I didn’t know it then, but on November 29, 2014, the words of my stories changed with Mama’s last breath. Everything was foggy, brittle, and barren.
In the intensity of my sorrow, I started rewriting the novel I’d finished on November 23red. I shoved the old words around and pushed new words onto the page. I wrote with a vengeance – fast and hard. Stiff upper lip and all that.
When I finally read them from start to finish, they felt dis-jointed, forced, sharp, strained, and flat. Thinking I was wrong I read them out loud. They sounded like I was plunking on an un-tuned piano – all I heard was a cancophany of words.
Every word came out of me, but it had a different voice.
I set the book aside unsettled by the weirdness, afraid maybe the story sounded like the new me.
Fear chased my courage and certainty into a dark, lonely corner. If anyone could have heard the sounds in my heart they might have assumed I was growling and angry. I was afraid and dismayed and the secret sounds were a sorrow-filled groaning – a painful moaning only God could hear and understand.
I thought a lot about Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress slogging through the slough of despond. Not from sin, shame, or guilt. (although I’m not without sin or the need of daily confession) Instead, doubt (fear in disguise) and piercing pain clutched at my heart and did it’s best to drag the writing under. When I thought about my feelings, in my imagination, I saw me wrestling a huge crocodile – the water surged around us. His strength was terrifying, and as I clung to him, he was about to do me in.
Those words: I clung.
I held onto my crocodile fears with both hands, my heart, and my mind convinced I could not let go or he would get me. But he already had me! And I was wearing out and he was gaining.
Struggling in the middle of my fear, I asked God if I should quit writing. I was willing because if the writing isn’t of Him I don’t want to do it.
In tears, I put my head down on my desk. Memories flooded my mind. A picture of me came to mind. Mama took us to Montgomery Wards to get our pictures taken professionally. I was four and already wanted to be a writer. I was confident. Unafraid. Bold. Sure. Determined. Certain my dream would come true someday.
I could have cared less what anyone else thought. I was born to write.
When I lifted my head off my desk that day, the old certainty surged through me. I was right at four years old. Even before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, writing was a part of His plan for me.
But now, I was living without her and her certainty.
That changed me, and the words. But not the call on my life. Or the power of the One who created me to do this.
God gave Israel a promise that applies to all of us who believe in Jesus and are His people. . .
And so, in a strength not my own, I’ve written book 1 (De’Ja Brewed) in the new series (The Mississippi Queens) and I’m reviewing the other book (Beyond the Lies – Book 2 in The Northern Lights Series). Time and distance are great helpers – I see that the words have changed and the voice is different, but might not be as bad as I first thought. And if they are, He will help me fix them.
A few days ago, I felt the fear creeping in again. Yep, that big old croc opened up his big old jaws again and invited me to the fight.
And took a look at where I’m at in my writing life. Could it be that since I’m in the rewriting phase of De’ Ja’ Brewed this may be part of my writing process? Not willing to give fear an inch, I prayed and asked God to lead me to a book that would help. I was thinking Max Lucado, but when I found and read/listened (I read the eBook while I listened to the audio-book) to The 8-Minute Writing Habit I knew I’d hit the writing jackpot. I am back on track one prayer at a time and 8 minutes at a time.
Until Next Time,