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On Writing & Waiting

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

In my house growing up, the celebration of the Advent season was as important as Christmas itself. Everything about Advent was special—fancy china plates, sparkling cider, and once-a-year Christmas activities. Every Sunday evening in December, my two younger sisters and I sat around the candlelit dinner table with my parents, drooling over Momma’s sugary treats. When we weren’t fighting over who got to light the Advent candle with the extra-long match or who got to keep the popcorn tin, Daddy read a devotional and part of the Christmas story. Every year Daddy asked the same question: “Who knows what the word advent means?” We all knew the answer to this ritual question: arrival.

“That’s right,” Daddy would say, “the world was waiting for the arrival of the Messiah when Jesus was born at Christmas, and now we're waiting for his second coming.”

During Advent, we have the advantage of not only knowing that Christmas is coming, but when it’s coming. But when it comes to our writing journey, and most other things we wait for in life, there’s not a defined arrival time. For most of us, “arriving” as a writer means some sort of publication, whether it’s a book, article, blog, or short story. We often view publication as a validation of our ideas or identity as a writer. This Advent season, what are you waiting for in your writing journey? Perhaps it’s not publication, but a sense of confidence in your identity as a writer, a steadier income so you can write full-time, or a new book idea. Whatever it is, don’t waste the wait.

Work On Your Craft. Guess what? Most writers don’t get published until they’ve developed some level of mastery over the craft and learned about the publishing industry. Don’t waste the opportunity you have, while waiting, to grow as a writer and continue learning. It’s called a writers’ conference 😊. And don’t forget to read, read, read! What are you waiting for?

Write Along The Way. If you’re waiting for the “perfect time” to write, that book might never get written. Don’t fall into the when-and-then pit. When the kids start school, then I’ll finish that book. When I get a book contract, then I’ll be a writer. When I retire, then I’ll join a writers’ group. Don’t get me wrong—there are seasons of life that will influence your writing journey, but every writer I know writes while life is happening. What’s holding you back from starting or moving forward?

Wait With Hope. It’s not unusual to experience disappointment and setbacks while you’re waiting. Rejection may make you want to give up on publication altogether. Hope is what carries us through the season of waiting—hope that what we’re waiting for will finally arrive. As you stay hopeful, stay open, too. The fulfillment of your writing goals may not look the way you imagine it. The Jewish people expected a king; instead they got a baby in a manger.

Waiting can be a wonderful, albeit difficult, journey. Remember, what grows in you along the way is just as important as the arrival.

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