Do you remember the version of Candyland that has the Molasses Swamp? The swamp is at the top of the board, near the bend that sets you on the last set of squares before you reach King Kandy’s castle, the ultimate destination of the game. But, before you can reach the castle, you pull the wrong card and lose a turn while you’re slumping around with Gloppy in the Molasses Swamp.
I feel like I’m hanging out with Gloppy right now.
Life has been — different — than I anticipated for 2019. When I was flying high on whizzing through my first draft last year, I anticipated being through my first round of revisions by January first. I thought I would be well through my second round now, but I’m not. I’m not even close.
Life dealt us the Molasses Swamp card in the past six months, and instead of pulling myself out and marching forward when my second turn came, I’ve sat down next to Gloppy, and I’m completely saturated in sticky molasses. I’m not wallowing like a pig would in mud, but rather sitting and staring at Gloppy, wondering how we got here and how the heck I get motivated to fight my way out.
It’s not that I haven’t worked on my revision. I have worked on my outline in starts and spurts, and I’ve rewritten a few key scenes, but the fire and impetus I had before to push through the mental blocks are just not there.
I don’t want to write. (and that terrifies me)
At least, I don’t want to write right now. I’ve had a sense of feeling like I need to sit back and wait for something as if there is some momentous nugget of wisdom that I need to learn before I proceed. But, this doesn’t feel like a good waiting (though does waiting ever feel good?). I feel like I’m procrastinating because real life is taking precedence.
And, even though I don’t want to write, I’m terrified of not writing. I’m worried that I can’t be a real, professional writer if I’m not writing every day (how many adages are out there saying a writer is someone who makes time to write every day?). I’m scared that if I can’t push through this lack-of-motivation-rut that I’ll be ill-prepared for writing on deadline if I do become a published author in the future. And, I’m worried that I’m once again pushing off my opportunity to achieve my dream.
Did I ever mention that this is not the book I ever intended to write? I always imagined myself writing light-hearted chick lit books that women could read to escape daily life for a few hours. I love reading those books. Most of my teenaged writing was about a girl finding the guy for her. I never imagined I would be writing social justice women’s fiction. I never really thought I would be writing books in hopes of making a difference in our world. And, I don’t typically like reading those kinds of books. It bogs me down some days, the enormity of what I’m trying to accomplish.
It’s funny how I always forget His hand in this.
I know, without a doubt, that this is the story I was intended to write. My life has lead to this – all the way back to my decision of which college to attend over 15 years ago (and, if I could remember, there’s probably even decisions I made before that). I can see individual decisions that lead me right to this place. And, I find myself forgetting (daily) that God planned this for me, and He never intended for me to do this alone. He’s with me, even in this uncomfortable place.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
And this one (which I’ve written about before):
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
And this one:
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20b
So what does this mean for my writing? I honestly still don’t know. I’m still in the stage of waiting and praying and writing when motivation strikes (it’s like sporadic lightning storms these days). I am doing my best to wait patiently and expectantly. I know this rut will pass, and I will move forward. But it’s hard, I’ve never been a procrastinator nor a person of inactivity when it comes to projects. I like to move forward at a steady pace with clear deadlines that I can meet early.
But, if this writing journey has taught me nothing else, it has taught me this: that every step of this journey leads me to hang on to God’s direction and provision and purpose. I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever fully put something so completely in God’s control, and even in this, I struggle with yanking it back all the time. It’s been impressive and humbling and at times frustrating. I’ve never been good when learning patience.
This blog post is humbling to share. I don’t want to admit that I’m not breezing through revisions like I had hoped. But, this is my journey, and I want to be honest with it throughout. God uses both the good and the ugly parts for His glory.
I’ll leave my rambling with this verse. It has come up countless times in the past month, and I take it as God’s little reminder that although I hate this break and lack of motivation, it’s not the end of this journey, it’s still just the beginning.
[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6