Do I turn right and work on this idea even though it's not my current genre?
Do I stay straight and keep doing what I'm doing?
Do I make a left and enter this contest/query this agent/try this critique partner?
Do I cut through that field and try a different publishing path, knowing there isn't a clear destination at the end?
Or we can get stuck at the four-way-stop, so unsure of our next step we don't move forward. Maybe we let life get in the way of opening our manuscript. Or doubt prevents us from taking the chance in front of us.
When we're riding on a high (we finished writing our best book yet, landed an agent, placed in a contest, gotten another request, signed a three-book deal), it's not difficult to continue forward, excited in our dream, sure of our end goal.
I've zoomed along the writing highway, made brief stops at the four-way-stop, and continued forward. The one place a writer doesn't ever want to be? On the side of the road with a flat tire and no service station for twenty miles.
I've gotten that flat tire. Almost three years ago, my mom called and told me my dad was diagnosed with dementia. We also learned he had Parkinson's disease. On top of that I got rejections from every editor looking at my novels--all in one week. I was only days away from typing The End on another manuscript, so I forced myself to finish, but afterward I took a month off.
That month was my flat tire. I felt lost, alone, depressed. I prayed a lot about my career and my parents. Did God really want me to write? Or had I let my pride and vanity dictate my future? The Bible passage about man making plans but God determining the steps kept slapping me in the face. I wrestled with doubt. Maybe writing wasn't my calling. Because if it was, wouldn't I be finding some success at it?
Well, here it is, years later, and I'm still stopping at crossroads on a regular basis. Still questioning my next step. Still wrestling with doubt as to what my life is all about.
Boy, I wish my faith could be as strong as steel. I wish I believed in myself and my journey with ninety-nine percent confidence instead of seventeen percent, or, some days, less than one percent. I wish I didn't doubt myself and God's plan for my life.
My prayers always lead me to continue writing. My weaknesses, my doubts keep me humble. They remind me I'll never be perfect. And the Bible assures me I'm not alone in following a winding path. Many of God's servants faced huge obstacles on their journeys.
Next time you're at a crossroad, remind yourself success does NOT equal God's love. God loves us whether we're riding high, paused in indecision, or crushed at the side of the road. And keep praying! Even when you're a miserable mess. Especially when you're a miserable mess! God will make your paths straight.
Have you questioned your life journey when success eluded you?
Have a fantastic day!!