“Do not despise these small beginnings . . .”
We, as writers, tend to think of the big picture. The biggest dream, the best novel, the perfect plot. Writing, like absolutely everything else, requires time, effort and patience. Our simple beginnings can be described as the first tottering steps of a child, or maybe even the first intrepid inches achieved by crawling.
This week, I was acutely reminded of how far I have still to go. I’m not crawling anymore, but my steps are far from strong. The dreams I have surpass writing. I want more than anything to be a teacher of writing and to edit, especially for beginners. Sometimes I think this is even more important to me than writing itself.
But today I am very aware of the time this will take, the effort it will require, the patience I must have to endure it. I hope my journey can inspire you on yours!
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM – does is help or hurt?
I need to do a whole post on this soon. We all need it. When I first started writing, really writing, at the age of ten, my parents were thoughtful enough not to tell me how horrendous it was. I suppose that was a good thing, since my confidence in the art and in my talent was like a little sprout in springtime – very delicate.
But, as time went on, I garnered professional opinions, which were inevitably constructive criticism. These critiques, mostly achieved through Faithwriters and their wonderful team of authors and editors, were invaluable. Without them, I would still be in the crawling stage. So I understand if you’re afraid to get those kinds of opinions on your work – I still am! – but they are essential to your growth as a writer. You may ignore or avoid them entirely, but you will never be as skilled in this art as you could be.
Does it help? Yes. Does it hurt? Sometimes. Is it a little embarrassing? Always.
Just remember, we’ve all been there, and many of us still are. You never stop growing, you never stop learning. Soak up what the masters can teach you. They’ve been there, and often they’re goal is to see you get to be as good as you can.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WANT TO QUIT
Oh, to never feel this way! I’m the last person to talk to on this subject. I’ve quit so many times, I’ve lost count. But every time, I feel empty. Like an extinguished flame. If you’re going through this right now, I can only say two things – one, take it to God. Maybe you’re supposed to give it up, maybe you aren’t. But God will show you, one way or the other. Two, if you’ve ever felt God leading you towards writing, DON’T GIVE UP! Maybe you need a break, maybe you need to plow through.
But do not give up. There will be difficulties, there will be painfully small beginnings, there will be disappointments. You must dig deep, you must answer the question we all have faced or will face – “Why do I write?”
IS IT WORTH IT?
Only you can answer that. You must answer that, but you must do it for yourself. Only you can say whether it is the right path for your life. But believe me, you’ll know. Perhaps not right away, but you will know. Not by the opinions of others, not by the judges’ rejection, not by your friends or family, not by the unpopularity of what you write, not by the prize money or the lack thereof, not by the contests lost or won, not by any of that and more!
I know it is worth it because I can’t live without it. I have followed my heart and the calling of Christ. I don’t have any regrets. So, whether I’m crawling or mountain-climbing without a safety rope, I will continue to wield the sword of the pen and, by the grace of God, endure with humility and patience these days of small beginnings.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . .” Zechariah 4:10
Has any of this resonated with you? What stage of this journey are you at? What advice can you share with others to encourage or inspire them?