27 September 2010

Starting Again

I pulled my novel out of the drawer yesterday. It's sad, feeling intimidated by a 3" high stack of paper, but there you go.

Don't get me wrong - I love this novel. I love the story and the characters, and I love where it goes and what they do and how they handle themselves. But I've written two full drafts, now, and a bunch of other false starts, and I just haven't been able to solve some of the problems inherent in the story.

After getting entirely fed up with contradictory critiques, I put it away. At that point, I didn't know if I'd ever take it out again. Solving the problems seemed impossible without compromising either the story or the characters, and I felt confused about the better direction giving the feedback I got.

Also, I don't like starting over.

I'm also beginning again when it comes to art. Several years back, I had a ton of creative energy and picked up painting for the first time in my life. I painted consistently for a year or so, but got fed up with my lack of knowledge about technique and the fact that I'm SO SLOW at it.

But something in me calls to making lines on a page, and so I'm dipping my feet back in, remembering how color soothes and how even painting a background can ease the soul.

It's ok to start over, no matter how many times it takes.

I keep telling myself that, in my creative pursuits as well as in daily life. Because normal tasks involve starting over all the time. Take laundry, for example. As soon as you get a load done, there are more dirty clothes. It can seem never-ending, a long, long cycle of starting over, over and over again.

We have to make peace with the starting over, or life will always feel like a failure and a drag and we won't be able to embrace it. We have to open ourselves to seasons, to the ebbs and flows of work and energy that mean sometimes we'll be able to conquer the world, and other times we'll barely keep our mouths open above the rising waves.

It helps me to remember that I serve the God who offers us all a second chance, and a third and a fourth and so on. If I'm not willing to start over, then I won't move back into relationship with him when I need to.

So a'starting over I go. Wish me luck.

Thankful today for:

  • new beginnings
  • baby Ewan's miracle early Friday morning (and praying for more as we speak)
  • solutions to some of the novel's problems
  • my wee, climbing monkey of a baby
  • air conditioning (it's 114 degrees here today - yuck!)
  • green, growing things, especially indoors
  • getting to be on the news last Friday
  • entering a slower season
  • getting to pray for people close to me, and hold them when they cry
  • the lightness of knowing I'm not alone



holy experience

7 comments:

-t- said...

the lightness of knowing I'm not alone

Amen! He has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."

and because He is who He is, He goes beyond all that we could dream of and gives us one another...

His amazing Love and the lightness of it all :)

God's blessings as you continue counting and enjoy the starting over :}

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

It's okay to start over again -- yes!
Yes, me too! YES!

I am counting with you....

Just beautiful... you.

All's grace,
Ann

Sarah said...

T, isn't that the truth? And what's more, I keep finding out that others walk paths parallel to mine, and I can find them when I share my heart, when I let them in.

Ann, I think that's one of the best parts of starting over - it makes us human, and ties us to one another. And thank you!

Sarah said...

T, isn't that the truth? And what's more, I keep finding out that others walk paths parallel to mine, and I can find them when I share my heart, when I let them in.

Ann, I think that's one of the best parts of starting over - it makes us human, and ties us to one another. And thank you!

Heather said...

I'm so excited you're starting over! From the tiny bit I've seen of that novel, these characters need to tell their stories, and I can't wait to read more someday.

terri said...

i loved this. i'm so grateful today that we can begin again and again and again, and that everyone does that. thank God.

christianne said...

Like Heather, I want those characters to tell their stories, too.

And bravo for you for starting again on the novel and the drawing (and the laundry!).

This post reminds me of Kathleen Norris's "Quotidian Mysteries." I feel like I mentioned that chapbook recently, and perhaps it was here that I mentioned it. You may already been familiar with it, but it's a good read on the holiness of the ordinary, which can include those tasks that need to begin again and again.