Tuesday night, I freaked out.
I’d signed up to attend a webinar addressing plotting your novel and answering participants’ questions. After listening to people who’ve been writing a lot longer than me talk about plot, marketing, conferences, and pitches for an hour and a half, I felt like I had nothing.
And I freaked out. Inner voices assaulted,
“Your book isn’t ready.”
“You’re never going to make it. Don’t even start.”
“No amount of back cover copy you write will ever be good enough.”
and the next day, I was still too freaked out to write, because I believed nothing I did would ever be good enough. So I did what I always do when I’m freaking out.
No joke. If you’re with me on Twitter, I said “see ya” so I could go read and write. I nabbed my ipod (you know, that ancient thing that plays music), put on my workout shoes, and literally ran away. My conversation with God went something like this.
Me: “I have NO IDEA what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I just finished college, I don’t even have a full-time job yet, and I’m trying to publish a BOOK. It’s up to me to do the marketing, and things are going so slow. I don’t know how to make this work. I don’t have time! I’M JUST ONE PERSON AND I CAN’T DO IT ALL.”
By now in my run, I’ve hopped off the road and I’m walking (bad knees–can only run for so long) in a hay field, and I play the song “Pursuit” by Jesus Culture.
And the lyrics, “Strip everything away ’till all I have is you,” took on a new meaning for me. You know that feeling you get when you’re experiencing for the first time something you’ve heard over and over again? I stripped off the massive to-do list I’d made for myself, the huge expectations, and everything I felt like I couldn’t do.
I had fun with God. Like I’d snapped my fingers, I stepped right into Agalrae. (That’s the setting for Chase.) The road, the houses, the rolled-up hay bales–they all disappeared. And I ran like I’ve pictured Chase doing so many times.
“Running on my back legs is faster than running on all four.” ~Chase
The trees rushed by, and the ground squished under my feet. I am wild. I am free. And right then, when creativity was literally running fresh in my body, God decided to talk to me.
God: “Sydney, you aren’t alone.” *whisper* “Let’s build sandcastles.”
For everyone who didn’t go to Re:Write 2015, “building sandcastles” means it’s time to create something beautiful with God. And if the ocean comes and destroys it–LOL–Ha, Ha–Oh well!–we build another one. I’d lost sight of what this book, Chase, means to me. It’s something God put in me before I was born. It’s something we created together. It’s our sandcastle, and building it is supposed to be FUN. Every book is supposed to be fun! Because I’m creating with God. My bones are rising up inside of me right now, getting lighter by the second, and rattling with expectation just because I typed that last sentence.
You know, it’d be great if I could make a living by writing novels. It’d be great if I didn’t have to work an 8-5 office job (because I hate being inside). It’d be even more awesome if I got some crazy fans who want to wear a dress made of the words from the first chapter of my book. But in reality, all of that’s extra.
God made me to be a writer, and I have a very real enemy that doesn’t want me to be a writer. That why, on Tuesday night, my identity was assaulted by those inner voices.
I’m not saying that I won’t work to market my book. I’m not saying I won’t study my craft harder than I studied for my college degree. What I am saying is that I won’t let that consume me. I’m not going to freak out. This book is my sandcastle with God, and I will not be the one to kick it down.
If God sees fit to turn my book into a business, bring it on. Whatever He has planned, I’m ready. I’m holding His hand tight because I trust His every move. When I write, I’m being obedient to Him, and I know He’s going to take care of me.
God: “Sydney, I care about your book. I knew about it before your parents even knew about you.”
Next time you find yourself in deep freak-out mode, stop and take a moment for yourself. Run away! Listen to the cries of your heart and get back on track to who God has made you to be. Chillaxing (yes, that’s a verb now) with God will always put things back into perspective. Next to Him, everything is itty bitty. Being a professional writer may take a long time, but hope waits.
Sandcastles start now.