The Mountain Crumbling Power of Persistence

There isn’t anything much more intimidating to a writer than a blank page.

An empty file.Untitled

A blinking cursor.

And a deadline.

Somehow, in the next three or six months you have to pull eighty to ninety thousand words out of your head and throw them into some semblance of order.

And do it well.

 What is the one key thing that will get you to that goal?

Some people depend on speed to get them through to the finish line. They can pour words on the page in writing spurts that make my head spin. They can write an entire novella in a week. Or a novel in a month.

Other people depend on their muse – writing only when it strikes. They may write for four hours one day, and not again until three days later when they find the idea for the next scene.

Some people depend on catching what little time they can out of their busy schedule. Five minutes here, twenty minutes there….

Whatever your writing style, there is one key ingredient you need to have:

Persistence

Persistence is that drip, drip, drip of water

          seeping into solid granite.

                      One by one the words come.

                                    Relentlessly.

Persistence doesn’t let life interrupt the commitment.

If you have a life that likes to intrude on your writing (and who doesn’t?), make time when the little ones are asleep, or when everyone is out of the house, or when someone else can care for things at home for an hour while you grab solitude at the coffee shop.

Before my children graduated from our homeschool, I rose an hour earlier than they did and wrote. I would write seven hundred fifty to one thousand words a day while they slept.

Persistence protects the writing time.

Turn off the text and tweet messages. Don’t answer your phone. Close the internet browser. Don’t answer the door. Set a timer, and don’t do anything but write until that timer goes off.

I set my timer for twenty-five minutes. When it goes off, I change the laundry, or let the dog out, or check my email, and after five minutes, I set the timer again.

Persistence forms a habit.

If possible, write in the same place at the same time each day. Write for the same amount of time each day. Aim for the same word count each day. Day by day, day after day, builds habit.

Have you discovered the joy of habit? One thousand words a day, five days a week, will give you 250,000 words in a year.

Two hundred fifty thousand words in one year.

How many books is that? In my world of writing for Love Inspired Historical, that’s three books, and a bit more.

That’s the kind of output agents and editors love.

 Will you make persistence a key weapon in your writing arsenal?

39 Cathedral Spires

 It is the relentless power that can split boulders and crumble mountains.

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No Angry Rejection

Rejection—we’ve all experienced it. Some days, it seems to roll off our backs; and on others, we feel as if a knife just pierced our vital organs.

Maybe you’ve been shunned by a friend, coworker, or employer. Perhaps you’ve experienced an even deeper-cutting rejection by a spouse or a loved one.

As a freelance writer, I experience rejection of my ideas and projects on a regular basis. At times, it’s hard not to take the “no’s” personally. When I was trying to break into the book market (something that took five years of learning, growing, praying, and waiting—after several years of writing articles and stories for freelance markets), the multiple rejections got to me after awhile.

Even though I believed I was called to write, and felt obedient to God by pursuing that call, major discouragement set in for me when three of my favorite publishers turned down a nonfiction book proposal in one week. Ouch!

My husband, friends, and family encouraged me to keep going. And I wanted to—but my “fight” was running out. The rewards of risk just didn’t seem worth it anymore.

Then God gave me a gift—a passage from Eugene Peterson’s The Message (1 Thessalonians 5:9–24), at the precise moment I needed it. I hope it will minister to you as it did to me:

“God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ…So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this…Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens…The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, he’ll do it!”

Isn’t that awesome? Those verses remind me, first, that God is up to great things behind the scenes. He will never fail. That truth allows me to trust in His timing and to thank Him–yes, even for rejections. After all, as James Lee Burke once said, “Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.”

Second, trusting in God’s timing and faithfulness builds up my hope, so that I can get back into the ring of life and keep fighting—for relationships, for a vibrant life, and for the ministry God has chosen for me.

Third, online and offline groups–like this blog–allow those of us who share a passion for writing to speak encouraging words to one another, so that we can press into our calling. In unity, without jealousy or envy, we can cheer each other on. Complete trust in the One who made us causes us to know that all Christian authors have a role to play, and that every single bit of success is good for the Kingdom.

Fourth, God’s complete acceptance makes me willing to keep living life fully, even when it’s risky. Though friends, family members, or publishers may reject me, Jesus never will.

I can rest in that.