But the fruit of a writer is joy, fame, cash, publication, recognition, success, a media presence and a fat bank balance, and a contract for three books. Against such things there is no guarantee...
Imaginations 5;22,23 The (unpublishable) Writers Bible
The tomatoes are ripe, the pots still brimming and the sunflowers florid discs of gold. Even if they are leaning a bit. The word that has been on my mind all week is fruitfulness. We worked hard in the spring, we planted and watched and nurtured and said things like, "Have you seen the buds on the climbing rose?"and "The gladioli are up". We bought special soil and some new pots and built raised beds with wood from the old shed. But we didn't mind because we thought our hard work would probably pay off. In fact, barring squirrels and foxes and a chemical disaster (unlikely), we knew it would. That's generally how it works with gardens.
For me, it's partly because if I didn't write, I'd go mad. It helps me process the world, it helps me breathe. If I don't write for a while, the adventurer in me becomes stiff and weary. I stop embracing life. But it's not just for myself that I want to write. My longing is to paint pictures with words that help others. Of course if nobody reads what I've written, that won't happen. So, even when the outlook is bleak, I keep going, as you do, with hopeful days and hopeless days, believing that God has a firm hold on things and that what I am doing now, I should keep doing with all my heart. As for the future...I aspire to all those things it takes to be a successful writer : determination, commitment, strength, belief, hard work. As well as humility, patience, the ability to listen, a teachable spirit, self-control. Occasionally, I'm quite good at these things. Usually I'm rubbish.
The writing process could finish you off. But if you let it, this thing God set inside you - this endless romance with words that you've had all your life, - will be one of the tools His Holy Spirit uses, to mould you into something far more important than a successful writer. You will become a fruitful plant, a strong tree providing welcome shade for others. Through your writing, but more significantly, through your life.
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5: 22,23
We will keep writing and we will keep talking. We will say things like, "Have you heard? That publisher's accepting unsolicited manuscripts?" and "I loved your book and wrote a review". We will go on courses and get critiques and read articles by published writers. We will edit. Not because our hard work will pay off but because the hard work is the pay-off. It keeps us sane, it helps others and it drags us, often unwillingly, into the shape God wants us to be.
Keep going, believing writer. Be faithful, and fruitful, with the gift you have. Even if you're leaning a bit...
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Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on writing school textbooks for Macmillan. She is also writing a full length novel in the odd spare moment. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.