Friday, August 29, 2014

The Valley of the 100 Word Days by Carla Rossi


Carla Rossi
Do you ever struggle with self-doubt? Do you question your writing abilities or if you’re really called by God to this profession? Are you currently in a writing slump?  Then you’ve come to the right place. Author Carla Rossi shares personal experiences and offers honest, heart-felt encouragement. 
~ Dawn


The Valley of the 100 Word Days

Sometime last fall I slipped into a foreign land. Life crept up on me from all sides—and I mean ALL sides—and suddenly I’d arrived in a place where my writing productivity slowed. My stream of creativity stalled, and my world-building skills seemed to have dried up. I went from writing with lightning speed through a new project, to no words on the page in a week. That stretched to two weeks, then three.
           
I knew I was in trouble. It all started when there was a medical crisis in my immediate family. My writing time disappeared, and all energy went to the problem at hand. From there, life events continued to pile on the heap until writing thousands of words in a week was a distant memory. I’d lost my momentum. I hated that good time-drains (holidays, new babies, vacations) were outnumbered by bad time-drains (dying pets, struggling children, more health stuff) at a rate of two-to-one. Not only was there no end in sight, I couldn’t lift my head enough to train my gaze toward the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

I started to fight back. I made up my mind I was not going to be brought down by circumstances I could not and should not control. I did all that was expected of me and then tried to force unnecessary baggage out of my mind so I could write. I turned off my phone, rearranged my writing office, and rededicated my writing talents and abilities to the Lord. I prayed, in earnest, to get back on track—and promptly stared at a blank page.

For many days.

Why? Because doubt had set in. Why isn’t it coming back? Where’s the spark? What am I doing wrong? Maybe I don’t have ‘it’ anymore.

My writing process has always included a daily check-in with things I need to do outside of actual writing. Social media, blog posts, publisher/fellow author support, marketing… you get the idea. I completed these daily tasks and found more doubt. Positive professional envy of those who seemed to be getting so much more done than me magnified my lack of productivity and caused me to wonder further if I should even bother. I immediately recognized this poor attitude and deep self-doubt as a trick of the enemy.

Self-doubt equals no writing. No writing equals no ministry. No ministry equals disobedience.

That’s when I put my foot down and staked a tent in The Valley of the 100 Word Days.

I decided I would not be defeated, discouraged, or disarmed. My talent would not be neutralized by life’s unfortunate occurrences, nor would the happy and joyful times cause me to lose focus. I am a writer on good days and bad. I have to write.

I started with a goal of one hundred words a day on my current WIP. The first few days were rough. I struggled for every creative phrase, but I conquered with this realization: It may be bad, it may get cut, but it does get on the page. On most days, one hundred words grow quickly to three hundred or more. It is something. It is what I have to do. In time, The Valley of the 100 Word Days will give way to a new and improved discipline. I’m on my way back.

One hundred words at a time.

If you are in The Valley of the 100 Word Days, be encouraged and know the following:
           
1. Your talent has not disappeared. You have not run out of words, ideas, genius, or knowledge of craft. It’s not even writer’s block. You are in a slump, covered by the woes of life. You will crawl out. You will write at your maximum again. You will start with one word, then two… You will write again. 

2. This is not God telling you to do something else. Let me clarify: It’s always possible God is moving you in a new direction as He is God and can do whatever He wants to do. But if writing is the love of your life, your career, your passion, etc., it’s probably not so much God telling you to quit writing and move on as it is the enemy trying to douse your writing ministry. Perhaps it is simply a season in your life when you need to deal with issues, juggle priorities or responsibilities, and develop new ways to deal with things like chronic pain, pressure from family, and all those other stresses. Make the changes God is nudging you to make. Let some stuff go.

3. Your writing is still a blessing. As an author called by God, your words are blessed and ordained and will land in the hearts and minds of those who need to read them. You are still creating meaningful stories that will find grace and favor with publishers, editors, and readers. Your gift of stringing random words together until they make perfect sense and bless an unknown reader is still your gift and will once again bloom on the page. All previous work is still out there ministering. All new work will bless even more than the last. 

4. You must write. Even if it’s only one hundred words a day.



Let’s pray about it:

Heavenly Father,
I know I am stuck. I know You are my only way out. I refuse to let the enemy take away the joy of writing or neutralize my gift. I thank you for Your unending love for me and for the tender care You take with my imaginative nature. Please continue to strengthen my body and expand my creativity as I put words on the page to glorify You and minister to Your people.
Amen



Tweetables:

Self-doubt is a trick of the enemy. Self-doubt equals no writing. No writing equals no ministry. No ministry equals disobedience. Click to tweet.

Make the changes God is nudging you to make. Let some stuff go. Click to tweet.

As an author called by God, your words are blessed and ordained and will land in the hearts and minds of those who need to read them. Click to tweet.





Rocky Lionakis has been a wheelchair user since a fall in college. He plays bass guitar in Cornerstone Fellowship’s worship band and shares his testimony every week with the campers at Towering Pines summer church camp. At peace with his chair, he has settled into a boring but successful career in technology...but then stunning camp counselor, Gia Rinaldi, enters his life and turns it upside down.

Lifelong preacher’s kid and occasional wild child, Giavanna Rinaldi, has always learned things the hard way. With a trail of bad choices in her wake, she has finally grown up and found her niche as a student of Christian child psychology. She returns to Camp Towering Pines where she’s worked since high school, but unsettling dreams and an unexplained illness lead her to a harrowing discovery.

Will Rocky and Gia’s budding romance survive her trauma? And is their bold decision an answer from God, or a serious step outside of His perfect will?



Carla Rossi is a multi-published, award-winning author as well as a cancer survivor, life-long music minister, and speaker. She has been writing inspirational romance for White Rose Publishing/Pelican Book Group since 2007. Carla lives north of Houston with her husband. She has three grown children and two grandchildren.

You can learn more and connect with Carla here:
@carlarossiwrite
facebook.com/carlarossiauthor 


28 comments:

  1. "... move on as it is the enemy trying to douse your writing ministry" Sometimes, he does it because great things about to happen. :)

    Encouraging post, Carla!

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  2. This hit home today! Beautiful encouragement, Carla. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I hated that place I'd gone to - but God pulled me out. Yay!

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  3. Amen, Sandra. After a while it just got funny. I was like, really? You really think you can stop me? Bring it. God is bigger.

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  4. Great post, Carla. I know I have been in this same situation and it's so hard to keep trudging forward when the enemy is fighting against you. Loved your bullet points at the end. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Stacey. I've been reading those points every day since I put this post together to remind me to keep moving. Let's keep trudging. The reward is great.

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  5. Thank you for you inspiring words, Carla.

    This is my favorite quote: "Self-doubt equals no writing. No writing equals no ministry. No ministry equals disobedience."

    Wow - that spurs me on!

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    1. Dawn, I know. We've always known to not hide our God-given talents or we could lose them, but when God puts words in your mouth, mind, and pen to share and we don't do it... Yikes!

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  6. "You will start with one word, then two… You will write again."

    You do not know how much I needed these words today. One hundred words doesn't mean failure. Sometimes it means success.

    Thank you so much!

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    1. Absolutely, Angie. Those 100 word days were and are successful because it's on the page. You are so right. It's HUGE when you've been stuck.

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  7. Do you ever struggle with self-doubt? Do you question your writing abilities or if you’re really called by God to this profession? Are you currently in a writing slump? Hello! My hand is high in the air.
    I dance with doubt enough to be spotlighted on Dancing With The Stars! 100 words is so doable! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Janet: Welcome to the Valley of the 100 Word Days! You'll be out in no time and onto the Mountaintop of 1 Book Done in 6 Months! Haha... Keep writing!

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  8. Truly words of wisdom, Carla! My favorite is "This is not God telling you to do something else." It's easy to think so in times of discouragement, but usually all it means is we need to give ourselves a break.

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    1. Totally, Myra. I love that saying "Don't doubt in the darkness what you knew to be true in the light." We just have to remember it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Beautifully said, Carla. I so was with you through your struggle. I've had two weeks like that. Then I heard the still small Voice and I know I am supposed to recharge and wait... His timing is what matters as long as I focus on Him and not what I think I'm supposed to be "doing."

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    1. Hi, LoRee, glad you're here! We have all been in that place. It's hard to bounce back and even harder to wait. Glad you are sensitive to that voice.

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  10. Dear Carla,
    Thank you for sharing. I just finished editing with my publisher my first non fiction book (Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering to be publlished by 4RV Publishing.com) and am awaiting its formatting now. I feel like a fish out of water after working on that project so long and not sure what to do next. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on,

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    1. Oh, Megan, I know what you mean. Those of us who have several projects out there totally understand that initial let-down. It's like when a kid goes off to college and you don't know what to do on the first day of school because that's all you've focused on for so long. But here's what happens... You'll rest your writer brain for a short time, then suddenly a new idea will drop in your heart and you'll know that's your next book. You won't be able to resist, and you'll fall in love with the process all over again. God bless you as you find your next writing adventure.

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  11. Oh, Carla - <3 <3 <3 - I can completely relate. Life changes and family life circumstances have wreaked havoc on my life in the past year and a half. It's such a struggle, and you beautifully and effectively illustrate the struggle and the means beyond. I tweeted, and I prayed your prayer - thanks for the encouragement!!!! God bless,and keep the great books coming!!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Marianne! I found great support from other authors while I was in the valley and as I'm coming out of it. I had to share because we have all been there. So glad you were blessed.

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  12. God's with us in the valley just as He is on the mountaintop, but sometimes it's so hard to realize that. And some days every word is a struggle. I'm so glad you fought back, Carla, and pray you reach your mountaintop. Hugs!

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    1. Hey, Dora! He certainly is with us at both ends and I'm totally on my way back. I realized it for sure the other day when we were in the middle of a plumbing crisis and all I could think about was how much I wanted to finish a scene I was working on. Being in that valley really puts things in perspective.

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  13. Wow Carla! Thank you so much for these encouraging words. I needed them today. It was like you wrote my heart. Thank you for reminding us that life happens and we can get off track but that doesn't mean God has placed us on a shelf. We can still get back to our service for Him - 100 words at a time!

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  14. Kim: I'm so glad to hear this helped you today. Sending cyber hugs (and chocolate, of course) as you crank out those 100 words a day. Yes, there is always service. And yes, you are a big, important part of it. Thanks for commenting.

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  15. Writing is my passion, but I'm passing through a period of self doubt at this time. It's not a deep, dark one, but I'm tortured by questioning my ability and confused as to my next step to take.

    Carla, thank you for the "100 words a day" tip. Loree Lough once said, "If you write just 5 minutes per day for a year, you can finish a novel."

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    1. Amen, Laurean! You can do it. The right project is there, and it will bloom out of those 100 words a day. God bless!

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  16. Great post, Carla. I am in both a self doubt phase and simply tired. I don't think of my writing as a ministry, anyway. I am thinking about continuing with Middle Grade with two little grandsons now in the picture and will have a short story out in an anthology this fall,....but otherwise, taking a few months just to read, read, read, and re evaluate. I don't write every day but I do try to do something creative. Hugs to you, my friend. Sorry to get here so late....been on the road.

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  17. Thanks for coming, Tanya! I totally get the tired part. MG is fun. I'm working on YA myself right now. And reading is good, too - but you are too good at writing to stay away, so come back soon. ;)

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