Have you ever ridden a ten speed bicycle with the gears in disarray? I remember a time when I was little that I borrowed my sister’s ten speed bike to ride around the neighborhood. I was so excited. It was much bigger than mine with a comfortable seat and hand brakes . And, best of all, it was purple. I had never ridden it before but I was certain that I knew how. How hard could it be anyway? I buckled my helmet, kicked up the stand and got ready to jump on. I had to jump because it was to tall for me and when I stopped I could only put one foot on the ground without falling off.
I pushed of with my left foot and swung the right one over making contact with the other pedal and I was off. It felt so good to be up there on that “big girl” bike, with the wind tossing my “big girl” braids and looking good with the “big girl” hand brakes. And it was purple. I had a huge grin on my face and I was pedaling furiously.
I had thought this bike would move super fast. Faster than I had ever gone before. (It was purple, remember?) I was puzzled. Why was I moving so slowly? I pedaled faster and faster until my legs grew tired and I stopped, like 50 feet from where I had started. I looked back. I looked forward. How was that supposed to work?
Little did I know that the gear I was in was for going uphill. It made the pedals easier to turn but also provided less resistance on flat ground causing each rotation to be less effective. It took more than just a “big girl” bike with “big girl” hand brakes that was purple to really fly. It had to be in the right gear if you wanted to get somewhere worthwhile.
I remember a chilly fall day, sitting outside looking off into the field behind our house with my notebook on my lap. I was busy dreaming of the story I was crafting and wondering why it felt so flat. There was something missing. I was working and working and working and my story seemed to going nowhere. I was tired. I had been pedaling too long with too little to show for it. I needed to change gears.
I’ve been really uninspired in my writing lately. You have probably noticed that by how very very very little I have posted on the blog this year. This past summer has been not only been looooong and hooooooot (We live in Texas. Enough said.) but also a time where I have had almost no desire to write.
I’ve been trying to get better at setting goals for myself and sticking to them. I’m in the middle of my first draft of my first novel, and it is going really slow. I really need to just give up trying to be perfect and WRITE. I know that’s what everyone always says, but it is true. 🙂
But that’s not all that has been missing. Yet again, I’ve been riding in the wrong gear. Other than just being willing to put in the effort and get the job done there is one thing that I need to focus on MORE. I need to be writing for God’s glory.
It is so important that everything we write is to bring Him more glory. We can do this directly in our stories, but also indirectly. Our message needs to be strong. As christians we are called to do this. To share the gospel and inspire others to fight the good fight. There are quite a few ways we can do this:
- Portray the message of salvation directly.
If you are writing a historical novel, present day novel, or any other story that takes place in the real world, reference it directly. Maybe your MC is struggling with depression. Have them learn that true joy only comes from Christ. Maybe he is struggling with fear. He should learn that there is hope for all who are in Christ Jesus. Maybe he is struggling spiritually. Have him find strength and fulfillment in Christ alone.
2. Have a really strong underlying message.
If you are writing something in another world this may be an easier route. Base your story on a biblical truth and use it to fully explain the benefits of this truth and the consequences when it is ignored. This could be something as simple as forgiveness, true love, loyalty, mercy or courage.
3. Where there is Christ, there is hope.
The darkness will never overcome the light. Remember this and show that no matter the situation, no matter how dark times seem, the light can never be entirely put out. Remembering this could turn a story with a tragic ending that leaves the poor reader depressed into one that is uplifting because there is still hope. The darkness can never truly be victorious.
4. Pray before you start.
I have found this to be enormously helpful. When your focus is right at the beginning, when you sit down to write, it will come out in the words you put on paper. Be sure you are in the right frame of mind. 😉
There are MANY other ways to do this. So many I don’t think they could all be covered in one post. Most importantly we need to remember Who we are writing for. That should always be in the forefront of our minds. It does not matter what the world thinks of our writing, it matters what God thinks.
So if you ever find yourself peddling fiercely and getting nowhere, maybe all you’re missing is a change in gears. Maybe you’re just one step away from the ride you’ve been looking for. If your destination is sure, you will have clear directions. If you have directions, you know where to go. If you know where to go, you can realize that you ARE getting somewhere and that your work is worthwhile!
Make your destination the glory of God and follow His directions and you will write something that is worth reading. Something meaningful, encouraging and enlightening. Something that will impact someone, somewhere, somehow. And even if it is only one person, it is definitely worth the effort.
Have you ever felt like you are getting nowhere?
How did you conquer this roadblock?
~ Sarah Leana