Writing is not for the faint of pen. Novels don’t just spring out of the ground with the right amount of water and sunlight. It’s more like mining deep and dark and dangerous caverns for something precious and rare. Words are hard as diamonds and can be just as beautiful. And good stories, like diamonds, are hard to find.
This year I spent countless hours editing Rimewinter in hopes of getting it published ahead of schedule. Sometimes you question yourself. You wonder if it’s worth all the sweat, blood, and ink.
Break on through to the other side
I was listening to an interview recently with a filmmaker who said that early in his career he did not believe in his ability to succeed in his profession. But instead of quitting, he told himself to just push through. To work toward his goals even if he did not believe in himself. There is virtue in taking the next step. In following through even if though you can see nothing but failure ahead.
I am on a mission to tell great stories and bless the people who read them. But there are moments of doubt when you wonder if you will ever find the readers for whom your books will bring that needed lift, that extra spark of light that comes to them just when they need it most.
I’ve never read anything by Saul Bellow, but he captured the kind of hope writers sometimes need to keep pressing on in this insightful quote:
“It may well be that your true readers are not here yet and that your books will cause them to materialize.”
What’s he saying here? He’s telling the miners, those of us deep down in these tunnels, to keep chipping away.
Who knows where your true readers are? And who knows how long it may take them to find your books? It may seem at times that the people you are writing for are long dead or have not been born yet. But a good story, told with honesty and depth and ingenuity, will find its place in the sun.
And when it does, like a diamond, it will dazzle all who see it. Those who perhaps come to see the true light for the first time in the refracted light of your story. And that is a reason to push through and keep writing.
Even when the rock is hard and unforgiving and you can’t see the diamonds for the darkness.
For those of us who choose to plumb the depths, writing is an act of faith.
Because diamonds are worth pulling out of the dark and words of truth are of even far greater worth.