Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Crossing the Canyon by Marie Wells Coutu

Planning for a recent family trip to the Grand Canyon started because my husband wanted to run rim-to-rim for the second time. That means starting on the North Rim, running down into the canyon, across the Colorado River basin, and (mostly walking) up to the South Rim—in one day.

This excursion is not for the ordinary hiker. It takes planning, training, mental toughness, and excellent physical conditioning. (In other words, it’s not for me!) But our daughter-in-law, who is also a marathon runner, was up for the challenge.

That journey across the canyon had similarities to my journey as a writer:

1. It started with a goal. My husband and daughter-in-law wanted to accomplish the goal for no other reason than to say, “We did it!” I became a writer (and I imagine you did, too) because of a passion inside me to tell stories, which evolved into a desire to be published so that others could read my stories of redemption and hope.

2. It required preparation and training. They each spent hours running, working out, practicing going up and down steps and hills. (There are a lot of steps on the mile-high descent and ascent.) As a writer, I’ve needed a lot of training and studying. And each new book requires preparation as I develop my characters and think through my plot.

3. There were obstacles, including some painful ones. My husband fell twice, once into a cactus that left its needles in his arm. He still bears scabs on his knee and legs where the rocks scraped him. Becoming an author also features many obstacles and sometimes we carry the scars with us: limited publishing spots for new authors, a plethora of competing books, criticism and negative reviews, lack of sales, competing priorities, and, at times, plain old discouragement.

4. Turning back was not an option. Once they started down the trail, their “support team” left to begin the drive to the South Rim to pick them up. Returning to the North Rim would have done no good and would have meant failure. Sometimes as writers, it’s tempting to give in to discouragement and abandon the dream. But we have to persevere, to keep our eyes focused on the goal, if we have been called to write.

5. The trip is more rewarding and successful if not attempted solo. Because they traveled together, they could urge each other on, share the experience, and celebrate completion together. I have writer friends who have cheered for me from the beginning—and I continue to make new friends along the way. Those who “finish” first—by getting an agent or a publishing contract—reach back to encourage, offer a hand or peptalk, and provide advice.
When you get discouraged about your writing career, remember what Paul wrote to the Galatians, as paraphrased in The Message:

“You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place” (Gal. 5: 7-8, MSG).

He concluded the chapter with this admonishment:

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen . . . let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original” (Gal. 5: 25-26, MSG).

No matter where you are on your writing journey, keep on keeping on. It’s the only way to cross what may seem like a canyon before you.

The journey across the Grand Canyon had similarities to the writing journey. @mwcoutu @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #writingtips

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.
She is currently working on historical romance novels set in the 1930s. One manuscript won the 2019 Touched by Love Contest and the 2019 Sheila Contest, and a second novel also won in the Sheila Contest.
Her published novels are women’s contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. The Secret Heart, her newest release, and Thirsting for More, the second book in the series, were finalists in several contests.

You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook author page and her website, MarieWellsCoutu.com,
Follow her on Twitter @mwcoutu or on Amazon.