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Welcome to The Inkwell, the blog site of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) of Colorado.

Each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find a wide variety of topics and insight
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On the Trampoline

First of all, let me admit this -- I have never actually jumped on a trampoline. But, I have seen people doing it, and I have heard them talk about it. And, I consider myself to be highly observant and a great listener.

Jumping on a trampoline looks like a lot of work, a lot of excitement, and a whole bunch of pain.

Face it, you have to climb up there and get the momentum going to get the jumping started. And, as your feet leave the surface and you soar up, up in the air, reports are that you feel like you are being propelled into space. And, of course, if you aren't careful, and you hit those nasty metal springs on the edge, or miss the edge at all and hit the ground, well -- you know that hurts. And, even if you do manage to land on that rubber surface, you still need to pump those legs, flex those muscles, and work to get back up in the air again.

So, what does this have to do with writing and the writing journey?

I have talked to a number of writers these last few weeks, and the general consensus is that this writing life is tough. You have to have faith in the calling God has placed on your life to even consider putting pen to paper, in a literal or figurative manner. You have to be able coordinate everything else that is going on in your life to make time and energy to take on just one more thing like writing.

That's like climbing up on this flimsy rubber surface for the very first time. You don't know for sure you are going to like writing. You don't know you are going to be any good. And, you don't know but that everyone is going to end up laughing at you as you make a fool of yourself.

And, once you do get started with the writing process, oh, the ups and downs. Up, up -- you managed to string together three logical sentences. Down, down, your critique group hates it. Up, up -- you're going to a conference. Down, down -- you have so much to learn. Up, up -- you've finished the book. Down, down -- no one is looking for this genre. Up, up -- you send it off. Down, down -- now what?

You get the idea. Every step of this journey is like a trampoline ride. And, what if you miss the mat on the way back down -- you get a rejection? Rejections hurt. They can crush your spirit. They can undermine your faith in your calling, and cause you to question whether you really heard God or not.

So, what to do? Get back up on the trampoline. Learn from your mistakes. What can you do differently so that doesn't happen again? And, if it does happen, how can you learn to fall so you don't get hurt so badly? How do you get over the fear of getting hurt? How do you get past this down time?

You need to start writing. Immediately. Like, right now. Write right now. Start with plotting the book that's been swimming around your head. Do some goal-motivation-conflict charts of your characters. Do some research. Write with a pen -- it stimulates different areas of your brain.

And, spend some time in prayer, some time with the Lord. Ask Him to confirm His calling in your life. Call a friend who supports your writing. Go back and read a good review of your book, an email from someone who read it and said they couldn't put it down.

Yes, this writing life may be like jumping on the trampoline, but here's the important thing about trampoline jumping -- without the downs, there wouldn't be any ups. You need the downs to build the momentum to carry you up, up, up again.


Andrea said...

Great post!
I have been on a trampoline and it is not as easy as some folks make it look. Of course, I was older (an adult) when I tried to jump.

Blessings, andrea

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I have a trampoline and have attempted to jump on it. The kids make it look so easy, but you're right. It's not. So very much like my writing journey.

Paulette Harris said...

That's a great thought Donna.
I was on one, a very large one and when having so much fun, overdid the jump and guess what? I landed flat onto the gym floor on my back! My breath was knocked out it was such a hard fall, but after I short time I got back into the saddle, so to speak. The ups and downs are fun...ah if only I could keep my perspective and enjoy the up and downs of writing instead of sometimes caving into the fall. I love the ups and downs of writing so I guess I'll keep falling off and getting back on! :)
Good post.

Emily said...

Good on you. I once read post that talk about the life and trampoline, when you go through some wonderful time, that is just like jump up, sometime you go through some tough time in your life, which like the down to trampoline. We learn from downs and jump higher. That is life.

Paula said...

Good thoughts! Thank you, Donna.

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