Last week Clare Revell, author of Season For Miracles, challenged us to see every aspect of our writing, even writer’s block, as an extension of our relationship with God. The idea that perhaps God uses a blank computer screen to draw us closer to Him is certainly thought provoking. And yet, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately for me, I tend to draw closest to God during times of trial. Similarly, my celebration on top of the mountain is always greater when the climb was particularly treacherous.
Clare might breeze through stories now, but that does not mean she didn’t encounter a few discouraging boulders along the way. God has been working in her and her writing since she was a young child.
“[I have been writing] since I was seven. I was always doing it—still am,” she said. “We’d go on holiday to Scotland or France and I’d sit scribbling away during the picnic lunches.”
But publication didn’t come easy. It took years. “I finished my first draft of my original story when I was fourteen,” she said. “That’s still on my computer doing nothing.”
Okay, wait a minute. How old are you?
“No, computers weren’t around when I was fourteen. Well, room sized ones were, but when I got my own PC, I spent ours rewriting and typing it up.”
Why is it so hard for authors to toss out that first story? Likely because of the personal growth experienced between page one and 310. The tears shed when the computer crashed for the tenth time and our most eloquent words vanished into cyberspace forever. The hours of frustration fighting for words that refused to come. The pages and pages of research notes that were never used. Clare’s first novel never did make it print, but she didn’t let that stop her. Over the years, she honed her craft, persevered, and drew closer to God, knowing He would fulfill the plans He had for her.
I love this quote from Dale Carnegie, “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” I’ve often wondered how many people gave up one step, one submission, one draft before publication. Sadly, we will never know. And neither will they.
If you are halfway up the mountain and having trouble seeing the glimmer of sunshine peeking just over the rock-covered horizon, here’s Clare’s advice to you:
“Don’t give up…I write because something compels me to,” she said. “Because I want to honor God in what I write. And don’t let others tell you how or what you should write.”
So basically, the secret to Clare’s success is:
She draws near to God on a daily basis and gives Him full control of her writing.
She perseveres regardless of the set-backs.
She maintains her audience of one and does not allow the opinions of others cloud her thinking.