You do intend to march forth, don't you?
Oh, I know. There are days when you crawl, creep, cringe and grovel. (I have a thesaurus and I'm not afraid to use it.)
If you're a writer, times are... well, publishing houses are corporations, and most corporations are dog-paddling, trying to stay afloat, laying aside every encumbrance. Authors rightly fear that they personally may be seen as encumbrances, laid aside, or never taken up in the first place.
You yourself may have been forced to view things once cherished or taken-for-granted as encumbrances. Things like spending money, free time, time to write. Do you stand with your knife over the altar, ready to make the sacrifice, or have you done the deed already?
We ladies at Novel Matters get it. We've been there. We are there. Things just don't work the way they used to, and perhaps they never will.
Any writer who has ever written a sonnet or a cinquain or blank verse has a certain advantage at times like these.
Poetry can drive you nuts. All those limits. It has to have this many lines with this many syllables. Certain syllables have to rhyme. The stresses have to go here and here and here, but not there or there. You know what you want to say, but everywhere you turn you hit a wall.
You know about hitting walls. Fight them or give in too easily, just write the words that fit but not necessarily the words that work, and the poem fails. But if you submit to the limits, if you relax into them, then your mind begins to work in creative new ways that surprise and delight even you.
Isn't this a fine time to think in creative new ways?
Dr. Seuss knew something about this. in 1955, he was asked to create a book that a first-grader could read by himself, a book with a vocabulary of only 300 simple words. He accepted those limits and wrote The Cat in the Hat. Later, his publisher challenged him to write a book using a vocabulary of 50 words. He wrote Green Eggs and Ham. (Striped top-hat-tip to Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac.)
Creativity can go a long way, but we Christian authors have another advantage. We know there is a plan. It may resemble our plan, but - contrary God that we serve - it often doesn't. Nevertheless, we know that it is a good plan, and - let this sink in - we know it will not fail. As Timothy Keller said in a recent podcast titled "Does God Control Everything?," nothing we do or anyone else does can mess up God's plan. Nothing.
Doesn't that free us to be adventurers? To play like artists, to sleep like babies and wake up praying, "What's next, Papa?" And then to march forth? Things may work the way we hope or they may not, but either way, there's a plan and it will not fail. Whatever happens, we win.
Oh, and that reminds me: you can win a very helpful book for marching forth: The 2011 Christian Writers Market Guide.
And how can you win it? Simple:
- write us a 300 word essay (that's three hundred words, no more) about how you intend to march forth in the coming days or weeks.
- Don't post it in the comments. Send it in the body of an email to novelmatters at gmail dot com.
- In the subject line write: March Forth!
After you send the essay, please share your thoughts in the comments. We do love to read what you have to say.