Thursday, January 7, 2016

Redemption in Your Writing Career

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I want to tell you a story.

It involves football, but it’s not a football story.

Stay with me.

A few weeks ago the Clemson punter, Andy Teasdall, messed up.

This wasn’t a small mistake. This was huge.

It was the ACC Championship game and all he was supposed to do was punt the ball. Instead, he tried to run with it. A play that eventually led to the opposing team scoring a touchdown.

The Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, ripped into Teasdall. “All you had to do was punt the ball!” The video went viral on social media as this kid sat there and endured the scathing—and very public—rebuke from his coach.

The next time he took the field, someone in my living room made the comment that no one needed to worry about him trying any trick plays. No way they’d trust him with that for a long time.

Fast forward three weeks to New Years Eve.

The Orange Bowl.

The biggest game any Clemson Tiger has played in over 30 years.

As Teasdall took the field to punt the ball in the second quarter, no one—not the opposing team or the fans in my living room—expected anything out of the ordinary.

So when Teasdall held onto the ball and then passed it 31 yards down the field, Clemson fans everywhere went crazy.

A trick play that led to a touch down.

A play placed in the hands of a player who had messed up in the last game.

If I hadn’t been surrounded by 20 screaming people, I probably would have cried.

Redemption has that effect on me.

Sure, Andy Teasdall will always have to deal with that mistake, but it will forever be overshadowed by the gloriously successful play that followed it in the next game. No longer defined by an error, his name will be etched into the memories of everyone who saw that game. And when they think of him, they will smile.

We all like a good redemption story when someone, somehow, takes a bad situation and makes it good. Sometimes we get to see the redemption almost immediately. Sometimes, it takes months, years, even decades.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Andy Teasdall…and about Coach Swinney giving him the chance to make that play.

Do you see the parallel to the writing life?

I do.

God has called me to do something. “All you have to do is write.”

And sometimes I do a lousy job of it. I’m not talking about the quality of the writing, although certainly that’s part of it. I’m talking about getting on the field—getting my hands on the keyboard and my rear in the chair. I get caught up in so many other things and fail to do the one thing I’ve been asked to do.

And while God isn’t likely to put my face on a jumbo screen and yell, “All you had to do was write!” before millions of people, in the quiet of my heart I hear Him asking me to get back in the game and leave the numbers on the scoreboard up to him.

It’s easy—far too easy—to look back over the failures of the past year and wonder if we should even bother trying again.

But if Andy Teasdall had quit after the ACC Championship game, he never would have had the chance to be the golden boy of the Orange Bowl.
In an interview after the game, he expressed his surprise that the coach had called the trick play for him so soon after his mistake. And when asked about the throw, this is what he had to say about it …“God’s plan and God’s path.”


It is God’s plan and it is God’s path and God is not sidelining you because you didn’t meet whatever you think His expectations were for you last year.

Let’s get back on the field.

We can’t undo the mistakes we’ve made, but going forward, we can do what we’re supposed to do.

When we do, let’s not be surprised when God gives us the opportunity of a lifetime.

After all, He wrote the playbook on redemption and something tells me those stories always make Him smile.

So what about you? Did you mess up in 2015 or was it everything you wanted it to be? Do you need a fresh start in the new year or are you looking to keep the momentum going? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. 

She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. 

She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at


  1. Thank you for the encouragement. I did not get my book written last year. Granted I was sick for 3 months but I was also lazy. I am now on a 21 day challenge to write at least 2 hours per day. That might not seem like a lot to some, but for me it is an achievable goal.

    1. I think 2 hours a day is an awesome goal! I'll be praying for you to meet it, and to get that book written!

  2. This is a touch down message, Lynn that will bring many across the goal line. Thank you for sharing your insights. They are powerful motivators.

    Write on! You'll be carrying God's team of fellow writers onto victory. Amen.

    1. Carolyn, you are such a phenomenal encourager. Thank you!

  3. Lynn, what a great analogy! Thank you. Wow, how that simplifies things = "all you have to do is write." Why do we worry about so many other parts of the process? Probably because we're trying to conform to what someone else says we should do which put extra stress, fear and anxiety on our job as writers.

    1. Agreed. It is hard to tune out all the "other" but if you aren't writing, none of the rest of it matters! Believe me, I'm preaching to myself here! :)

  4. A great story, Lynn. Thanks for reminding me that my failures and yucky attitudes, in His Hands, can do wondrous things! Happy New Year!

  5. I saw both of those games! What a great parallel!! Super lesson, Lynn! ��
    Tammy Karasek

    1. Thanks! I'm hoping for a great "don't let anyone tell you can't do this" analogy to come out of the next game! Go Tigers! :)

  6. Thanks for your encouragement Lynn!

    1. I wrote this mostly for myself and I'm so glad it has encouraged others! Grace and peace!

  7. Thanks for granting me permission to get back on the writing field. This bit of encouragement was SO needed!

  8. Great blog. I think Coach Swinney is an excellent example of integrity and a fine coach. However, I' must shout, "ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!""

    1. We do love our Coach. :) I'm glad you were able to appreciate the blog despite the obvious bias toward the Tigers. :) Go Tigers! :)

  9. LOVE this analogy, Lynn! Touchdown!

  10. Hi Lynn, I'm a little behind with my blog reading but wanted to tell you that this was powerful and really spoke to my heart! Last year was a great year for me and my writing finally securing my first contract. But I've been hem-hawing around, quietly wondering if I can do it again. I need to "get back in the game" and just be obedient to God's calling and let Him work out the details! Thank you so much!