It has been so long since Part One. But if you were waiting, which you probably weren’t, here’s Part Two!
To summarize, last time I talked about the ANXIETY of writing. It can be nerve-wracking to not know when the inspiration will come and what it’ll actually look like. The process is messy. But it also points to understanding God as an author and creator, and that’s priceless.
Today I wanted to touch on the external world of writing. I’m not going to go in depth or share everything, but there’s one aspect in particular that I wanted to touch on…
Now I’d like to think I’m a very patient person. I can tolerate boredom. I believes it leads to innovation. I can bear with it, and bear with it, and bear with it some more.
But it’s not just the boredom. It’s the loss of time. It’s the emotional push and pull. It’s the straight up uncertainty. It’s the anticlimactic response.
You can’t be in it for the immediate gratification, that’s for sure.
Let me tell you a story. So, I write a lot of poetry, but I don’t share much of it. When I submit it to journals and such, I usually forget about them. To make sure I don’t resubmit the same ones to the same places, I started tracking my submissions. Still, by the time I started, I had forgotten several of the places, and I didn’t expect anything anyway.
Anyway, nothing turned to nothing. I can’t tell you when was the last time I put anything new in it either. It just gets really tiring.
Months pass. Years pass. I’m just living my life at that point–my mind has been in millions of different places and stages.
Sometime in May I get an email. Someone’s going to publish my poem! That’s wonderful! I am very excited.
At the same time, I realized I submitted to them over a year prior, and I didn’t even remember to put it in the spreadsheet!! I look to see the name of the poem they mentioned, and I kid you not I did not remember writing it!!! I had no idea what they were talking about. I had to look it up in my own files. It was vaguely familiar, but definitely my least favorite of all the ones I submitted. It also wasn’t even relevant to the time in history anymore LOL. I am not kidding I was so confused.
I mean I was honored and really excited. I was just confused too.
A few weeks after that, my poem It’s Nothing, That’s Wrong was published in Mass Poetry!
It was great, but it was very anticlimactic. It also made me realize that when we rely on other people to choose what they like from our work, it doesn’t necessarily end up representing what we like the most or even our overall style/thematic tendencies.
It’s just so weird! And a year is a short wait in the publishing industry. If we’re talking books, the process is incredibly long. Years and years. I don’t even know y’all!
All this to say that it takes a lot of courage to write anyway–not for any reward or instant gratification–but for the pure act of writing.
It’s easy to think of writing as influence. Hopefully, it’s a good influence on people and that’s great. But there’s such a delay between writing and influencing that it can’t only be about that.
I’d like to think that the pure act of writing can also be an act of worship. When I write, I hope to capture something of who God is, something of what it’s like to go after His heart and find Him going after my own. I don’t know if I do it well all the time, but even if it’s a broken offering, somehow God finds great pleasure in my pursuit of literary beauty, truth, and hope.
What’s amazing about worshipping is that we never need to wait to worship. We never need to wait to draw near to God. It is always time, and God Himself is actually the one who is always waiting on us. He’s holding out His hand with a simple request: come to me all you who are weary and in need of rest.
I don’t have an antidote to waiting. I don’t know how to make it feel any less terrible or strange. But I am delighted that I never have to wait to worship God. Somehow, as I try to orient myself towards God while I write, He is there, and that is enough.
And somehow, within all that lies the courage to write. If it’s only for my most beloved friend who will never forsake me, none of it will go to waste.
They say writing is only a diary until someone else reads it. Well, no matter what humans read mine–or don’t– my God sees all. My God validates me. My God enjoys it to the fullest.
Praise be to God!