Monday, February 11, 2019

When You Hit the Wall by Peter Leavell


My grandmother’s cleaning skills are level: freakish.

The patio door was open to let the cool Lake Tahoe air inside to freshen the house. My brothers were out back, and I sprinted through the dining room to the outside patio so I could play.

My grandmother’s elite cleaning skills are especially good with glass.

Face first, I plowed into the closed, glass patio door, leaving a nose print, then forehead smudge, and finally a wide circle that reflected the surprised look formed by my mouth.

As I peered up from the floor, she was already cleaning the marks I’d made, preparing the trap for her next victim.

Many times, as writers, we hit an unseen wall. What happens when we can’t go forward with our writing?

~Have Faith. All things work together for good. Romans 8:28. This isn’t easy, but it’s comforting to know we’re
not abandoned Hebrews 13:5-6
have a friend who always looks after us Proverbs 18:24
always loved 1 John 4:19
no matter what, we win 1 John 5:4

~Baby steps. Getting through the trial and getting back to writing all at once is impractical, and you will be missing the lessons when you’re supposed to be reflecting.

~Let your characters help you. You’re standing on this side of the wall, and you hear digging. They crawl up from a hole they've burrowed under the wall and they are covered in dirt. They hold out a hand to help you under, around, or over the wall you face. Take their hand and let them lead you back to your story. Go at their pace. You chose them for a reason, and while they're imaginary for others, they’re real to you. Trust them to pull you back into writing.

~Patience. Remind yourself you will prevail, you will learn from your trial, and you will get up so you can run into another patio door. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. Remember, when you learn from these walls, you’re not falling down, you’re falling up. You can’t call it a mistake if you learn from the trouble you caused, and the tragedy in your life will help you be kind to others—but only if you chose. 

~Friends. The writing community around you understands. Don't go this alone. Reach out and talk to someone. 

You're in a marathon, my friends. When you hit that glass wall, it smarts. But get back up, dust yourself off, and next time remember where the wall is, so that, unlike me, you won't hit the glass multiple times. Sigh.


Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at