Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Quitting Time? by Janet Sketchley

Ever feel like giving up? Me too. Often. I’ve even quit a few times, but my imagination always gets me started again. Through the long, unpublished years, I struggled with motivation, but mostly with “am I wasting my time?”
I knew God had given me a gift to write fiction, but there was a lot of second-guessing. Discouragement is insidious, and I wondered why I was spending such a huge amount of time writing fiction—for nothing. Eventually I decided to write anyway, even if it was just for me, and to enjoy the gift. I still hoped it would sell, so I could share my imaginary friends with the world.
Once I was published, and then decided to continue on as an indie author after my publisher closed, the temptations to quit changed. But they haven’t gone away.
Sometimes when the little voices ask, “Do you really want to keep doing this?” my only answer is “It’s better than cleaning toilets.” But then a character or plot point will surprise me, or a reader will tell me that something I wrote touched them, and I’m re-energized. Plus, God brought me this far. It would be ungrateful—and disobedient—to quit or to give less than my best. When it’s quitting time, He’ll tell me.
Looking back, I can see times where God positioned me in a spot to be encouraged to keep on. Perhaps most memorably, when I was at a very low, pre-published ebb, He nudged me into attending the 2012 Write Canada conference. I was feeling discouraged and directionless, but the conference challenged me to renew my sense of wonder and to carry on.
So I took that and ran, right?
No, I forgot and got discouraged again. Here’s the part I love: instead of letting me sulk, God got my attention while I was listening to Peter Furler’s song, “All in Your Head.” I’m sure that song was written for more important assignments than my writing, but God used it to challenge me. If you like rock music and need a bit of encouragement, here’s a YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VillmIj5SE
If you love writing, keep persevering. Even when it’s hard, and even when there’s no recognition. When God gives us a gift, He wants us to use it. And to leave the results up to Him. Some of us may become multi-published, best-selling authors. Others may publish a single book or article. Others’ words may only reach an editorial assistant deep in a publishing house. Or maybe the act of writing, listening, revising, will help others of us to work through issues we’re struggling with personally.
He will use our obedient words, in His way and in His time. May we persevere, so we’ll one day know the joy of hearing “well done” from the Master.
When have you been most tempted to quit? How does God encourage you to keep going?

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Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer who likes her fiction with a splash of mystery or adventure and a dash of Christianity. Why leave faith out of our stories if it’s part of our lives? You can find Janet online at janetsketchley.ca. This summer, she’s celebrating the release of her suspense novella, Unknown Enemy.

14 comments:

  1. Very encouraging, Janet! Like you, when I've been discouraged, God brings me some type of encouragement to keep going.

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    1. God is so good, to keep us on the tracks He's given us in the first place. May we press into Him and cooperate :) Thanks for the opportunity to guest post here at Seriously Write, Sandra.

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement 😀

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    1. We're all in this together, Jennifer, and I'm glad this encouraged you.

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  3. You have encouraged me so many times over the years, Janet. Thank you for those times--and this!

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    1. Belinda, I remember us encouraging each other at Write Canada in years past... miss you!

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  4. Wow! This post really struck a chord because I've had some of those same feelings over the years. But as in your case, the urge is stronger and I keep going. Also, it's nice to find another Peter Furler fan out there!

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    1. Glad we both kept going, Tracy! And yes, Peter Furler -- some of his songs really touch my spirit, and "All in Your Head," definitely gave me a "kick of love" to get back to work.

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  5. So nice to hear other's struggle with discouragement as well. thank-you for this honest post and reminding us who gives the gift and who will bring about what He intends if we give what we can for His honor and glory!

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    1. Janet, I think knowing we're not the only ones struggling makes a big difference. What God intends may not be what we'd like Him to intend, but He gave us the gift, so we need to be faithful.

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  6. Writing, like any or all of the arts, is its own reward. The reward may not primarily be financial, but you have created something of your own of beauty and put it out into the world. It keeps you vital... and it makes the world for everyone else, one which has beauty in it.

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    1. So true! The reward for using a creative gift is using the gift in a way that honours the Giver. It's being who we were designed to be. (Or for people who don't ascribe a spiritual side to it, embracing who we are.) It does keep us vital, so even if nobody else sees what we create, they see a healthier us. I think part of creating is the desire to share our work, and then we find the danger of wanting wide exposure and sales. Not that those are bad things if they happen, but if they take first place it's not healthy.

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  7. I think God is trying to get my attention. My pastor spoke on this subject this morning. Now, your article comes at it from a slightly different angle." OK, God, I get the message!"

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    1. Has He said it a third time yet, Susan? Or maybe you hear better than I do... the second time gets me paying attention, but it's the third one that seals it (usually). Praying for how He'll work in you and in your writing!

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