I’m writing a novel.
It’s been 18 months, and it’s something I still can’t say with a straight face.
It’s such a ridiculous notion, is the thing. I mean. Couldn’t I have started with something smaller? A poem? A short story, perhaps? Not me. A novel, right out of the creative writing gate. It’s an undertaking that’s huge, gigantic, epic. There’s plot and pace and rhythm. Character development and dialogue. Narrative. Historical accuracy. Dialect. Conflict.
Resolution. Aaahh, resolution.
But of all of it, the most terrifying thing for me is simply the enormous scope of the book itself.
(It scares the hell out of me just to think about it.)
And so I repeat to myself over and over the words I first heard Anne LaMott say, a quote she credits to D.L. Doctorow:
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Thank. You. Jesus.
We’ve been studying Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God in our beautiful, intimate women’s Sunday School class. It’s been a life-changer, this book, with I must remember this forever notes in nearly every chapter. This week’s study, for instance, included this passage I starred five times.
God is the God of right now. He calls us not to be regretful over yesterday or worried about tomorrow. He wants us to focus on what he is saying to us and putting in front of us right now. The enemy’s voice will focus on the past and the future while the voice of God will focus on today. He is the God of right now.
Does that give you the kind of peace it gives me? I mean. I’ve spent a lifetime fretting about things that are so far in front of me there’s no way to see them from this distance, no way to predict now what will happen then. How much stress I’ve created with this simple thought:
From now on, I’ll try to focus on those next four feet. Instead of trying to see beyond, I’ll just do What’s next.
It’s a fine way to live, right here, right now. It’s how God has revealed each step anyway.
And it’s exactly how my novel is getting written, four feet at a time. I shine my little flashlight to illuminate the darkness, just focusing on This happened. And then this happened. It’s brought me to 70,000 words, and as Doctorow says, I now realize I can make the whole trip that way.
It’s a gorgeous life lesson. And it’s probably the real reason I’ve had to face down the challenge of writing this book.
I am grateful.
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