Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fearful but Brave

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.

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.”


pvmanns said...

Thanks, Bev. I've been praying and praying about a plot for my 1st novel. This morning God revealed that I have the idea in my hands already. Thanks for confirming what I heard already.

Beverly Varnado said...

So thankful for His faithfulness. When we move in the light we have, He reveals more. Thanks for sharing this with me. May God richly bless you in your new endeavor. Bev

Sue Duffy said...

Beverly, hello, my friend. It's been awhile since we talked. I hope you and your family are better than well. But vibrant! As for your post today, I have an ache in my neck from nodding furiously to every word. I thought something was wrong with me because I often didn't know what was going to happen in my stories until I sat down to write. I pray before doing that each day. Gee, is there a connection you think?

God bless you, sweet one. Write on!

Beverly Varnado said...

Sue, I'm so glad this resonates with you. And yes, so much a connection between the prayer and the words we write. Love the title of your new book, The Sound of Red Returning. Hope the launch is going well. Hope to read it soon. Many blessings, Bev

Unknown said...

Thanks, Beverly for sharing. This is relevant to everyone, writer or reader.

Beverly Varnado said...

Marianne, thank you for this. I pray often that what I write not only speaks to those in circumstances similar to mine, but also to those who may be traveling a different path. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Many blessings, Bev

Phyllis said...

Bev, I am looking forward to your next book and trust that the Lord will guide your every step. Ann Voskamp also says that fear is believing that God's love will run out. Praying against fear specifically and asking the Lord to pour out a double portion of His love on you in this book writing process. Blessings friend, Phyllis

Beverly Varnado said...

Phyllis, as always, thank you for your encouragement and prayers. Just heard Mark Rutland speak about asking God for double portions of his blessings for ministry. Aren't we timid to do so sometimes? Thanks for the reminder to be bolder in asking. Love you so, Bev

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