Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.
I worked hard today. At my job. As a novelist. I spent hours printing out my novel’s manuscript and forcing myself to sit and read as many of the 72,000 words I’ve written as fast as I could comprehend what I was saying about what was going on. At times I had to take a breather. At times I had to pace back and forth in my office. At times I felt like I ought to be doing something—anything—else. But I worked today. I worked hard, and at several points during my work I found myself smiling.
You see, I’m in the part of this creative process that isn’t at all easy. I thought facing the blank page was hard, but the next step is truly intimidating. What I need to do now is simple, but it’s difficult: taking a long, hard look at what I have done so far so that I can figure out a way forward. I’ve been surprised at how often I’ve repeated information, writing as episodically as I have been. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at the fragments that were good, the times the story became compelling, the moments I lost myself in the world I had created.
To get to this point, I had to overcome a number of obstacles. For one, I had to convince myself that taking the time to review what I had done was a better use of my time than sitting, dumbfounded in front of the computer waiting for a magical way forward to open. For another, I had to actually convince myself that printing out a physical copy of my document was neither a waste of time nor paper nor printer ink. But then I realized that these activities are a necessary part of the journey and that to do them required discipline.
It required that I work.
Up until this point, working on my novel has been mostly play. It has been mostly discovery and running in whatever direction I felt like going, chasing down fragments of ideas and stitching them into a loose framework. It has been a lot of fun. And when it ceased to be fun, I stopped working.
But now, I realize that if I am to produce anything of value—actually, if I am going to produce anything finished, valuable or not—I am going to have to discipline myself to do the less sexy task of looking back. I need to exchange the keyboard for the printed page and red pen. I need to spill some metaphorical blood on those pristine, black-and-white pages. I need to carve out a viable story, discarding what doesn’t help and making notes on what things I need to add.
It’s hard work, but good work.
I find myself smiling, despite the hours of near despair and embarrassment and confusion.
I have put in a good day’s work.
I have put in a good day’s work on my novel.
That means that today I have been a writer, working at his craft.
And I am grateful, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be doing anything else.
Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God richly bless you on your journey.