Monday, February 17, 2014

When the road ahead seems fuzzy in your creative pursuits

I’d written another post for today, but I’ve set it aside for another time. The thing most on my heart is the discouragement I see so many dealing with in their creative pursuits. I know some very smart, gifted people who are at the point of finding other work, because the results have not turned out as they’d hoped. The question that circles in their minds is “Did I miss God somehow?”

I can’t answer that question for anyone else. But, I try to remind myself how the world defines success is not the same way God defines it. Additionally, God is not as concerned with the result as we are; He’s all about the journey.

If you find yourself in a place of disappointment (and believe me I know what it’s like), here are a few things to think about.

Go back to why you started. Review how God called you to this creative journey, and hold onto that. It may be for a season you have to cobble together other sources of income, but don’t let go of what God has whispered into your heart.

Don’t compare yourself with others or their successes. Madeleine L’Engle used to quote Marlowe, “Comparisons are odious.” They are. L’Engle knew the sting of disappointment, too, as she went nine years between book contracts. It’s easy to look around and see the apparent successes of others, and begin to think you are “less than.” Don’t do it.

Go through the doors that open. Put aside your preconceived notions of what your journey should be, and watch for the unlatching of unexpected doors. It may not be what you’d hoped, but sometimes as Robert Frost wrote, “way leads onto way.”

Keep working. Don’t just sit and wait—work and wait. If you stop working, your craft will suffer. I recently came on a drawing I did many years ago and was surprised at how good it was. I couldn’t do the same thing today, as I’ve not kept a drawing journal in quite some time. But in this season of my life, I do make sure I write something almost every day.

Almost always, it’s going to take longer than you think. I blush when I remember the expectations I had ten years ago about how long it would take to get a book in print. LOL. LOL. LOL. People ask me about my screenplay under option, and I have to tell them that statistically, it takes about thirteen years for a screenplay to see its way into production. Yes, there are exceptions, but having realistic expectations saves us from even more disappointment.

Listen for what God is saying to you. In order to do that, we have to spend time before Him in prayer, meditation, and study.

Don’t give up. Keep at it. I once heard an author say that she believed the only people who didn’t eventually make it were the ones who gave up. It’s hard. It’s long, but hear this from one who’s been at it for a very long time: I don’t know what I might have to do in the future to support this call I feel God has on my life, but I intend to continue even if it means a day job to supplement the family income.

So, if the road ahead seems a bit fuzzy for you, please know it’s not fuzzy for God.
“By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” (Philippians 3:14-16).
Pressing on with you, friend.


Nancy Sturm said...

Great advice, Beverly! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Beverly Varnado said...

Don't know about the wisdom part, more just been there, done that. Thanks so much for reading, Nancy.

Terri Webster said...

Beverly, I don't know if you remember me. Terri Webster. I made 3rd place in the Westbow contest. Your post today hit the mark!! Thank you for sharing. Exactly what I needed to read.

Terri Webster said...

Beverly, I don't know if you remember me. Terri Webster. I made 3rd place in the Westbow contest. Your post today hit the mark!! Thank you for sharing. Exactly what I needed to read.

Beverly Varnado said...

Terri, of course I remember sweet you! Be encouraged dear one to continue writing. I'm praying God will soon make a way for you to realize the dreams He's placed in your heart. Blessings, Bev

Anonymous said...

Beverly, I followed the trail to your blog through the devotional in the Upper Room today. You are an incredible writer, and this particular entry was a tremendous encouragement to me. I have loved writing since I was a child, and into my high-school and adult years. Tucked in my heart has always been the desire to bring words to life, and about ten years ago, God began to inspire me to write about The Word. After some years of struggling, I have heard so clearly God's call to write again. I have had a little devotional blog that I've been writing for about a year: http// I don't know what other avenues there are for a newbie writer, but I am committed to follow my passion and God's call on my life. I just wanted to thank you for this inspiriting and encouraging piece. I've printed it out and tucked it into my Bible to remind me to press on and trust God to fulfill His calling for me.
Beth Andrews
Tallahassee, Florida

Beverly Varnado said...

Beth, bless you dear one. I'm so thankful for your faithfulness in following the Lord's call. Heaven will tell of the lives you touched through your perseverance. Who knows the new doors which may open for you in the future? Keep writing. Many blessings, Bev


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