I turned in the manuscript for my sixth novel today—“Hidden Blessings.” Only God knows if I’ll write another one. I wasn’t sure this one would get written. I started writing at the beginning of this year, and found myself starting over, changing characters, settings, plot lines. Months went by, and while I had a kernel of the story, I couldn’t get the bulk of it in place. It wouldn’t flow.
I got really worried when summer rolled around, and I found myself back at chapter one. My deadline was September 1. I wanted to be finished by summer, with only edits left to do. All the while I’d been praying. But suddenly my prayers changed to, “Lord, am I supposed to write this novel? Why is it so HARD?”
I talked to my publisher about the possibility of getting out of my contract. Maybe that’s what God was saying, because He knows I can’t write unless He’s in it. John 15:5 is real for me during the writing process: “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” But right when I almost hoped He’d let me out of the contract, I got another kernel of the story . . . enough to let me know I shouldn’t let it go.
My editor gave me an extension until October 1, and in mid-August, I was writing (again) chapter one. I still only had my couple of kernels. No idea where the story would go or how it would get there. But in order to get there, I needed to shut down almost everything. We canceled our women’s Bible study for the month of September. I didn’t attend our Thursday community group gathering with church family. I cut back everything computer related, except for the document I was working on . . . which meant I didn’t even come to the blog (just saw the blog comments I need to respond to…..sorry!). I knew things were bad when my dad said, after leaving two messages, “I think I have a daughter . . . name begins with a ‘K.’”
But something happened in that month of September. God showed up. The story began to unfold chapter by chapter . . . while at the computer, on the treadmill, in the shower, while driving. I couldn’t return calls even in the grocery store because I needed to pay attention to what was coming to me, and write it down. Yep, I had my notebook and pen in the shopping cart, stopping to write in the aisles.
Writing became worship as I stopped to praise, even in tears, marveling at the ways in which the story was coming together. It may sound crazy because it’s “just” fiction, but the process was that intense—that spiritual—for me. When I clicked Send today, I could only praise God again.
I honestly don’t know what anyone will think of this story (I never do). But I can say this—God was moving in it. And if I know God was moving in the writing of it, it’s enough for me. I can trust that someone will be impacted.
I’m feeling depleted and would love to leave now for a weeklong retreat in Maui. But instead, I came to the blog. :-) I promise to catch-up on comments this week. I probably need to clean my house first. :-) How’s everybody? Has your life been as crazy as mine??