Thursday, April 28, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 43

Yippee for Thursday. Almost to the weekend . . .

Lots of comments from yesterday. A few things to take note of. First, y’all help me remember in the future the suggestions to discuss agents and marketing. We will return to those topics after our NES.

Methinks this shall be when we are old and gray.

Second, Tracey, you wrote with a question about Lyme Disease. Please email me, and I can send you information.

Darcie—remind me to never take you on vacation.

Ron, Jen, Rich and others--thanks for the kind words. So glad to know this blog is helping folks.

Okay dokey. Let’s get back to our NES.

I have decided to bite the bullet and tell you some serious stuff. Not that I haven’t been doing this already, but this is . . . well, different. I don’t really want to—I think mostly out of some vague fear. But I also sense that someone out there needs to hear the story.

If I’m going to tell you completely, I have to backtrack a bit.

I have mentioned the spiritual warfare I came under as soon as I began writing Christian fiction. I mentioned it would last for 4 years. I would be hit with it every time I wrote (or rewrote) a novel. The only time it seemed to quiet down was when I was writing Getting Into Character. These were outside circumstances mostly, which sapped my energy. But when I started to write Dread Champion in 2001, something new came along.

I couldn’t write.

Ever turn on a faucet and find the water pressure’s dropped almost to zero? No matter how hard you turn the knob, the water only drips. That’s what it felt like as I wrote Dread Champion. And I don’t mean only when I started. I mean every day. Through the entire book.

Yes, I managed to build my story, and I knew the twist I was building toward. But the pages came so slowly, day after day. I couldn’t seem to concentrate, couldn’t think through plot points. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Some might call it burnout, but good grief, I was just beginning in my career. I couldn’t be burned out yet! I prayed and prayed, and really began to learn what it was all about to trust God daily for that day’s writing. Because it simply wasn’t in me.

And because the writing came so hard, I became more and more convinced that I was doing a terrible job. That Dread Champion was simply, horribly awful. That when I turned it in, Zondervan would never want to see anything from me ever again.

I thought that book would never come to an end. And when I finally finished it, I did so not with joy, but a relief so overwhelming that it almost sickened me. Dread Champion was my first book to write from scratch for a contract. And I began to wonder—would they all be like that? If so, I’d never be able to handle this career God had given me.

Then came the rewrite. More difficult days. Finally the book was completed, only the lighter editing stuff remaining.

God gave me the rejoicing time of seeing that Eyes of Elisha was doing well. I needed that. I also needed rest from writing, but I had little time for that. I needed to start Capture the Wind for Me, book 3 in the Bradleyville series. I had the general outline for that story, so I thought the writing would come easier. Whatever IT was that had happened to me during Dread Champion was now behind me.

And so I started Capture the Wind. And once again, I could hardly write. And once again, I just knew my work was terrible.

The beginning months of 2002 passed in this way. My writing had become a horrible drudgery, and I began to wallow in my misery. I did not know what to do. I didn’t know how to walk in God’s victory. And so I began to bend under the insidious lies of Satan—that voice that said, “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good.”

I knew I was under attack spiritually, but I never thought these inner feelings were part of the attack. I thought they were due to my lack of writing ability. Somehow I’d just . . . lost it. And every day, I felt this more and more—I was simply getting worse as a writer. After this book was done, I’d never be able to write another.

Every week I had a prayer time with my two prayer partners (we still do this today). They would help me pray through the week, seeking God’s strength. Meanwhile a wonderful friend in another state felt called to fast for me once a week every week until the book was done. Wow. That’s some prayer support.

Still, I got up every day with a deep sense of oppression over me. A heaviness that just wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard I tried to work, or how much I prayed. Slowly I began to realize (I had a thick head) that maybe all this wasn’t normal. That maybe the inability to write in itself was an attack. But I wasn’t sure. And I didn’t want to be one of those people who attributed everything wrong to some sort of demonic attack. But matters were only getting worse. At the same time, the outside circumstances surrounding me were also getting worse. There were serious problems with our son, and our daughter was inexplicably sick--until she’d missed two straight months of school. I’ve never felt closer to going under than at that time.

Finally one day I asked God to show me if my extreme difficulty in writing was, indeed, a direct spiritual attack. I needed to know, because if it was, my friends and I needed to pray in a different way—invoking and claiming God’s power against the attack. I didn’t know what kind of answer I’d get—or if I’d get one at all.

I got one, all right. The very next day.

And it wasn’t subtle.

Read Part 44


Wandering Writer said...

I'm glad to hear you are going to address marketing again in the future. Maybe it's me, but I think marketing fiction is more difficult than non-fiction. Spiritual warfare is no fun. Been there...with my daughter. Thanks for sharing your struggles. It doesn't seem so lonely out here when you have the company of others who are willing to share.

sj said...

Thanks for this post. So glad you're addressing this topic. It couldn't be more timely for me.

Anonymous said...

If our thoughts don't pass the Phil 4:8 test - the whatever test, you might want to check the source of the thoughts. God convicts,edifies,builds up and encourages - Satan condemns. Our enemy steals, kills, destroys whatever he can in our lives.

As writers, we have to be aware that God compels/gifts us to write for His purpose and that Satan will want to stop that flow.

Your books glorify God, Brandilyn, so it's not surprising that the enemy wants to stomp any sprouts that may come from them.

Megan DiMaria said...

Brandilyn - Thanks for the blog. You make me feel normal. :) So often you say things that I think. On another note, how extensively do you plot? Inquiring minds want to know.

D. Gudger said...

Wow, so the pros go through the dry-faucet-syndrome too? Writing was relativley easy when I did it for my eyes only. Now, I struggle to get even a tiny tad each day and was wondering what I had gotten myself into! Maybe I'm not cut out to be a writer . . .

Your story puts a whole new spin on things and makes soooo much sense!

D. Gudger said...

BTW - I'm alot of fun on vacations!

mrsd said...

Interesting post. I'm looking forward to more.

Tracey said...

You always leave us hanging!!! Can't wait to read tomorrow.

C.J. Darlington said...

Same here! Loving this insight.

Anonymous said...

Brandilyn, your post is very timely. Thank you.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,
Cindy Q

Hope Wilbanks said...

Arggg! Man! You are such a teaser with these cliffhanger endings! LOL