Monday, June 10, 2013

Because we choose to live our lives this way

I received some valuable insight into life and writing this Sunday when high-schoolers from our church’s congregation spoke about their summer mission trips. They had acquired an awareness of the immensity of the world’s problems. For while they had made adobe bricks and built a house, after all that hard and sweaty work, millions remained homeless around the world. Another group had teamed with an organization roaming the streets of Los Angeles, helping the homeless in any way they could. And yet those people remained on the streets the next day.

Why bother, then? asked our pastor. All the hard work and money in the world might never solve these problems completely. His answer applied directly to our writing lives: It’s how we choose to live our lives, because of who we are. And what we learn along the way transforms our lives.

Years pass as my novel is built room by room, then oops, knocked down again a time or two (or ten) because of structural errors. I rebuild it. It’s how I choose to live my life, and I wouldn’t trade it. Oh, the lessons I learn. I’m humbled, temporarily defeated, then inspired and excited by new and greater possibilities. At last I sheet-rock it and eventually even hang it with curtains and scent it with flowers. The satisfaction is overwhelming.

A number of times, standing amidst beloved rubble, I’ve felt despair. The task seemed so huge. Despite all my efforts, it was running amok with a life of its own. But every day (or week, or month, or year) I picked up the pieces and put them together again in a better way. I am constantly impressed by my fellow Sisters of the Quill, who continue to submit, submit, submit those works they finished years ago, while pursuing new projects. This has paid off beautifully. They couldn’t see the end in sight on all those days of submissions, but they never stopped working toward it.

We writers choose to live our lives this way. No matter how distant our goal, we embrace each day that moves us toward it. We learn valuable lessons, meet wonderful people, enjoy the process of engaging our brains—and that other special something we sense at work in the creative process. And most likely, the day after we finish the current novel…

…we’ll start the next one.                                                                      Stormy