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One aspect of the writing vocation that I wasn’t really prepared for was the frequency with which negative emotions surfaced. Whether it’s the number of rejections one receives, the often daily struggle of putting words on a page, the discouragement when questioning the quality of one’s story, to those disappointing sales figures and reviews, to name just a few.
No doubt you’re able to add your own to the list.
Having had senior roles in large companies, people are often surprised when I tell them that writing is the hardest vocation (but most fulfilling) I’ve undertaken. Yes, of course I experienced struggles in those roles and perhaps time has served to diminish them in my memory.
Often we cry out to God in frustration when one of those negative emotions strikes:
“Why, God? Why another rejection letter?”
It’s too easy for us to forget that we have an enemy who really doesn’t want us to finish that manuscript or move forward in our walk with the Lord.
We’re all probably familiar with the story of the Israelites spying out Canaan, the Promised Land, before they claimed it. The spies returned and reported the land was full of “Milk and honey”, however, it was already occupied. By giants.
Most of the spies said they shouldn’t venture into Canaan out of fear and then proceeded to complain against Moses and Aaron. Remind us of anyone?
However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, said something different:
“Let us go at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)
They took the view those giants were trespassing on their land. Those trespassers were indeed giants but they were there to be fought.
As a I heard in a sermon recently “the fight isn’t over who is strongest but who’s land it is.” Our manuscripts, our finished novels are our offerings to the Lord.
Stand and Fight
All those rejections, negative reviews, disappointments and discouragement are just giants to be fought and defeat.
God has made us to fight. For our land. For our manuscripts. For our writing career.
“Our God will fight for us.” (Nehemiah 4:20)
He is there with us in the struggle and has given us a great weapon to use: His Word. The one offensive piece of armor in the six listed in Ephesians 6: 13-18.
Knowing we have an enemy we should expect trouble and prepare each day by putting on our armor. It’s an act of discipline just like not leaving our desks until we’ve met our daily word limit.
What did Jesus do when confronted by Satan for those forty days and nights in the wilderness? He rebuked him (“Get behind me Satan!”) and spoke the Word. (Luke 4:3-13)
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter