Keep On Keeping On

Do you ever feel like giving up?

 I have been looking through my unfinished projects - trying to decide what is worth my limited writing time. I know God wants me to publish my missionary story and to continue writing Bible stories for Bibles International, but what about my other writing projects?

For thirty years, while raising my family, I worked on a story about a girl named Phoebe. I created Phoebe in an English class during my senior year of high school and little-by-little, I added to the story. One of my daughters said that Phoebe was another child in the family. (I must have talked about her adventures and escapades quite a bit.)

My daughter was right. Phoebe was my child. When I finally finished my story and sent it away to a contest, I felt like Phoebe was leaving the nest along with my other children - and like some of my kids, she kept coming back. After being rejected by four different submissions, I took a good look at my story, A Home for Phoebe,.

It was an interesting and educational and wholesome story - even well written - but not great. I have learned more about writing in the last few years. I've learned about POV and dialogue and plot development. A Home for Phoebe needed a major make-over.

I questioned whether it was worth the effort. Maybe I could just count it as a good learning experience and start over with a new story, new characters, and a new plot...but Phoebe deserved a chance. Deep down I wanted to give her that chance. Yet, I was still doubting whether it was my emotions or was it God's will for me to keep trying to have A Homefor Phoebe published.

Three times this week, I was encouraged to pick up my book and continue the task of getting it published. The first time was from Evelyn Bryant, a dear grandmotherly woman, who has prayed for me and my family and my writing for years. In her hospital bed, her face covered by an oxygen mask, she said to me, "Get that book published."

The second encouragement came from Jann Richardson, a friend who is willing and eager to illustrate A Home for Phoebe whenever it is published. She presented me with a framed and signed picture of my beloved Phoebe.

The third nudge came from the website of one of my favorite writers, Francine Rivers. In the midst of her list of writing tips, she says,

"Are going to be a “Christian writer” or a Christian who writes?
What’s the difference? A Christian who writes may weave Christian principles into the story, but the work can stand when those elements are removed. A Christian writer is called to present a story that is all about Jesus. The Lord is the foundation, the structure, and Scripture has everything to do with the creation and development of the characters in the story. Jesus is central to the theme. If you remove Jesus and Biblical principles from the novel, it collapses.

If you are going to be a Christian writer,
it is essential to study Scripture. Immerse yourself in God’s Word, and the Scriptures will flow naturally into your work. The Bible is filled with God’s wisdom, and His Word will transform you as a person and as a writer. The goal is to have the reader experience God’s Truth through story – to challenge, convict, encourage. The purpose of Christian fiction is to whet readers’ appetite for a close relationship with Jesus."

I said to myself, "I want to be a Christian writer.
I want ALL my writing to show Christ to my readers."

At the end of Francine River's list were these words:

"Don’t give up!
Let writing become another way to worship the Lord. Give all of yourself to God as a thank offering. "

I knew then that it was time to flex my mind muscles and get Phoebe ready to sprint to the finish line- this time with new eyes and a new heart.

"...let us run with patience the race that has been set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1)


Anonymous said...

You know how I feel about Phoebe.
Keep going!
P.S. The word verification is

Joanne Sher said...

Love the way God works! Cheering you on, Vonnie! :)

Pamela said...

I have to admit, seeing Phoebe, I want you to finish her. She looks like a delightful story.

It is hard to know which project to work on next. Ghost writing is satisfying (and pays the bills) but I've been asking God, "Where to next." I have two, sometimes three, days a week to write--I want it to count for God's glory.


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