A Healthy Hiatus
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
If there's one message I've heard God whispering to my heart this summer, it has been to slow down, rest in Him, and wait—a difficult instruction in light of my perpetual compulsion to be perpetually productive. On vacation, I made the decision to take a break from writing, which meant going an entire week without plotstorming, character sketching, or story-weaving of any kind.
I thought it would be painful, but I was amazed by how absolutely liberating it was. So much so that at the end of the week, I found it difficult to jump back into all the pressure and urgency that plague my love of writing.
This weekend was the last hurrah of the summer—a couple days away with my mom to enjoy the year's last beach days, spend quality time together, and set aside writing pressures yet again. Though I did do a bit of plotstorming, I put marketing and writing-related social media out of my mind for a couple days. It was easier this time, and equally refreshing. A reminder of the perspective that can be lost whenever we allow an earthly pursuit to consume too much of our minds.
Writing novels that point to absolute Truth is my goal, and something I feel called to as a child of Christ. But unfortunately, in recent months, the pressures of publishing, marketing, and querying have buried my original purpose to glorify God beneath a mountain of stress and unwarranted urgency. Those pressures stole my perspective—convinced me that everything needed to happen now, that I needed to get it all done now, that my career in writing must begin now, or it may never begin.
There is a slough of problems with that line of thinking, but one primary issue in particular: in my lack of perspective, I misplaced God in the equation. Instead of being willing to wait on Him, to do my best to write the story He gives me and follow His timeline, I have been asking Him to follow mine . . . and the result has been a frazzled, peaceless leg of my writing journey.
The author world is overwhelming. I'm learning that more and more. If you're feeling the weight of publishing pressure—of marketing and branding, querying and editing, critiquing and revising and perfecting and networking—I understand how crushing that can be, and the poignant sense of urgency you may be feeling. But what God has shown me this summer is that we can't force a timeline that He has not approved. If we have a legitimate desire to serve Him in what we're doing, He will open doors, give us direction, and show us when the time is right to act. We can plow ahead anyway, but trust me when I say that nothing good comes of rushing ahead for the sake of crossing the finish line now.
If you feel God whispering that now is the time, go for it. Go for it, send those emails, query those agents, and trust in God to help you navigate the unknowns. But if, like me, you hear whispers of wait—listen. Listen and save yourself the regrets that come from acting too quickly, without His prompting, or the lessons that come with time.
There are still a few days of summer left. Try something new. Wait. Set aside the project that's overwhelming you, and use that time to seek God and put it all in His hands. Lay it all on the altar, and trust Him enough to let it sit for a day, two, five . . .
It won't go anywhere. It won't spontaneously combust. Spend a healthy hiatus with God, and your project may just become more vivid, more whole, and more beautiful than it could ever have been before.