Toward the end of last week and the beginning of this current week I began to notice my anxiety rising, and my loneliness getting bigger. I’m sure that some of it has to do with a lack of vitamin D (come on sun, just a little bit of blue sky) and I have definitely been missing my Michigan people, but there’s something else happening too…
It’s time to start the third draft of my book. I’m pretty much out of excuses for putting it off; I’ve gone over my research, I’ve brain stormed with a couple of my writing friends and I’ve finished another project freeing up my work time. But I don’t know how to get started. Sure I’ve got some ideas, but the actual pencil on paper real start, I’ve got no clue. I’ve never done a third draft before and you’ll just have to believe me that it’s different then the second draft. Partly because I’ve learned a lot since then, and I want to go about doing it right, and partly because the structure is different now, and partly because I’m scared.
Every time I start a new phase on this book the usual self-esteem devouring suspects rear their ugly heads. And the longer I wait to get started the harder it is. The more guilt and self loathing I feel, the more lost. I reached out to a writing friend last night, admitted what was happening, confided in her about how lonely I was feeling. I had a good cry, told my husband I didn’t know what I was doing and maybe I should just go get a job at the coffee shop or whatever.
Then this morning I woke up to a little voice. “What’s one small step you can take to start?” It asked.
“Brew a pot of tea.” I answered. So I did.
“What’s next?” The voice inside wasn’t letting up.
“Put on a classical record. Find a notebook and get out my pens.”
“Good,” inner-me said, “now open your notebook. Okay what has to happen first?”
“First I need to do a character sketch for this one specific character who is about to change a lot from my first two drafts.”
“Let’s get started then.”
I started working through the character arc, answering one question after another. When I got stuck I texted another writing friend bounced some ideas off her. I admitted to her that it’s not believing in God that’s my problem, it’s trusting that God believes in me.
“He thinks you are magnificent.” She texted back. “You are His art. I say this and have a hard time believing it about myself. But it’s true. We are his work.” Tears in my eyes, I choose to trust that what she is saying is true. Pick up my pen and work through some more aspects of this character’s, character.
At the end of my work day. I found I had really enjoyed myself. Maybe I didn’t get as much done as I’d wanted, but it felt good. No longer was I feeling lost. Definitely still nervous, but also hopeful.
“How’d it go today?” My friend from the night before asked after I’d finished.
I told her surprisingly good. I was feeling less anxious and more excited.
“I prayed for you this morning.”
You know what’s so cool about her prayer? She’s three hours ahead of me, so her prayers for my writing were going up about the time I was crawling out of bed and blearily getting ready for the day. That little voice that asked me what was the first step I could take? Maybe that wasn’t my inner dialogue after all? Maybe that was the Spirit, coming on her behalf to help her friend take that first small step.
Remember, don’t fear the smallness of beginnings…