Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writing as an Act of Faith

As I said in my last two posts, I'm on a writing retreat to work on The Reefs of Time. There's an interesting faith component to this retreat. While the act of writing is almost by definition a leap of faith (Will this book I'm spending years writing actually turn into something good?) there's a little more to it this time. As part of my church's annual Leap of Faith experiment during Lent, I have been praying for a creative breakthrough, and also in particular that my writing wouldn't just sell, but would touch readers in meaningful and uplifting ways. I mean, really, if it doesn't do that, is it worth all the work and mental anguish? (Yes, aspiring writers, sometimes it definitely feels like anguish.)

Well, on my first night I settled into a comfortable chair with my laptop, in front of a crackling fire (I have a really nice room at this B&B), to begin writing new material. Not moving stuff around, not taking notes, but doing the hard thing: new stuff. No sooner was I settled in than an email came in. Really, I should have been ignoring emails at that point, but I caught out of the corner of my eye, in the little notification window, something about The Infinity Link. Now, The Infinity Link was one of my early novels, not much noticed nowadays, but in my writing career it was a breakthrough novel in many ways. (Not the least of the ways was that it started small, grew large, and took me bloody forever to write—not unlike the book I'm writing now.)

So I read the email. It was from a reader new to my work. He'd found The Infinity Link in a used bookstore a while back, and read it. He'd just read it again, this time via the Audible audiobook. And he was writing to tell me how profoundly the story and some of its images had touched him—and he just wanted to let me know, and to thank me for writing the book!

Before answering the email, I sat there for a few moments, dumbfounded. I don't know how you would take it, but that sure felt like an answer to prayer to me.

The writing came easier for the rest of that night.

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6 Comments:

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a touching answer to prayer, Jeff! Best wishes for your new book. Mary Blough

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Thanks, Mary. :)

 
At 8:42 AM, OpenID kathylynnbentz said...

What a lovely tribute to your writing which no doubt, at the time, felt like another leap of faith. Adding you to my blogs that I follow and looking forward to more news on the novel to come and its progress.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Thank you. And welcome to my Bloggus Intermittentus!

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Julia Kennedy said...

I am encouraged by this. Those moments sustain us and seem to come at just the right time. Grateful for them and for you! -Julia

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Thank you, Julia. The support of friends is a big help in between the lightning moments.

 

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