Writer’s Conference Series, Part 5
Books were taunting me. They’d never taunted me before. Fascinated me, yes. I loved books. Even as a child, I loved the hush of a library. I would look around in wonder and ask myself, “Will I ever be able to read ALL these books?”
But the books on my bookshelves, the books on my side tables … they were taunting me. “We’ve been finished. Completed. Published.”
And I couldn’t even open my own manuscript. Or at least, I didn’t want to.
Over a week had passed since the writer’s conference. I had been both blessed and inundated by information and material, and was ready to complete the final draft of my manuscript and send it off to a few prospective agents. I had heard from a friend whose feedback on my book was just what I knew it needed to make it absolutely perfect.
All I had to do was write.
And I couldn’t do it. I tried opening the document on my computer a couple times, but my mind would fog over. I would close the document, feeling incapable and overwhelmed. I tried praying. Tried reading to fill my heart and soul with great writing in hopes that it would overflow onto my own manuscript.
But mostly, I sat in one corner of the couch and told myself, “I’ll never get this done.” And from that location, books taunted me in their finished perfection.
My husband found me there one afternoon. I tried to tell him how I felt. All I managed was, “I feel stuck,” and then the tears poured out. “I can’t do this. I’ll never get it done. I can’t finish this book. Even if I do, no one will want to publish it or take it on as an agent.”
Every hopeless comment I could possibly make about my book came out. And I wasn’t looking for compliments, hoping for my husband to reassure me with just the opposite of what I said. I was stuck. Completely stuck. I could not write a word. Any revisions I tried to add only made things worse.
“Don’t write,” he told me. “Just leave it. You’ll know when you’re ready. The words will come. Don’t push yourself.”
I nodded. I took a deep breath. The fog seemed to lift. Just knowing that someone was there to support me, someone who wasn’t pushing me, or laughing at me, but encouraging me … made all the difference.
The next day, I opened the document again. And I began to write. Within two weeks, I had completed the fifth draft.
Writers, and other artists, struggle with self-doubt. A lot. And there’s never a perfect and complete cure for that condition. But there are friends. Family. A spouse. There are encouraging words and thoughts. There are prayers. There’s sitting beside someone in tears on a couch and saying, “It’ll be okay.”
Because it will.
God says so. In His Word, and in that voice deep within the heart that whispers to us not to give up.
That assures us the best is yet to come.
That reminds us of the wondrous gift writing is.
That calls us to let the heart be filled with dreams, and to tell those dreams
as beatings of the heart of a writer.