The challenges of writing are many. From unplanned plumbing problems and hand cramps to illnesses and rejection letters, the odds certainly stack up against an aspiring writer. So, what’s a person to do when a brick wall looms overhead, effectively blocking the path to wherever the writing journey may lead?
Build a ladder!
I’m not talking about an ordinary ladder. No, that wouldn’t do the trick in the least. The ladder I speak of is more a collection of people and items that, once stacked perfectly together, will allow the novelist to scale that impregnable wall and step into the future.
As with most things, it’s wise to begin by laying a firm foundation. What better way than devoting time to God? As Christian authors, our help, inspiration and words come from the Lord. If we don’t spend quality quiet time with our Savior, our ladder will wobble, shake and fall.
Once the foundation’s set, it’s time to set the rungs in place. The first few are formed by carving out writing time. If you’re anything like me, your life is packed with events, appointments and everyday living that instigates unpredictability. Squeezing in time to pen chapters on your latest work in progress may be the biggest challenge of the day. Whether it’s a couple hours here or a few minutes there, be sure to unearth moments to focus your efforts on jotting down your story.
The next several handholds consist of your core support group. A spouse, parent, friend or critique partner may be these essential people. This small flock of folks believes in your ability and dreams. They become your personal cheering squad long before you think you’ll ever see your name in print.
Research tools provide the next steady grips. Books are handy forms of research because you can mark pages with sticky notes for easy reference. The internet and personal interviews are also invaluable resources available when you’re preparing to dive deeper into the details that make your stories come alive. Experience may be the best tool of all since it brings a sense of reality to your writing. Whatever you do, don’t stop collecting research tools. They’ll come into play often on your writing journey.
Your ladder wouldn’t be complete without relaxation time. This time is crucial, in my opinion. You may spend it alone or with family or friends. The key is that it allows you to unwind from the craziness you’ve created in the land of fiction and get out of your own head for a while. When you’re focused on relaxing, the time away from your story should broaden your mind and enhance your writing the next time you sit down and ‘play’ with your imaginary friends.
Now that you’ve finished building your ladder, lean it up against that mountainous wall of roadblocks and climb. I think you’ll be surprised to see what’s waiting for you!