Damned if I do; damned if I don’t.

What happens if you write a book that is too Christian for a secular publisher and too secular for a Christian publisher?

God, I want to write a book that honors You, boldly declares Your Name, is NOT preachy, but is CLEAR on the gospel.  And also is realistic and full of grotesque life.  I feel burdened tonight, but I KNOW that YOU will find a place for it if YOU want to.  I just want to write the book that You want me to write.  Point me to YOUR edits above all others’.  I just want to please everyone, and I need to QUIT THAT.  I need to return to my list.  #1 You, #2 me, #3 JG.  Remind me of this list.  This is the list I should have in the back of my mind as I make edits, as I rewrite.
God, I feel emotionally drained by West and Silas and Laurel.  But it feels GOOD, in a way.  Good, if I can point to You in dark times.  Why would I want to write a story that didn’t point to You?  Please help me, Jesus.  Will You please make the road rise up before me?
I love You.  I need Your help in EVERYTHING.  Amen.
And so I am just trying to write the very best book I can and to trust God to divinely intervene all he wants. 

manic writer

I had lunch with my friend Brittane this week.  Brittane is tall and gorgeous and insightful and full of God’s strength.  She has her degree in psychology, and she has this perfect way of asking questions so that you almost feel like you’re getting free therapy while you hang out with her.  She’s a delight.

I was telling Brittane about the rollercoaster I can’t seem to get off … the high highs, the low lows, the sudden switches.  “I don’t mean to be blaise about this, since I hate when people are like, ‘I’m so OCD,’ but sometimes I wonder if I am manic depressive.”

Brittane, in her perfect way, nodded, listened, asked questions, offered insight until we stumbled upon one important fact: these days, my rollercoaster is only about my writing life.  Since my writing life is SO important to me, I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.  It felt important, like a hand-hold.  “Maybe it’s just what the writing life is like,” I said.  “It’s just a continual up-and-down.”

If it is, I’m on the rollercoaster for good.

Back in the office that afternoon, I read a quote on Donald Miller’s blog that fit so perfectly with our conversation.  It read:

To write is to struggle with your sanity, at times. And there will be bad days and you will feel defeated. This work is more difficult than climbing a mountain because you are doing it in the dark. I want to urge you to keep going. You matter and your words matter. By writing, you are saying to God I agree with you, you gave me a voice and the gift was not in vain. By writing, you are showing up on the stage of life rather than sitting in the comfortable theater seats (there is a time for both) and are casting your voice out toward an audience who is looking for a character to identify with, somebody to guide them through their own loneliness, no matter how transparent or hidden that loneliness is.

It was just what I needed to hear in that moment.  I will continue to write, to ride this rollercoaster, because I agree with God, that he gave me a voice and the gift was not in vain.