Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Not What it Seems

A couple of days ago, a friend called me to help her with a computer issue she experienced while trying to get a blog up and going. When I reached her house, she seemed frazzled. I could tell she’d probably been working for a few hours. We resolved her computer issue, and then I returned home.

I saw her the next day.

“Bev, as soon as I posted that article, I immediately saw something that needed to be changed. I’m sure glad I don’t have any followers yet. I’d already worked a long time on it. When I read your posts, it seems so easy.”

I cleared my throat, and took a deep breath before responding to this precious friend. The fact is, if you want to know if you’ve made any glaring errors, the best way to find out is by hitting the post button. As soon as the rest of the world can see it, you too, will find the humiliating mistakes that up to that point have been invisible to you. Same thing with emails. Invariably, I have the experience of working hard on a piece for submission, and as soon as I hit send, I have an “oops” moment.

A lot of novelists and screenwriters don’t’ write blogs because they are so time consuming. I read a quote recently from a writer who advised against it, because each word in a blog is a word that could be in a novel. I guess that’s true, but I enjoy blogging.

Bev and Elizabeth Sherrill
As for the so-called “easy” part…I turn to Elizabeth Sherrill, who along with her husband John, has authored many Christian classics including Corrie ten Boom’s story, The Hiding Place, and the story of Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler. I had the privilege of meeting her a couple of years ago and attending a workshop she taught. She had many helpful insights, but one especially memorable one is this:

“The harder we (the writer) works, the more simple it seems to others.”

That is the absolute truth. What appears to be so effortless to the reader, even a short piece of just a few hundred words like this one, often takes hours to write. It least it takes me that long.

Contributing editor for Guideposts magazine, Marion Bond West, says, “If you can do anything else but write, you’d better do it.”

Writing is not for the faint of heart, because the work and the rejections will kill you if you’re not called to this journey. Many, including me, write in anonymity for a long time before anything sees publication.

The thing is I do feel called to this pursuit, so it doesn’t matter how hard it is, or how many rejections I get, or how long it takes.

In some ways, the writing life mirrors the Christian walk. It can be hard, long, and full of difficulties we couldn’t even imagine when we began. But, God sees us, sees the challenges, and is with us. That’s more than enough. Often, it's not what it seems, but it's much better. I, for one, wouldn’t swap this path for any other the world can offer.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

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