At our October meeting, Brenda Anderson and Stacy Monson shared encouragement for “riding the rutty writing road.” Both have plenty of experience on which to draw. Here’s what they say about their own journeys:
Brenda Anderson: Having spent nearly her entire life writing, Brenda is intimately acquainted with failure, accumulating over 40 rejections in her career. But those rejections pale alongside notes from readers telling how her stories impacted their lives. She has a goal of surpassing the 50-rejection mark in the next five years. Which means she will continue to write the stories about God piecing together messed-up lives, as that is what God has called her to write. If she could pass one piece of wisdom to another writer it would be: "Being obedient to God's call will ensure success. Just know that God's idea of success will not look like the world's version. It will be better."
Stacy Monson: Over a number of years developing her writing career, Stacy is well-acquainted with both success and failure. With the 2017 release of The Color of Truth, book 3 of her Chain of Lakes series, she has won a number of awards and accolades, and been rejected consistently by Bookbub. She plans to release her next book mid-winter of 2018, and will continue to submit her books for a Bookbub feature. Each "no, thanks" just spurs her on to submitting the next book! Her favorite piece of writing advice is "put your butt in the chair and write."
Below are notes based on Brenda and Stacy’s handout:
Encouragement for Riding the Rutty Writing Road:
aka The Art of Perseverance
Brenda Anderson & Stacy Monson
If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. —Matin Luther King, Jr.
Surround yourself with people willing to encourage you
Mid-life opportunity, not crisis.
Conference is hard because others know each other and you feel like an outsider.
Without the ruts, you wouldn’t recognize the good things. Life isn’t FB—all the good stuff
Rejection/failure hits all of us; no one is immune.
It’s what we do after that counts. How do we get back up? How can we persevere?
First remember you are not alone. You are actually in good company:
Remember there have been failures of Biblical proportion:
David let success go to his head
Moses had a temper tantrum
Peter was sure he wouldn’t deny
Samson lost his focus and it cost his life
All of these turned around in surprising ways
(Be glad your failures are not recorded in the Bible for everyone to read hundred of years later.)
The world’s version of success is not the same as God’s version: God’s version is obedience
It’s OK to admit you feel like a failure: Feelings just are
Success can only occur when you are taking a chance on failing.
It IS personal
I failed! Now what?
Recognize the truth: Failure is discovering what doesn’t work; it shouldn’t define me
Pray and worship: he knows, but loves for you to bring it to him, like crawling in his lap
Psalm 40:2-3New International Version (NIV)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
Deuteronomy 31:8New International Version (NIV)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Psalm 27:14New International Version (NIV)
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Find Community (like here)
Change your focus
Learn from the rejection
Keep moving forward!
“We don’t look backwards for very long, we keep moving forward opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” —Walt Disney
Make sure you have a toolkit available when you fall.
Turn the obstacle into opportunity
Apostle Paul in prison didn’t wallow, but witnessed and wrote prison epistles
What obstacles have you turned into opportunities?
Collect nos (Maybe you want to reward yourself when you reach 10 or 50 rejections)
Music —praise songs that encourage
What else is in your toolkit?
God has a plan for you before/during/after rejection.
He always has and he always will.
Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Romans 8:28New International Version (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Psalm 139:13-14New International Version (NIV)
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Being called to write doesn’t necessarily mean it’s forever. Hold loosely. Be able to change direction.
Your writing community is your first line of encouragers.
Hebrews 12:1-3New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Now go forth and write. And remember we’re all riding this bumpy, rutty writing road together!