When It Isn’t About Failing

I’m listening intently as writer friends spill their hearts about why they haven’t yet pursued their dreams of writing more fully.  And, as I listen, I’m trying to piece together my own reasons.

Slowly, and clearly, mine are emerging.

They aren’t pretty.

Each one feels as though it reveals a deep character flaw.

And, although I’ve never been one to shy away from writing about the hard things, I’ve also never reveled in shining a spotlight on my deepest cracks, either.

As I ask myself what plays a part in the hindrance of my dream of writing, I’m realizing that failing isn’t what worries me. A writer has to accept a certain level of failure with every push of the publishing button.

If, as Flannery O’Connor said, “I write to discover what I know”, then that is surely one of my strongest inhibitors.

My dream of writing is often stifled by my understanding that I don’t know much. I’m not writing, necessarily, for an audience that will “get it”. Although, it is such a beautiful feeling of community and camaraderie when that happens. I’m writing so that, eventually, hopefully, I’ll get it!

Write_to_discover_missindeedy

Putting words to feelings and ideas is a deeply personal thing, yes. Writing, and then discovering that I haven’t really got the foggiest idea of this concept I’m trying desperately to type my fingers around, stings.

Pride.

How often my pride has indeed gone before my fall!

Thank you, God, for your grace!

And, while I’m being brutally honest, I’m also learning that a well written piece of writing takes painstaking effort.

And time.

Even if the germ of an idea seems to sprout and easily grow a life of its own, I am still left with the daunting task of fleshing it out. And worse, editing it! And this sometimes takes an immense amount of effort. I’ve often wondered if those moments when the seed of an idea takes root in my mind, but I don’t pursue it on paper are simply laziness on my part.

I am so very thankful for the grace to try again.

I do believe that Ernest Hemingway had it exactly right when he wrote that “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Indeed. It’s true. Not a one of us will ever arrive at that perfectly crafted body of work. When I leave this earth, it will be for a place that is ruled by The Master Creator, of All Words, Ever.

That means that I don’t have to cling to the hope of getting it right every time I make the time and effort to put pen to paper or type word to screen.  And, there is such freedom in the knowing of that!

For me, it’s not about failing.

It’s about The Grace in the trying.

Textured Ribbon_G7

This post was written in response to a prompt from my Writers
(In)couraging Writers community group. Visit here to learn more.

Stilled Sails On Alert

Sailboat_Creationswap_TroyM_Missindeedy

You are about to embark on an adventure.  Your sails are all puffed up with determination and your boat is all gassed up and ready to go. You have charts and maps and emergency plans and contingency plans and plans for your plans.

In the days leading up to this great journey, you dive into the cool refreshing waters of some serious quiet time. It is needed. With all of the planning you’ve been doing, you have neglected to nourish yourself on the inside.

So you do.

You crack open The Good Book and your eyes instantly light on a verse like “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.” (Proverbs 16:9).

Your journal stares at you from the tabletop and begs to be touched and opened and written in.  You do. And your eyes are drawn to your last entry where you wrote of “wanting Adonia to make you aware of anything in your heart that is not of Him.”   He does.

And because that was not enough to avert your gaze from your All Important Goal, you finally hit the alarm the morning of Go Time, stumble from your bed, and find that your boat has suffered damage. You cannot set off as you had hoped to, determined to, planned to.

There is violence done to your prideful ego as it becomes clear to you that your plan wasn’t His plan.  Not for now, anyway.

Humility sets in.

For just the eleventy-hundreth time in your life.

You realize, for what you hope will be at least close to the final time, that all of your striving and goal-setting and planning and preparing is for naught, if The Wind wills your sails to be still.

And so they will be.

Humbled, yet again, I accept that my sails will not even flutter until they are willed otherwise. And, not by me, but by the only One who can put proper wind into them.

My job, until then, is to stay alert and be prepared.

And so I will be.