Cry Out for Insight, Writer

“Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.” ~ Proverbs. 2:3, New Living Translation.

I sat paralyzed at my writing desk. Like watchful buzzards with bulging bloodshot  eyes and unflagging patience, anxiety and confusion circled me. No doubt, wondering when I’d finally faint under the strain of my stalled manuscripts. Waiting for the moment when they could swoop down and shred my writer’s dreams.Vultures flying in a blue sky

The Daunting Challenge

Two publishers, each waiting for a different novel manuscript from me, was a good thing, right? Then why could I barely inch forward? Why so unsure how to start, much less complete those two 80,000-word novels? Good grief! How in the world had I ever managed to write the first two novels?

Okay, I knew the answer. By the grace of God.

But this third novel taunted me, daring me to believe I could capture it, daring me to believe I could ever complete it. And those sweet words from readers (bless them!) encouraged me but also stoked my panic.

Their “I loved your first two novels! When is the next one coming out?” left me speechless. What could I—a writer buried under many false starts with this third novel—what could I say?

“Uhm—” I squeaked out, “I’m working on the next one.” Ambiguous enough to be true without actually answering the dear reader’s question.

The Heavenly Solution

Knowing I had to change my situation, I cried out to the Lord. He answered through three resources I’d picked up over the last eight months:

  • “Undaunted”—a speech on CD by Tim Shoemaker during the Wednesday evening session last June at the Write-to-Publish Conference. Tim started with “Don’t be overwhelmed by the task,” offered ten pointers from the life of the prophet Nehemiah, and ended with “Be faithful to the King … finish the task.” Thanks for encouraging pep talk, Tim!
  • The Story Equation: How to Plot and Write a Brilliant Story from One powerful Question by Susan May Warren. I picked it up at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September. While reading it, I scribbled notes in the margins, and important plot points about my third novel took shape. Excitement rekindled my passion about this novel. Perfect!
  • “Being a Writer”–Lecture # 24 from the Writing Creative Nonfiction course by Tilar J. Mazzeo purchased in December assured my weary heart that I really WAS a writer. It also revealed a few areas where I might improve. Excellent!

Why did it take me so long to remember that when we writers are stuck and don’t know which way to turn … when confusion and anxiety circle, we can cry out to our trusted One? Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

The Prayer

Dear Lord God, it’s you who calls us to be writers. Thank you that when we’re stuck, when we’re anxious and confused, we can cry out to you for insight and ask you for understanding. What a faithful help you are in our times of need.

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Ruth says:

    Thanks for the great reminder, Beth. Pray and let God direct you to the resources He will speak through. Thanks for sharing.

  2. chris says:

    A good reminder, Beth, of how easy it is to get locked up. Our Lord cuts through the prison bars and sets the writer free.