AnnVoskamp once said, “I am fearful, but I am brave.”
I think of her words almost daily.
I’m a research invested 25,000 words into the first draft of another story. Every day that I sit down to write I fear it’s the end. I shudder that the words might stop, and I’ll be found to be an imposter, someone just posing as a writer.
I know people who plot their course before they begin, and so these writers have a sort of roadmap before the first paragraph is ever composed. For some reason, I can’t do that. The story won’t come to me that way.
Sometimes I write the screenplay first, and the screenplay provides a sort of template for the novel. But I still have to write the screenplay. Though I know it has to conform to a three-act structure, I still only daily discover every scene. When I sit down to write the novel, I’m moving from a 20,000-word screenplay to a book of 70,000 plus words. We’re talking subplots, folks.
I heard novelist Terry Kay once say, “We don’t write to tell a story. We write to discover a story.” His words bring me solace and terror. On the days when I’m moving around the words, shifting them from one side of the page to the other, peeling back the layers, and have a “Eureka” moment, I find consolation that once again the story moves forward. But on those days when I feel I’m typing the same sentence over and over again, stalled out in a quagmire of alphabet soup, I question whether I’ve lost my ability to ferret out anything that even remotely resembles a plot.
“I am fearful, but I am brave,” she says.
So, I keep going, stepping out on the water, praying I’ll see and hear. The story certainly won’t come before I sit down to write. It most often comes as I write.
This morning in My Utmost for His Highest, I read these words again, “The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give usovercoming life—He gives us life as we overcome.”
Last night, in Bible study, we were in Romans 14. The last words of that chapter are, “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
I believe God calls us to live every aspect of life in faith. Eugene Peterson interprets Hebrews 11:1 in The Message like this, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”
I never wanted to write fiction, because it scared me too much. But, God called me to this journey—this wonder filled, scary walk of faith. Though I have little confidence in myself, I push past my feelings and trust Him to do this impossible thing.
So I can say along with Voskamp, “I am fearful, but I am brave.”