Monday, March 20, 2006

Doubt and Discouragement, Take #5468

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their comments on my post about finishing the first draft. :-) You’ve all quite overwhelmed me with your enthusiasm, but as I’m fond of saying, everyone needs their own fan club! {{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}} all around!

Last week, a good friend received a very complimentary rejection letter from an agent I’m hoping to approach soon. It was a marvelous rejection on one hand (she’s a good writer, and this agent even told her so), but very discouraging on the other—gloomy in terms of its outlook on the Christian market for speculative fiction, and of this agent’s own receptiveness to submissions right now.

Today the news came that a major publisher will be discontinuing its fiction line soon. Supposedly the market is saturated. This also effectively shoots down another friend’s submission.

All this makes me not even want to try. And as for writing yet another book—can my heart stand to pour itself into story after story of a series that may never see print? But these characters—this world—is the heart and soul of my writing.

I told one of my friends that I don’t know if I can bear it if God chooses to allow my spirit to be crushed over this, again—but another friend pointed out to me that if He does allow it, the grace will be there. That drew me up short . . . how many times have I said to others, who have expressed admiration of what seemed to be my strength during the loss of a child nearly seven years ago, that it wasn’t my strength at all—that as Corrie Ten Boom wrote, God gives all of us grace for what He requires of us, but only as we need it? I look at a dear friend whose marriage miraculously survived adultery, and I think I could never deal with that. She looks at my history and confesses that she can’t imagine losing a child. In reality, God gave us each grace for the trial we had to walk through, and nothing else.

I also know that another’s rejection is no guarantee of my own. But regardless of the outcome, I need only to look back over the last six months or so to remind myself of how the Lord has been with me every step of the way in writing this book—and He isn’t about to abandon me now. He nudged me to start it—gave me inspiration on the story itself, confirmation along the way that I was doing the right thing, and favor with those published authors who have read it (and most of my other readers)—and that not just middlin’ feedback, but enthusiastic. Frankly, I’ve been in awe over all of it. So, I’m forced to conclude that whether the story stands or falls in the publishing realm—that’s also up to Him, not me. I’ve been obedient in writing it—by a mere daily goal of 500 words, which sometimes I didn’t meet, but sometimes far exceeded. (Jill: I don’t consider it “fast” writing . . . just, perhaps, steady.) I’ll continue to be obedient by finishing up the proposal (done!), processing through the remaining crits as they come in, and then submit the thing as the doors open to do so. (I’m currently waiting on Door #1 to open.)

And I’m aware that even IF this book is accepted, that having a book—or several—in print is no real measure of my worth in God’s eyes, either. I remember well the cold terror I felt the first time I realized that “being published” really only meant a higher level of responsibility as a writer.

Ultimately, I want the Lord’s will for my life, whatever that is. My mantra lately has been, He is good—He has a plan—His plan is good. But still, this was the third weekend in a row with some sort of crisis of doubt—I feel like I’ve been through an absolute firestorm every time it’s over. I feel I shouldn’t have to be reminded of the necessity of putting on my full spiritual armor—after all, as I read recently, why would we be told to wear it if we weren’t in a war, and we aren’t going to be under attack? But duh, I’m human; I forget.

So once again the darts fly, and I’m holding up my shield of faith as valiantly as I know how.

4 comments:

  1. I'm praying for you! And I think you're doing everything right, even if you feel weak. Maybe my prayer will help you feel strong.
    Camy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Doubt, one of the slyest and deadliest weapons in the enemy's arsenal (and one with which I'm too well acquainted). Your post reminded me of that scene in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:

    "Well, on Saturday, about midnight they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day.

    Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That is good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try."
    href="http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bunyan/pilgrim.v.vii.html?highlight=doubting,castle#highlight">Pilgrim’s
    Progress


    Hold on...one day at a time...that's all the worry we have to bear. :)
    Sherri

    ReplyDelete
  3. dealing with doubt and discouragement myself... I am lifting you up, Shannon. thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm in the same boat. I want to write in SF, but I see doors closing out there for Christian SF, not opening. Only young adult fantasy (all those dragon books) and spiritual warfare type of SF seems to have a chance.

    Hey, tonight, I pulled out a Chick Lit I started working on last year, just to feel as if I was working on something viable. The fantasy is still my baby, but it may be a baby no publisher is gonna want to godparent.

    It frustrates me because so much can be done with spiritual/Christian science fiction and fantasy. Ah, the deep sadness of the shrinking market, huh?

    Let's pray for each other to not lose heart, eh?

    Mir

    ReplyDelete