Earlier today I was preparing a topic for an online discussion group. The topic asked about moments when readers told us our writing affected their lives.
Over my years of writing I’ve received many compliments about my stories and my characters, about how my fiction entertained and sometimes presented stuff in ways the readers hadn’t seen before.
Others have complimented me on insights they received from my blog posts. Sometimes it was my writing on the craft and the business of writing. Other times it was about my posts on my spiritual journey, which paralleled theirs in some way.
The most profound and touching piece of feedback came early in my career. Prior to the publication of my first novel, I asked several people to be beta readers (or first readers) of the draft manuscript.
In the draft was a scene in which the characters spoke about the Shalom peace of God—the concept of nothing missing, nothing broken in our lives, of how God’s peace leads to restoration and wholeness of our entire being.
One of the readers wrote to me and thanked for me including the scene and urged me not to cut it from the book because it brought her closer to God. As I pondered her comment, I heard in my spirit: “If this novel is never published, it has still achieved My purpose—it brought her closer to Me.”
Like most writers, there are seasons when I hit times of discouragement in my writing, when the devil is shouting all his negative thoughts about what a deluded, no-talent hack I am, when he screams “You’ll never be published again.” I’ve grown some. Now these moments only come about once a day.
When I’m tempted to listen to the devil and dwell on his words, the memory of that beta reader’s words and God speaking into my heart remind me it’s all worth it.
There are many things in the writing life I can’t control.
The one thing I can control is obedience to God’s call to write because if my words reach only one person and change her life, I have achieved God’s purpose.
And that’s what keeps me going.
How about you? What keeps you going in the face of adversity and the devil’s attacks?