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Friday, January 21, 2011

COURAGE IN TIMES OF DOUBT

Just now I finished editing my story, First Christmas, which will appear in Christmas at Barncastle Inn (see the cover!).

What a week. I stayed up until 4 AM on Thursday morning finishing the rough draft of Knight Music. Since the next step involves revising 70K words before February 1st, I printed out the manuscript for First Christmas and read it, expecting the worst.

And instead I discovered it was actually pretty good. In the story, Waverly Coe, a young unmarried mother, works as a veterinarian’s assistant to Dr. Alec Ross. In addition to his practice, he also serves as animal specialist for the Barncastle Inn. As they involve guests in celebrating the First Christmas, can they see past their circumstances to celebrate their first Christmas together?

What can I say? Relief. I've been suffering through a drought of doubt and discouragement that has lasted, more or less, for four months (ever since I handed in my last manuscript on October 1st.). Yes, I've persevered. I've had a content edit, a copy edit, and two galley proofs. I've submitted a novella proposal and completed the rough drafts of two manuscripts. All the while wondering if the bad writing that plagued my last manuscript would haunt me into my next project. Worrying that Barbour might decide they don't trust me as much as they thought they did. Despairing that I just wasn't good enough to break into longer, trade length books that would pay more.

So I sent out an email to friends, rejoicing that at last I felt the despair had lifted. And my dear, wise friend Karla J. wrote back:

Funny how . . . in the midst of it . . . courage feels exactly like fear. And faith, when you are staying true to what God has called you to do when things aren't going well . . . feels exactly like doubt.

Her comment set me back on my feet. Courage? What courage? I had worried and fretted away many days and wasted valuable time better spent pursuing leads. Faith? What faith? I had doubted I could meet my current commitments, let alone grow in new areas.

And yet. . .and yet. . .I had persevered. In spite of my fear, I wrote and wrote and wrote some more, trusting God to help me get it right, no matter how many tries it might take. And isn't that the essence of courage, acting in spite of fear? There is no courage in the absence of fear.

And believing God had something to say through me, through my mortal words, I wrote and wrote and wrote again. Braving new markets. In spite of my doubts that I will break through, I kept trying, as I have for almost twenty years. Hebrews 11:1--faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen--could have been written about me. Even during these last four difficult months.

Needless to say, I hesitate to say this. It sounds like I'm boasting. But when I am weak, then He is strong.

Whatever your struggles today--You are acting with faith and courage. Be encouraged.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your friend's words of wisdom. I will consider my waning energy for my WIP as infusions of strength; my fear that I won't finish as courage to finish what God put on my heart to achieve.

Darlene Franklin said...

Amen! Let me know how it goes.

Julie Jarnagin said...

What wonderful advice! Just what I needed to hear.

Penny Zeller said...

Darlene - I loved your blog post. Thank you for sharing what you have learned and your encouragement with us. What a blessing it was to me today to read your words.

In Christ,
Penny