Seasons are like four foreign rulers, each using their power to influence provinces.
In the fantasy world of Lutaris, seasons are geographically separated. In my latest piece of work, they mark the different points of the characters life and are symbolic of change. Then there’s my own life. Seasons are changing, seemingly beyond my control, and all I can do is reach for an umbrella when it randomly decides to pour down with rain.
There have been many seasons in my life, some filled with sunshine, others with thunderstorms. However, all of a sudden, I’ve found myself in the strangest season of all.
Sometimes I struggle to know what to hold onto and right now I’m in a season full of shifting ground, like autumn leaves scattering, some out of reach. Friendships I once thought vital are now fading into the distance. There are only a few sacred ones left, protected by mutual efforts. Love is thriving like an exquisite garden. And time is quickly absorbed in chasing this dream of writing – from the study to the research, to the writers groups, to the actual…you know… writing?
A lady who wrote a book on embroidery said to me today: ‘I always wanted to write a second book but I wanted to put my family first…’ My reply? ‘That’s part of the reason why we want to wait to have children, because then everything will change…’ And so it should. But until that moment comes, there are still other callings to thrive within…
Writing is a constant struggle. It’s being in the right head space and trying to balance the rest of life. It’s mustering enough confidence to actually allow someone to read something you’ve put your heart and soul into. It’s chasing inspiration. It’s finding your own voice. It’s trying not to be swayed by people’s negativity. It’s a beautiful battle of wits.
And the other day I was just about ready to give up on it altogether.
I experienced a spell of writer’s remorse – that moment when you think you’ve completely wasted your time. Every idea seems stale. Past “successes” (if they were even that at all) seem completely insignificant. Perhaps your heart’s desire is out of whack? Your priorities are all wrong? Maybe, just maybe, you’ve missed your calling altogether?
Fair to say, these moments are scary. They’re haunting and torturous. They make you doubt yourself beyond belief and you find yourself crying in the arms of your beloved, asking whether you’re good enough?? Of course, whatever they tell you doesn’t actually help because you think they have to say those affirming words to you…
I had sent pages of my recent project to a new publisher and was playing the waiting game and that was enough to give me a sense of insecurity. That, along with the fact that only one tiny Christian bookstore was willing to stock my books on their shelves. Maybe it’s a stupid idea? Maybe they all are…
I prayed about it.
And then I prayed harder.
Every morning I was committing this project to the Lord, begging him to give me direction. Until, one miraculous day, I had a sign. I received an email from the publisher, wanting the whole manuscript… You know, the one I hadn’t even finished writing yet?
The high lasted for a little while. But any writer knows that such warm and fuzzy feelings only sustain you for so long.
Fear and insecurity crept back in like summer rain, making everything damp and the air thick and humid. Too heavy to think or breathe. Once again, the words on the page seemed like just mere words – devoid of substance or meaning – and procrastination took over in the form of housework and busyness. I still felt rattled from a health scare I’d had over the weekend and I felt like I was neck-deep in water, still trying to catch my breath from being under so long…
I was in prayer all the while, literally crying to Lord, admitting that I was afraid. Not only was I afraid that something was wrong with me physically. But I felt like I was a failure…especially in regards to finances. I was declared bankrupt. I was barely making ends meet on my own and even though the Lord has sent me a beautiful man to help me, part of me feels like I should be working more and writing less… It’s that guilt that tells me, what are you doing with your life? Wasting it, chasing a hobby…
Then, there was yesterday.
I was staring at the intimidating blank screen when my phone rang and I was grateful for the interruption. It was Mum. She asked if I wanted to go to my favourite place…
‘Koorong?’ I said excitedly. ‘I’d love to.’
And with that, I shut my laptop.
It was a completely spontaneous decision made all the more beautiful when I discovered I had a surprise waiting for me.
I did my usual inspection of the fiction section. I know exactly where the authors whose surnames begin with ‘C’ are kept. Scanning, scanning, scanning…
‘Of course, it won’t be here,’ I tell myself. ‘Who am I kidding…’
I answer my phone as I continue to scan. That beautiful man, my man, is on the other end, telling me about his day. Meanwhile, I’m multi-tasking, until…
I pointed to the shelf. I couldn’t speak. There, in amongst all the other ‘real’ books, was my very own first novel, standing loud and proud: Shamira – Warrior.
I stood in awe for a moment before squealing down the phone and promising to send him a photo.
I was gifted another hope moment. One of those moments when God gently affirms you, saying, ‘Yes, this is right where I want you – persevere and rely on Me…’
It was in this moment when I was once again overwhelmed by the fact that this is what I’m meant to be doing –
for this season.
I’m sure there will many other seasons in my life and it will probably all turn on its end once I eventually delve into motherhood. But, for now, I’m blessed enough to have this season of writing. It’s not to everyone’s taste. In fact, I’m fairly certain a lot of people think me a bit strange. And I don’t mind. But the only reason I’ve come to the point where I’ve been able to spend time writing books is because some other parts of my life haven’t begun yet.
Fortunately, I have an incredibly supportive fiancé who encourages me to write. He not only sees my vision, he shares it, and he understands the space required for me explore my creativity.
So to this amazing man – thank you. I’m so grateful that God sent me someone who gets me. Someone who sees me in this season and doesn’t want to change it. Rather, he wants hold my hand through rain or shine.
I’ve learnt that as much as I try, I can’t be everything to everybody. In fact, I can barely be enough for anybody, and it’s only by God’s grace that I’ve found myself on this incredible journey.
Maybe one day I’ll be in a season that requires me to set aside the laptop and focus on something else. But right now, this is my calling, and I can’t wait to see what God does with it…
‘There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under heaven.’
Photograph by Fatih Ozay (ig: @afatihozay)