I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, May 14, 2012

Faith in Those First Steps

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by Lisa Jordan

One of the young toddlers in my early childhood education program is learning to walk. She takes a few steps, pauses, realizes she is alone, then topples over. When she falls, she gazes at me with a protruding bottom lip, as if to ask, "Why did you let me fall?"

Of course I reach down, scoop her up and cradle her to my chest to reassure her while I may allow her to explore her new-found development, she isn't alone in this journey. 

Before a child learns to walk, she needs to move through several developmental stages--lifting the head, up on arms, pulling herself forward, arm over arm crawl, up on knees, pull up to standing, balance, bravery in that first step. 

Like a child learning to walk for the first time, writers need to take baby steps in their writing journeys.

Writing begins with a spark of an idea. And most writers can't take an idea and mold it into a publishable story from the very beginning. 

Writing is a process that requires mastering the fundamentals of the craft. While mastering those developing writing skills, writers will fall. Perhaps they enter contests and receive low scores. Or maybe they query and editor or agent and receive a "not for me" type rejection. Or even they have mastered the fundamentals and celebrate their first releases, only to receive less than glowing reviews.

Writers who fall under the weight of the writing process--lack of strong skills, their own self-doubt, rejections--don't have the power to stand on their own...they teeter and topple. When they fall, they cry out. Who lifts them up? 

Psalm 145:14 reminds us: The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

When we lack the strength to move forward in our own might, God places his arms under us, lifts us up and sets us on our feet. He may take our hands and walk alongside us. He gives us confidence to take that next step. He becomes our strength. As we continue down the path He has laid before us, one thing is clear--He never allows us to walk alone, even once we've found a solid faith footing in those first steps.

Your Turn: When have you felt like you've stumbled and fallen in your writing journey? How did you get through it? How did God's strength sustain you? What advice would you have for a new writer?

Lisa Jordan


  1. Hi Lisa, lovely post. How do I deal with it? Lots and lots of prayer, seeking Scriptures that can apply to the writing issue and be prayed over it, following the prompts of the Holy Spirit for source books and material to help with the mastery of that particular craft issue.

  2. Paula, I admire your praying heart. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. Prayer is an amazing balm to a wounded spirit.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful encouraging post--thanks, Lisa. I think I might have fallen right now in terms of my WIPs conflict, depth of protagonist's character, so I'm praying, mulling, writing other short pieces that need doing, preparing to take a fresh run.

  5. What a beautiful post, Lisa. Loved the Scripture from Psalm 145, and loved your thoughts.

    Can I be gut-level honest and say I'm fearing my agent/editor appts at ACFW? I'm working hard to be prepared and have an ms ready. My fear is that I'll fall there and be found lacking necessary components. Whew. There it is. I'm praying, working to learn craft, and trying to keep my eyes on the Lord, remembering He is the author of this writing dream, and of the stories He's given me.

  6. Lisa,
    What a great analogy! As I've started on this writing journey, I greatly depend on my friends to be open and honest with me as I learn writing craft. They help lift me up by encouraging me and speaking truth when I need to change something. I quote Jeremiah 29:11 a lot too!

    Alena T.

  7. I have definitely had falling down moments...usually emotionally...when I'm dissatisfied with my own work.

    My advice to a new writer would be, simply, pray. And I guess I'm saying this as much to myself as to any writing newbie...because writing takes a lot out of a person and pursuing publication even more. And whenever my sole focus becomes the writing journey rather than the hope of my calling IN CHRIST, well, those are the times I'm sure to stumble. So, I've got to pray. And pray more. And pray often. And always.

  8. Dee, I'm sorry about your writing fall. I know those can be discouraging. Take heart--as you learn more and strengthen your craft, you'll be able to work through those writing potholes. And you're definitely on the right track by working on other things too. You can do it!

  9. Jeanne, I appreciate and embrace your transparency. You're allowed to be afraid. Those are very real emotions. Just remember we are here to help you every step of the way. If you can afford it, attend the MBT Scrimmage. Such a helpful workshop in terms of strengthening your pitch. And if you do fall, then you pick yourself up and move forward. Not always easy to do, but know you're not walking the road alone.

  10. Starting today on a new WIP. I've done the prewriting, prayed and thought and thought and prayed some more. But I know those first steps will be wobbly. So I really needed your scripture verse.
    Psalm 145:14 reminds us: The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
    Great post, Lisa!

  11. Alena, Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse. I remember that when I'm discouraged by those falls and trips.

  12. Melissa, you're so right! Our sole purpose needs to be a soul purpose. Prayer gives us the courage to take the next step. When I became published, I didn't anticipate the juggling I'd have to do, then I felt discouraged by all the ball dropping. But God is a great catcher too. ;)

  13. Thanks, Pat. You're building a foundation for your story. That's part of the writing process. I applaud your baby steps!