Okay, I’ve said this before but I am going to re-visit the subject for a good purpose. One I hope will help us both. Bear with me.
When it comes to writing, you either invest your time in your next book or on what you offer online. You’re either an author or a blogger.
I’ve admitted my shortcomings on this subject too.
Both require commitment, but, in my opinion, publishing requires much more than that. It demands strength. Patience. Resolve. There is something about putting words into printed form that ratchets challenge up to a whole, new level.
Honestly, I’ve almost given up both on many occasions. There are days I’ve feared I don’t have what it takes.
I'm not a patient person. But I am learning to be one.
Anyone can publish these days, but it’s those who dynamite through the boulders of opposition dropped along the way that succeed. You can’t just be a good writer.
You must be a good fighter.
If the intent of the author is to provide help to others through a good message, watch out. If the author’s goal is to lead readers to the truth of a Savior who loves them, it’s an all-out, strength-draining, energy depleting, tear-emptying war.
There are factors at play there intent on the demise of any such communication.
I may one day write a book about the challenges of writing a book on faith and especially in getting it voiced to audio. The audio part has been excruciating. And there I was thinking how fun that would be, given my years in radio news and experience doing voice over work.
In short, writing and voicing is the easy part. The rest is, well, the rest is hard and harder to put into words.
I disclaim I am committing the cardinal sin in the publishing world by admitting this. We are supposed to make everything look easy. To act like we are in control of it all. Pretend to be so cool.
Have I mentioned how much I love authenticity?
Publishing by far is the most exasperating thing I’ve ever done. And I’m only two books in. I have so much more in mind. Literally. Getting them out to print is always an exercise of my every last frayed nerve and I fear the beatings I will continue to take to see what I've a mind for through.
But this morning I re-read a story in the Bible that helped my perspective, in Luke, Chapter 5, of Jesus’ disciples resolve to trust him following failure. It’s a story every kid who attends Sunday school has heard a dozen times or more, but sometimes hearing a story in the Bible is as fresh when it applies to your situation as it had been the first time you heard it.
So, it goes a couple of fishermen had been out all night and hadn’t caught a thing. They’d come back to shore and had washed their nets to put them up when Jesus told them to head back out and cast their nets again. We can safely assume those men had been disappointed upon return, and more than likely tired and hungry too. I personally imagine they were fed up from having exerted such effort in vain. At night, no less. I’m sure the last thing they wanted to do was to head back to where they’d suffered defeat just a short time before. I’m guessing they were already home in bed in their minds.
But then Jesus began to speak. And they listened to him. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus says at this point. We just know he got in the boat with them and spoke to those fishermen and others.
He then he instructs the men to head back out to fish. To pick up the clean nets to dirty them again. To forgo sleep and maybe even food and get back out there.
To the deep waters.
To try again.
No wasting any time thinking about it.
Are you tracking with me here? They weren’t instructed to dip their nets in shallow waters or stand at the water’s edge and wait for the fish to come to them. Jesus didn't cause the fish to magically appear. They were told to haul those nets back out to the boats and head back to where the water was deep.
And they obeyed.
They didn’t challenge Jesus, according to what we read. They did as he asked.
Don’t miss the fact that Jesus was with them at this point. He got in the boat with them.
He then told them to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. Well, you know what happened next. Those nets were full to breaking with fish.
There is so much symbolism here but I want to focus on the heading back out part. Can you relate? Can you imagine? When it seems you’ve been at a task for so long, one you’ve been patient through and committed to without success? One you've prayed about again and again? We all reach a point when we want to throw in the towel, consider it a good fight. When we've given all we had and have enough sense left to stop the beating. In that situation, can you imagine hearing God tell you to get back in there, or out there, as the case may be?
Wouldn't you groan and shout, “Not again!”
I have on a number of occasions and when it comes to publishing, nothing has been tempted me more! An author friend of mine says publishing is not for the faint of heart. Yes, well...
Recently, I had to go over a layout with my design team over and over and over again. This went on for months. During quarantine. Months, mind you. Each day I believed I would have a layout that met my expectations, it was not right. Words disappeared off the page, illustrations went missing, grammatical errors popped up, layouts were wrong. At one point I walked away from the project wondering if I had enough stamina left to see it through to print.
Sometimes it was my fault.
In any case, I felt God should have supported me better!
I had prayed! I had worked hard! I had been obedient. I was under attack!
But then he told me to go back out into deep water to get it right. To battle and win.
And I’ll need to keep going back out there, where it’s deep. It’s there I’ll cast my net and pull up a bounty. Eventually. Because I trust what Jesus says.
Like any good fisherman, or fisherwoman, I’ll need to be patient. Like any good fighter, I'll need to chalk up.
Remember, your God is in the boat with you; he's in the ring.
Now row out.
And be prepared to win with a load of fish.