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:
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:
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.
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: