Saturday, May 16, 2015

Writing Journey Update: Keeping the Vision Alive

photo credit: Willow at Raven Creek via photopin (license)
{Here's a hint.}
Waiting isn't easy. Especially when there's a passion that consumes your heart, a dream so vivid in your imagination that you can almost reach out and touch it. You're desperate for time to hurry, will do whatever it takes just to make the vision come to pass, to rush the process. 

And yet, God says to wait. He tells you that now is not the time; there is still much to learn, but to trust Him, and don't give up, because every step you take is one step closer towards the finish line. 

photo credit: 3C1A9850 via photopin (license)
{Here's a hint.}

But it's hard to remember that His timing is best. Especially when I receive yet another email from a reader asking when my next book will be published. It's pains me to tell them there isn't a release date yet, that I'm currently rewriting/revising the story that I've been working on for the past few years.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past six years, it's that the process of writing and traditionally publishing a book is not instantaneous. 

{Here's a hint.}

Sure, my first novel, Purple Moon, was quicker than most. I began writing it at 15, met my publisher when I was 16, signed the contract when I was 17, and saw the story in print when I was 19. And I thank God for this -- because if I never had my book published at a young age, I'm not sure I would believe in my writing career as much as I do today.   

But honestly, part of me is grateful for the time that's in between having a story idea and seeing that story in print. Because even more than my desire to see this book in print is a longing to make it the best it can be. I would much rather spend time working on this project rather than throwing it together just so I can say that I have a new book coming out.

{Here's a hint.}

And if you also have a dream on your heart, please don't become intimidated by the time it takes to achieve it. Any goal worth achieving is worth the time and effort that it takes to achieve it. 

When I was in 5th grade, my teacher received a grant that allowed our class to create our own stories in a bare book. I can still remember how thrilling it was when Ms. Wilson announced this to my class -- because to my 10-year-old mind, seeing my story in a hard-bound book was the equivalent to having it published.

I devoted hours into brainstorming my story, typing it up on the computer, counting the pages in the bare book so I could plan how to fill those pages accordingly, then pasting the story inside of the book and illustrating the pages. 

Adjectives were clearly my very, special, bestest friend back then. =p  

Blair only sketches her favorite things. Wait, I thought that was Selena?
Also, I'm very curious as to what kind of food they served at Hippos.
When I ran into this the other day, the vision was stirred once again -- the one I have to create stories that touch the heart. Because throughout my childhood, the majority of the stories I wrote were bittersweet yet inspirational, including this one. 

Here's what the book is about.
And here's how it maybe will end. Maybe.
I believe that these are the kind of books God wants me to write: Stories that offer an inspirational perspective on the issues that we face daily. Ones that touch the heart and offer a glimpse of God's healing grace. 

That's why I'm not going to fret over when the novel I'm working on now will be complete, which publisher will pick it up, etc. Instead, I'm going to to believe that God has placed this vision on my heart for a reason. And when He gives us a specific dream, we can be certain that He will also provide a way for us to see it come to pass. We can trust that He will arrange it according to His will and His timing.  

{Here's a hint.}

But for now, I will wait. Even more than that: I will work. 

No, not just because the idea of seeing my sophomore novel in print excites me ... but because this is the area of ministry I believe I've been called into. And when God gives us a gift, it is our responsibility that we continue to work at it, day-by-day. 

Not for ourselves. But for Him. And for those who may some day be lead to Christ through this gift He has entrusted us with. 

{Here's a hint.}

Some day, I will be able to say that the release date for my sophomore novel is official. But that day is not today. And the reason I don't post much on this blog anymore is because I devote every spare minute I have into working on this book. I want it to be the best it can be. Not for myself necessarily ... but for you

So I just want to say thank you for bearing with me! And if you have still yet to read my debut novel, you can order it on Kindle for only $1.99! (That's cheaper than a Starbucks' drink, you guys.) =) Click here.

{Here's a hint.}

~ ~ ~ 

Is there a specific vision that God has placed on your heart? I'd love to hear about it!

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  1. Tessa, I just wanted to say thank you. I don't regularly read these posts, just sometimes when I see a link on Google+ and think "I haven't read this blog in a while" or "that sounds interesting--what's that post about?" and tonight was one of those nights. I saw the word "waiting" and knew I had to read this. I'm so glad I did.

    I haven't really given much thought to dreams. I've considered myself a writer since I can remember, and that just seemed rather matter-of-fact to me. I mean, sure, there were things I dreamed about happening, but they had nothing to do with writing or what I wanted to be when I grew up, that sort of thing. Writing wasn't a dream, it was Part of me.

    I don't really remember if I wanted to be a published author when I was little. I think I just wanted to create. I didn't know anything about "good" or "bad" writing, it was just fun, and it was just natural. But as I got older and experienced the over-learning syndrome (as in, I've learned soooo much about writing that I get overwhelmed writing because I feel like I have to figure out how to apply it all at once), some of the enjoyment has gotten sucked out of writing. And I decided I wasn't sure I wanted to be published. I told myself it was because I wasn't sure it would be best for me, but now I think maybe I was scared to dream.

    I've hit roadblocks with writing lately, and I think it's at least partially because of that. I think because writing wasn't my dream, because there was nothing I wanted to aim towards, exactly, I let it become something I felt like I had to do, just because I was given the gift. I think the over-learning syndrome was part of it, and also going through some changes in my schedule and just life in general. But reading this post made me think about writing and visions and dreams. I love words and how much power for good they can have. It's why I keep plowing on with writing--because I want to touch lives. But I think I need to realize it can be my dream, too. It can be something I want to do for its own sake as well. Gifts aren't just to be a responsibility. They're also supposed to be enjoyed.

    So, I just wanted to thank you for sharing. It meant a lot to me today. :)

    1. Hi, Amanda! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad to hear that you were encouraged by this post!

      I can relate with the whole “over-learning” syndrome. Sometimes I, too, find myself far too overwhelmed about applying every writing rule that I’ve learned. However, I’ve discovered that trying to do this while writing the first draft is paralyzing; instead, while writing the first draft, we should forget everything we’ve learned and allow our imaginations to run wild. At that point, even grammar and spelling shouldn’t even matter. The only thing that matters is that we get the story that is in our hearts onto the pages. Then, when it comes to editing, we can begin to apply the writing rules that we think could strengthen our writing.

      God gave you the gift of writing, so yes, you should definitely enjoy it. But if He gave you the gift, then chances are, it’s for a specific reason. He has a plan to allow that dream to unfold, and there may be someone out there who needs to read your stories. Have you ever considered writing down your goals? Throughout my writing journey I’ve learned that, if we want to reach a dream, we have to take action—and the only way to do that is by creating a goal and a vision. I wrote a post a few months ago that might help you do just that:

      Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

      Happy pursuing! =)



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