I recently participated in a discussion about whether or not, for a Christian, writing is a “calling.” I’m not sure of the definition of the word, but whether or not it’s a calling, in my case, writing is certainly a compulsion.
Some famous author (I forget which one) is quoted as saying that if you’re really a writer, you have no choice; you write because you can’t not write. I suppose it’s the same for any art form, but I have no experience with any other. True, I’ve been known to work out my creative proclivities in other ways as well, like playing the French horn (or piano or guitar), cooking, or gardening. But like a rubber ball, I keep bouncing back to writing.
I lately haven’t been blogging much about writing, however, because I’ve stepped back from it a bit in recent months. It’s always a struggle to find the time to separate yourself from “the real world” and immerse yourself in the story you’re creating — especially when you’re supposed to also be promoting the ones that are already published. But sometimes the humdrum’s hum becomes an insistent roar, to where we have to put that manuscript on the digital shelf for a bit and tend to nitty gritties of life.
But the dust has settled now, and Books 3 and 4 in my Gannah series are trying to dig their way out of my computer to go scampering around the world. The fact is, I’m as itchy to free them as they are to get out. So I’ve been recently making further revisions to #3, sending #4 through my wonderful critique group, and exploring self-publishing options. I will keep you apprised of developments, but it’s my goal to release the rest of the series this year.
So, if you were left hanging at the end of Words in the Wind (it’s been a long time since that came out — do you still remember it?), take heart: you’ll be able to pick up where you left off before you get too much older. And if you’ve been with this story in the stars since the beginning, I think you’ll be satisfied with the tale’s conclusion in the fourth book in the series.
At least, I’m satisfied. I love the way it wraps up. No, I don’t love it, I love-love-LOVE IT! That’s why I’m so eager to share it with y’all.
At the same time, I have another story simmering on the back burner of my brain. Before long the lid is going to start jiggling and I’ll have to lift it to let out the steam. It’s exciting to start a new story, but it’s scary at the same time. I love the Gannah series so much, I’m afraid anything else I write will be a disappointment.
I’ve been learning a lot, however, and I figure that’s got help me with the next project. Writing these last two books has taught me, among other things, that speed and flow don’t always add up to the best result. What I mean is this: I drafted Book #3 in six months. I spent the next few months working on revisions, and when it was finished, I was pretty happy with it — not to mention proud of myself for how quickly and efficiently I’d completed it.
Book #4, on the other hand, was absolute agony from the first chapter to the last. I don’t think I wrote a single paragraph that flowed easily; I labored over every sentence. But now that I’m completing the revisions, I find myself amazed at times. Did I really write this? Where did that idea come from? I don’t remember having thought of that, but it’s fabulous.
So I guess the lesson is this: sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s difficult. But when it’s tough, that’s when you need to get excited, not discouraged, and keep trudging on. Because what you’re dragging behind you like a dead weight might just end up being your best work ever.