Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When You Feel Overwhelmed with Writing, Keep Paving


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I like to take pictures of my shoes. I don’t have a shoe fetish, just a travel one. When I go somewhere new, I like to take a picture of my feet on the unique paths I discover—cobblestone streets, mosaic sidewalks, bricked walkways, and hiking trails. A path is a promise of adventure and discovery. When we write, we are paving a path for our readers.

Some “paths” in our books guide readers down cobblestone lanes—a little bumpy but romantic. Other paths that we pave in our writing are an intricate network of mosaic tiles, creating an exciting pattern of tension and relational drama. Other paths guide the reader to understand a phenomenal truth about God, ushering them into a real-life scene of peace and hope. What paths are you paving in your book?

Just like any type of manual work takes a toll on our bodies, writing takes a toll on our minds and hearts, and usually our bodies as well. Even though we bear the name of “writer,” we also bear the titles of blogger, self-editor, marketer, and perhaps speaker. Our work can become so overwhelming that we wonder if it’s worth it. The demands of normal life intensify the stress of the writing life. Why keep at it?

Dr. David Jeremiah once taught that if we stop planting seeds now, there won’t be a crop later. The same holds true for writing. If we stop writing because we feel overwhelmed and question the worth of our work, the path to truth won’t be finished for our readers. 

In the area where I used to live, a portion of the interstate just stops. I think of it as the bridge to nowhere. I often wondered what happened to the project and its workers. Did they run out of money? Time? Space? Fortunately, the lanes on that side of the interstate shift to the left so no one goes flying off the bridge. 

There are times when we want to stop writing and we’re tempted to quit the project. We feel like we’re going to fly off the face of the earth if we don’t get enough sleep or take a break. It’s good in those times to take a step back and evaluate our construction project. If we sense that God wants us to continue, we can ask Him to restore the right perspective on what we’re doing and renew our energy and efforts to write for Him. 

So what is the right perspective on the demands of the writer’s life? All we have to worry about in this moment is laying one more brick, paving one more section of the road. One more edit. One more blog post. One more meme on social media. With every “one more” that we construct, the road to truth will be paved and we will have the zeal and sanity to keep working. I have found that if I stick with a project, God supplies just the right amount of grace to finish. He pours out creativity and insight that I couldn’t muster. He makes a path to completion, one that I can walk hand in hand with Him and with my team of writer friends, critique partners, and prayer warriors. 

So the next time you feel like you just want to quit, remember the road you’re paving. There’s going to be someone who needs that road, and because you finished it, truth will be discovered and lives can be changed.

What do you think is the most overwhelming part of the writer’s life? Tell us in the comments below and share any encouragement you have to keep at it. May God give you enough grace to finish, and to finish well. 

TWEETABLES

Next time you want to quit #writing, remember the road you're paving - @EdieMelson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Winner of the 2016 Selah award for Bible studies, Katy Kauffman is an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazineand a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. In 2017, she compiled Breaking the Chains, which is a 2018 Selah finalist. Her next compilation, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, releases June 2018. Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.com, thoughts-about-God.com, PursueMagazine.net, two blogs on writing, in online magazines, and on numerous devotional blogs. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best peanut butter cookies. Connect with her at her blogand on Facebookand Twitter.

14 comments:

  1. WOW! What beautiful imagery Ms. Katy. I can't wait for you to one day take that photo of your shoes when God's glory is reflecting back at you from streets of gold. Thank you for this wonderful encouragement. What a nice phrase to hold onto... "Keep laying those bricks." Now that's inspiration to write the next page, next chapter, next manuscript. God's blessings ma'am

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    1. Great idea, Jim, for the photo of shoes on the streets of gold!

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    2. That is something to look forward to in heaven. Walking those streets with our Lord. Thank you for your comment, Jim!

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    1. Thank you, Dennis! May God bless your writing.

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  3. Great encouragement, Katy! When we look at our writing as one brick at a time instead of seeing the entire project looming before us, it helps us to keep going.

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    1. Yes! And thank you for reading the post and commenting on it, Barbara.

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  4. The most overwhelming part of the writer's path is when your story you spend days carefully crafting is rejected.
    All you can do is keep writing.
    As the famous poet Antonio Machado wrote: "Walker there is no path, you make the path as you walk" (my translation).
    Blessings, Katy!

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  5. Katy, this is good! "So the next time you feel like you just want to quit, remember the road you’re paving. There’s going to be someone who needs that road, and because you finished it, truth will be discovered and lives can be changed." Perhaps remembering our work will affect someone else's life is motivation enough to keep going.

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  6. God used your writing to touch my heart tonight. Thank you. God Bless You and Your Ministry!

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  7. Loved this concrete (no pun intended) and relevant advice. I'm sending it out to my writer's group. Blessings to you?

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  8. This spoke to me on so many levels. Thank you for a great post, Katy.

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