Friday, September 25, 2020

Writing: When God Is Silent

In going through my computer, I found this information, written some time back. I thought that perhaps there was a writer somewhere for whom it would have meaning. I hope that's true. In my own case, I subsequently chose to "go indie" and haven't turned back. Maybe you're considering your own course of action. Whether you're still waiting for a contract, can't make up your mind about publishing your work yourself, or there's another reason you're stuck, I hope this helps.

 God made a promise to an old and childless Abraham that someday he would be the father of many nations. Fourteen years after that, Isaac was born to Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Did you ever wonder what happened during the prolonged period of waiting the patriarch endured? Did Abraham worry because he was getting older by the day without the son God promised? Did he agonize, wondering if perhaps God had forgotten His covenant? Did he consider trying other gods, hoping they’d do better a better job for him? We may not know what Abraham did during this period, but whatever it was, it’s evident he never lost faith in God.

What would a writer do if subjected to such a prolonged silence? Would the unpublished writer keep trying despite rejection after rejection? Would the previously published writer persevere when there were no more contracts? We’ve all felt it—the urge to throw up our hands and quit. Should we do it, or, like Abraham, keep the faith?

Like other writers, I have endured some of those silent periods, and I have to confess that during those times I worried...a lot. I wrote for four years before finally getting my first contract. I was ready to give up many times before then, and once I actually quit, although God had other plans. After that contract, though, I thought things would go more smoothly. Wrong. Despite four published novels, I endured a silent period again, waiting for a publisher to want my work. When there were no phone calls, no email messages, I wondered if God had forgotten me. Perhaps the call to writing I imagined feeling wasn’t real.

Finally, when I received another contract, because of publishing schedules I learned there was to be a hiatus of a year and a half between the publication of my last book and the appearance of the next one.  Although I worried that no one would remember me after such a prolonged absence, the void period turned out to be just what I needed. When you encounter periods of silence like these, remember that they may represent an example of God’s perfect timing. If you are overcome with worry during such a period, remember Abraham. He never lost faith. We shouldn’t either.

Does this speak to you? It did to me...both then and now.


Patricia Bradley said...

I so agree, Richard. My publishing journey was 33 years from start to publication of a novel. What if I'd quit six months into year 32? I always encourage writers to keep the faith, but if they can quit, to do so, because if they can quit, they don't have the fire in the belly for the writing journey.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, wise words, indeed. I won't quote the old saw about the guy who tried to invent a new soft drink and quite at 5-Up. But your word about writing because you have to write is one all of us have heard before--from writers. Thanks for your comment...and for not quitting.