with guest Cate Nolan.
I remember seeing a craft book with that title and thinking how simple it sounded.
Some days writing is simple. Some days it’s even glorious. But some days it’s just plain hard work.
In preparing this post, I’ve been reflecting upon the seasons of this writing life.
We have those hopeful spring days when every seed of an idea is a beautiful story waiting to be nurtured.
Spring gives way to writing’s summer - long carefree days of playing with characters, splashing around in plot puddles, maybe chasing the fireflies of our dreams.
Glorious autumn yields a writer’s heart grateful for God’s bountiful harvest of words. We approach our writing each day refreshed, renewed, and with joyful anticipation.
But what about the bleak winter of a writer’s soul?
What about those days when you can’t string two words together without cringing? When your mind feels like that image of the writer’s trash bin full of crumpled paper.
How do we find motivation to keep pounding the keyboard when that bright and shiny beloved idea has become a problem child who refuses to cooperate? Those days you are absolutely convinced this creature will never come close to your hopeful imaginings?
We can overcome.
I think, that as writers of inspirational fiction, we have a secret weapon to keep us going through those dark days. We have the knowledge that we are serving our God with our work.
It’s not always easy to keep that purpose in mind. I’m hoping, with this post today, to begin a conversation that will inspire us to remember the importance of our work - especially during those times when doubt prevails.
For a long time I hesitated to write inspirational fiction because I lacked the confidence to tackle something so important. Who was I to preach through my writing? The task was too daunting. Eventually, though, through prayer and conversations with other writers, I came to understand that the answer was simply that as a child of God it is my calling and my responsibility to share his love.
When I was writing Christmas in Hiding for the Killer Voices contest, I was teaching full time, tutoring after school, and trying to keep a husband and dog fed and happy.
I was also up against a hard deadline that at times seemed impossible to meet. I was ready to toss in the towel more often than I care to remember.
But just when I needed it most, I heard a song that put it all in perspective for me. The TV show Nashville has a lot of great music, but one song in particular spoke to me - specifically these lyrics from the song It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away.
“What if you’re just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away.
The lyrics literally jumped out at me. Whenever I even considered quitting, I’d put that song on and keep writing. What if God had given me something special to say? What if by quitting, I was saying no to Him?
I’ll tell you, that thought was a powerful motivator!
More recently, I came across a quote by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling Morning and Evening Devotional.
She says: “There are no limits to what My great Power and Glory can accomplish!”
Think about that. There are no limits to what God can do through our writing - except those we impose upon ourselves.
Several weeks ago, I heard a reading from the Book of Numbers (11:25-29) The people were trying to get Moses to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying. Moses responded, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”
So every time you think you can’t do it, every time you’re tired of rejection or bad reviews, remember that secret weapon. Remember that we write in service of an awesome God.
There was another song I had on repeat while I wrote Christmas in Hiding. I thought it was rather appropriate since it was the version from The Voice. Holly Tucker singing How Great Thou Art never failed to move me and I wrote the song into my story, giving it to my heroine, Callie to sing at the lowest point in her life.
The day before I got the call from Emily Rodmell, I was walking home from church when suddenly the church bells began to peal a song I’d never heard them play before. Yes, How Great Thou Art. I still get emotional remembering that moment. It felt very much like a sign of approval. I try to remember that feeling too when the demons of doubt assail me.
Last week Mary Connealy wrote about the cord of three strands and said,
“I think Christian fiction can be so much more powerful than secular fiction. And it’s that third strand—Faith—that strengthens it… The underpinning of faith gives the entire Christian book a depth…And it makes for stories that are not easily broken.”
I’d like to add to that and say we write stories of faith and that makes us writers who are not easily broken. We have God on our side because we are telling faith-inspired stories. Through our writing, we are being his disciples. If we allow ourselves to be open and let his love and grace work through us, there are absolutely no limits to the stories we can tell and the light we can bring into this world.
Cate Nolan lives in New York City, but she escapes to the ocean any chance she gets. A devoted mom, wife and teacher, Cate loves to leave her real life behind and play with the characters in her imagination. She’s got that suspense writer gene that sees danger and a story in everyday occurrences. Cate particularly loves to write stories of faith enabling ordinary people to overcome extraordinary danger.
Where you can find Cate:
Today Cate is giving away an autographed copy of Christmas in Hiding to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Christmas In Hiding
CHRISTMAS IN WITNESS PROTECTION
After her ex-boyfriend's murder, Callie Martin has no choice but to trade her quiet life as a kindergarten teacher for the witness protection program. It's US Marshal Jackson Walker's job to keep Callie safe, but the men who would do her harm just keep getting closer and closer. Either someone on the inside is betraying Callie, or she's lying to Jackson about her involvement. So he decides to go off the grid, spiriting her away to the remote Vermont countryside at Christmas. Jackson wants to trust her, but with danger dogging their every move, he'll have to use all his energy to keep her alive.
|Day 12 of our Birthday Bash!!|