Monday, January 20, 2014

When it All Boils Down to Perseverance

Happy Monday! This is Caitlin Hedgcock. :)

A few weeks ago, Alicia wrote an amusing post about how writing is perceived. As she mentioned, writing has been romanticized in literature and film to the point that we fall in love with the concept of writing rather than the rubber-meets-the-road reality of it. I had to smile and think, "So true!"

This is human nature, right? We want to run like Eric Liddell . . . but only until we feel our lungs on fire and our legs jellifying. We want to play the violin like Joshua Bell . . . until our fingers hurt and our strings produce more squeak than sound. We want to be an art master like Michelangelo—okay, yeah, not exactly—until our strained eyes give us a headache and paint ruins our favorite shirt. 

And that's when we stop and think, “This is not how it's supposed to be! Something isn't working here! It's not like the movie! What am I doing wrong?” 

Sometimes, we are doing something wrong. (Don't paint with your favorite shirt on.) 

Sometimes, we've got to take the hint that we weren't built for what we're trying to do. (Mozart wants to play professional ice-hockey? Hmm.) 

But sometimes . . . sometimes it all boils down to perseverance.

Too often my pages look blank like this!
Writing can be tough. Writing can be lonely. Writing can be time-consuming. The sparkle of an exciting story idea wears off when you're half-way through the manuscript and your characters are waiting for you to make up your mind on what they should do next. Oh, and the book deadline is looming. The fact that your WIP didn't write itself while you were asleep, and that it's still exactly how you left it, is not motivating. At least, not when you have to stare blankly at the impenetrable dungeon you locked your characters in and invent a way to get them out. (If that's you, I sympathize heartily!)

Discouragement springs up so easily, especially when writing is tough and lonely and time-consuming. But those three challenges can apply to anything else worth doing, too. Serving the Lord with stories that will bless others often means persevering over the hurdles that come our way. Here are a few ideas to help with that.

1. Pray. We want to glorify God in whatever we do, and we can only persevere by His grace. His strength is sufficient for every project and He can open doors nobody else can!

2. Be encouraged. None of those who excel in what they do get to that point by being lazy. Challenges make us grow, and growth is good. :)

3. Seek ideas. This one will depend on your situation, but for myself, one of the best things I can do when I'm stuck in a story is bounce the problem off my parents and siblings. Their suggestions are usually so foreign to my thinking that it's hard to add them to the mental “valid options” list. I find, though, that I'll write myself out of the problem area and later realize the solution was based on one of their ideas.

Sometimes it might be a good idea to take a short break from your WIP (not too long!), connect with other writers, do more research, or ask a knowledgeable friend for help on a technical point. The bottom line is that just as athletes build up their running muscles, musicians get past the squeaky stage, and artists learn to wield a paintbrush . . . so can we persevere with our writing.

What about you? Do you have some favorite ways to write with endurance?

Have a great week!

C. R. Hedgcock

Caitlin R. Hedgcock is a Christian author who aspires to use storytelling for God’s glory. She lives with her family in England's picturesque county of Hertfordshire, and spends spare time reading, walking forest trails, and practicing violin for the next orchestra concert. Visit her blog to find out more.

Image above is a photo from a stately home we visited.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely LOVED this post!

  2. Wonderful post; you've got it down to the bare bones of it - persevere and never, ever give up. Thank you :)

  3. Quite enjoyable. Yep, and I better persevere and get back to that WIP with a looming deadline....

  4. I am so very glad it was helpful to you all. Sometimes we writers need a bit of a "pep talk" . . . and I did too :)

    Alicia, I hope all is going well with your WIP. By the way, the old English in To Birmingham Castle is fantastic!

    1. So glad you are enjoying it! Yeah, I enjoy the Old and Middle English myself! :) I can't bear medieval books without a touch of it. :)

  5. Excellent post, Caitlin. Very true!

  6. Thanks Caitlin! Don't we all need encouragement to keep writing from time to time? :) Love your books by the way!!! It's my new favorite series!

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback. I'm glad and blessed to hear that you enjoyed the books! :)

  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is good stuff, and well put. Thanks for sharing! :)


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