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“A Fire In My Bones”

The figure of Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel c...

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One of my favorite people in the Bible is Jeremiah. This guy was called by God as a young man to preach, promised God would be with him, would give him the words to speak. All he had to do was be a mouthpiece. If you know Jeremiah’s story you know things didn’t work out so easily for him. Everywhere he went he was rejected. He preached for years with not a single convert. He was thrown out of towns, laughed at, mocked, riduculed, tormented. The poor guy even admitted he was a household joke.

And finally, he was discouraged . . . in a bad way.

So discouraged, in fact, that he accused God of tricking him, of forcing him into preaching. He said, “You are stonger than I am and overpowered me.” Jeremiah even contemplated giving up, handing in his name badge and giving God his one-minute notice. His desire was to never speak of God again, to never even speak His name. It had only brought him trouble.

But he couldn’t. No matter how badly he wanted to run from the mockery and rejection he simply couldn’t. In his own words:

But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! (Jer. 20:9, NLT)

I talk to a lot of discouraged writers and I ask them all the same question: Why do you write?

Many of them give me the same answer: Because I can’t NOT write. They’ve tried. Rejection has come in waves, knocking them down each time they try to get their footing. They’ve written stories, submitted them everywhere imaginable, only to face more rejection and discouragement. They’ve promised themselves they would write no more, turn in their keyboard, burn their tablets, get rid of every pen in their home.

But they couldn’t. Why?

Because the story in them was put there by God. The desire to write is His desire for them. He kindled that fire in their bones and though it may flicker and fade it never burns out.

If you’re one of those writers, here’s my advice. Keep writing. You were called to write. But understand, you may not be called to be published or read in the way you think. God may have other plans for you. Be open to that. And really, if your writing never makes it past your family and friends but you are a blessing to them, isn’t that enough? Aren’t you still being used by God to minister through writing?

Ask yourself this: If I work for a year on a story that only one person reads but it changes that one person’s life, was it worth it? Think carefully about your answer, it reveals everything about your motivation.



Living in Two Worlds

I’m at a stage in the writing process when things start to get hairy. Darlington Woods releases in a month and a half so I’m ramping up the marketing, scheduling book signings, doing interviews, contacting blogs and media outlets (or at least I should be).

In the meantime, things are moving right along with the writing of Darkness Follows (which releases May, 2011).  I’m up to 23,000 words and the story is developing quite nicely.

The problem is this, I only have so much time in a day to devote to writing and writing stuff. Something has to give.

Now here’s how I’ll manage all this without going as nutty as a three-legged squirrel. If you’re a writer you’ll know what I mean when I say this, and if you’re not a writer you may still be interested in knowing how a writer’s mind works. Inspiration comes in fits and starts (I imagine it’s the same for any art form). At times the words flow like warm honey, smooth and swift, and the story unfolds like an old friend stopping by for a visit and cup of tea (I don’t drink coffee). Inspiration overflows and I can’t stop, don’t want to stop, my fingers from dancing out a tale of suspense and creepiness. It’s during those times I’ll focus on Darkness Follows and take advantage of the freedom that inspiration brings.

But then there are those times when that spring of creativity dries up and the words cease to surface. It’s like my right brain needs a good dose of Senekot. It’s during those times that I won’t force the issue (I may hurt myself) but rather let things ride and focus on marketing stuff for Darlington Woods.

This whole process is like living in two worlds. There’s the business side of things in which Darlington Woods now resides and then there’s the creative side of things where Darkness Follows lurks. For now, I’ll split my time and hope my personality doesn’t follow suit.

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