1. Morgan Busse says:

    Exactly how I feel 🙂

  2. Yes to all of this. And another thing I remind myself is that there was a time when I truly believed (in a devastating way) that I would never find an agent, never be published, and I went through deep grieving over that — but in the end I was able to say to God, “Lord, if you don’t want me to become a published author, then I’m prepared to accept that because I know You know what’s best for me.” And it was literally a matter of weeks after that point that I did find my agent (who is wonderful) and two months later, I had a publishing contract.

    Has my career turned out the way I might have dreamed or hoped or even anticipated? No. There have been disappointments and discouragements along the way. But some things have turned out even better than I thought they would, and ultimately I keep coming back to that same hope — “You know what’s best for me.” Sure, it would be nice to be a bestseller in North America and asked to do flying book tours and speak at major conferences. But I also have a responsibility to my local church and my family (including three young children and two elderly parents who live with us), and I also struggle with finding enough time to write as it is. So frankly I’m relieved and grateful that I don’t have that pressure.

    I remember seeing a definition once that really struck me: “Contentment is the understanding that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want.” I think that after we Christian authors have done all we reasonably can to write good books, fulfill our obligations to our publisher, and promote our work to readers, our next challenge is to learn to be satisfied — not complacent or lazy, but at peace — with the result. Because it’s all in the Lord’s hands, and He knows what we need.

  3. Wow, R. J., great thoughts on the subject. It really is a help for those of us yet unpublished to hear from you who are. Thank you, and Mike, for these candid, insightful comments. God does know what He is about!


  4. So true~~thanks, Mike!
    I realized years ago, without contracts, that I was writing for the love of the craft, and as a servant using a God-given gift. Writing bestows joy and spiritual blessings on the scribe, published or not. And, as I’m often heard to mumble, “It’s cheaper than therapy!”

  5. I think all artists go through this same schizophrenic, love/hate relationship with their art. I know that in the middle of the rehearsal process for a show and the pressure comes on and things are not going well, or I’m at a theatre until far too late in the night and I have to get up in the morning for my day job, or I go to audition after audition with just a “Thank you, goodbye” for my efforts, I feel a bit like Mike described: why on earth am I, or any sane person, doing this?

    Everyone has to make an individual decision on whether it’s “worth it.” I sympathize with RJ’s thoughts, since I can’t imagine the faith it takes to work in the arts with a family to provide for (my cat is about all the responsibility my art can support at the moment).

    For me, personally, I try to look at my discouragement in stride. If I had quit theatre after school, I would never have gotten to work in the shows that I now have on my resume. If I had stopped when I was discouraged, I would never have learned what I know now and matured as an artist. If I stop now, who knows what opportunities (including the relationships I have formed with others in the field) I am turning my back on that God might have in store for me? At the end of the day, an artist has to embrace both negative and the positive of the art and love the process as much as the result. Otherwise, why even continue?

  6. Galadriel says:

    I read a quote somewhere that authors have to believe two contridictions at the same time: that whatever they’re working on is the best ever and what they’re working on is the worst ever. That way they have the encourage to keep going, but the need to make it better.

  7. Mike Lynch says:

    R.J., Kacy, & Michelle,

    I thought your comments were thought out and articulated very well. I also appreciate the fact that many of us have gone through the up/down experiences of applying our craft to the best of our abilities, with dubious results at time (always nice to have other people empathize with us). Sometimes it’s a struggle to move forward with our writing projects or performances when it seems like we face nothing but setbacks, while at the same time, have a sense that God is asking us to keep moving forward. Paul talks a lot about that in 2 Corinthians, and his life was a lot tougher than ours.


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