraged because we know it’ll be so worth it for our readers (And us!) in the end!

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    • Yes, amen! Thank you, Sara. 🙂 It does take a lot of stamina, and the longer I work at it the harder it is to resist the perfectionism – because I want it to be GOOD for all those years of work, darnit! 😛 Haha.

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  6. I’ve had much the same experience over the past few months, especially since February. A couple weeks ago, I finally decided to dump my draft and reboot — partially because there were large swaths of book one that were not even touched upon until way too late in the draft for book two, and those that I did touch upon, the timing was way off.

    But more than that, I’d been absent from my world for so long that I felt like a stranger there. So the reboot (I’m on WIP 3.0 now hehe) is as much about rediscovering my world as it is about filling in the gaps.

    Lately, I’ve been trying a different approach to my writing. I’m typically a pantser, but this past week, I started outlining the plotlines of my individual characters, from start to end of book two. I wanted to see the sequence of events through their eyes, much as I do while pantsing, but uninterrupted. I’ve still got my three main characters to do, and a few minor characters, but already I’m seeing things a little differently. Hopefully, this experiment will reveal to me new things about my story, as well as how the characters weave in and out of the core plotline.

    I’ll keep you in prayer, and covet your prayers as well.

    Reply
    • I SO relate to the feeling of not being at home in your own world. I’ve felt that sometimes, and as part of my problem is the worldbuilding, I’m afraid I will feel it more keenly if I have to make some big changes. It’s hard to reimagine anything about the world itself after all these years when it sort of went untouched.

      I’ll pray your experiment is really helpful for you! Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Paul Lee

     /  April 15, 2016

    I would say that God cares about imaginary worlds because He is the transcendent Word, and the imaginary worlds in our heads are impressions of the foundational Meaning that gives life and definition to all things. Our worlds are flawed impressions, to be sure, but they each uniquely express something about the transcendent reality of God, so I think it is not inappropriate to claim that He gave them to us, or to hope that they might serve some purpose in the external world. (Sorry if that sounds too dreamy and/or subjective and/or heretical/gnostic for you.)

    Someday I would like to interview you about your creative process and your perspective on faith and fantasy, if I ever succeed in getting together a better fan site/web presence than my current blog. I make websites, but I’m not going to put something up until I’m sure of exactly how I want it to function, and exactly how I want to integrate it with my personal web presence, as well as its role for users.

    I’ve been struggling with a Biblical fiction story since about July 2014, asked to write it with an older man from my (former) church. It’s not my world, but it is one vision of an Old Testament world, and I think it could show some mythological wonder within the framework of what inerrantists believe to be historical fact. I find it difficult to keep up the motivation for the project, and also hard to find people to help keep me accountable to work on it, though I put in the time every week out of a sense of desperation.

    Reply
    • That doesn’t sound too dreamy/gnostic at all! I love it! 😀

      That sounds tricky, trying to write for a world that isn’t yours and that you don’t have motivation for. I will pray for you in that!

      And I’d definitely be up for an interview if you ever get that blog up. I’d be honored! 🙂

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      • Paul Lee

         /  April 15, 2016

        Many thanks.

        I’m imagining that I might get around to putting up that fansite/blog thing sometime nearer to the end of this year. It definitely *might* happen, because right now I’m working with other people on some web development stuff that I plan to tangent into setting up the domain and hosting (that I already own) for the site I want to make. But I’m INFP, so maybe not….. but I’ll look you up if I do.

        Thanks, and Godspeed for Kraesinia.

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        • Aha! How did I know you were INFP? Did we discuss this before or did I just intuitively know this with my INFJ intuition based on your writing style? Hehe.

          That all sounds exciting! Definitely let me know. God bless!

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        • Paul Lee

           /  April 18, 2016

          I commented on your most recent MBTI post, but I don’t know maybe you can read minds or something, too.

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  8. Sounds like we’re in the same boat. 😉 I’ve been working on my first book for nearly 10 years now, off and on. Not that long ago, I had bee feeling that the plot for the last half of the book was’t quite right and one night it just hit me what changes were needed. It was very exciting to see the events and characters all falling into place and flowing in the right direction in my head–but it also means I’m basically scrapping half the draft and rewriting it all. The end result will be worth it–I hope–but I understand too well how discouraging it can be at times to see how much work is still left to be done, and how much I still have to learn and improve. I’m beyond thankful for the gift God has given me and for this story that has become such a large part of my heart, but I find myself praying all the time for wisdom as well. It can be such a daunting task!

    Also, given that I’ve never really shared my writing with others until recently, I’m learning that I’m not that great at taking criticism. XP haha…I tend to take negative feedback way too personally, and convince myself for at least several days after that I’m a complete failure, which only makes me miserable. So, that’s another aspect I have to pray about and discipline myself about on a regular basis, because I know it’s selfish and, ultimately, a lack of trust in God. He gave me this story for a reason, and I want to see it through. I just have to remind myself constantly that I can’t do it for, as you put it, the admiration or acceptance of others. It’s for God’s glory, not mine.

    I will be praying for you on your continuing journey in Kraesinia, and would likewise appreciate your prayers as I work through a similar situation. 🙂

    Reply
    • Your situation sounds so similar to mine, wow. Right down to being so thankful for the gift and the story but feeling overwhelmed – been there!! 🙂

      I used to be really sensitive to criticism too; I did take it personally and I felt like a failure. You’re not a failure!! You’re learning, like everyone else who’s ever written books. 🙂 Are you in any writing groups online? Do you have many writer friends you could bounce things off?

      Thank you for your prayers for my Kraesinia! I’ll pray for your project too. 😀

      Reply

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