Faith Redux

Last month, I wrote a post about faith, which told a recent story about a particular act of faith in my journey as a writer. This post addresses an earlier time in my journey. It is for writers who haven’t had The Call and might not have an agent. It is for all of us who sit down, face the blank page and keep going.

A few years ago, friend and fellow EMLA client Liz Scanlon sent me her annual family Valentine’s card. It was a picture of her girls about ready to climb onto to a zip line in Costa Rica. The phrase underneath the picture said, “Leap and the net shall appear.” I kept this card on my fridge for a long time. Everyday, as I made my tea, before I went to sit down at the computer, I would look at it. I didn’t have any cognitive thought about it. But on some level, I think the thought comforted me and guided me as I took a leap each day as a writer.

No agents were knocking on my door. No editors were reading my manuscripts. At the time, I think I was enrolled at VCFA and I leaped every time I sat down at the computer unsure of what to write, but writing just the same, page after page because that’s what I had signed up to do. That’s what was expected. That’s what you do as a writer every time you face the blank page. Leap.

But I couldn’t do it without faith.

Faith is what gets me to sit down with the blank page. Faith gets me to leap with the smallest wing of an idea or character. Faith that what I have to say matters. Faith that the words will come. The story will come.

I am in the middle of that act of faith now. Prewriting and finding my way into a story and its characters. I have some ideas but I am resisting the ideas and listening to the characters instead. For some darn reason, one is writing poetry to me. What I notice about the poems is that they have energy and I feel energetic when I write them. I have no idea if they will remain but their spareness is working right now. And they help me stay away from the idea of the story. Yeah, ideas get a little preachy and ponderous. For now, I need to stay inside the skin of the characters and write from there.

Faith. The blank page is such a bold move. Only by putting the words down do we create the net. Only then can we see what the heck we’re trying to get at, and find, as per Tim Wynne-Jones, the gems that have washed up on the shores of the page. In his book ON WRITING, Stephen King says the first draft is telling yourself the story. After that you can look and see what’s there. Right now, in this prewriting phase, I have to have faith that I will get to a first draft.

Leap and the net shall appear.

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23 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Faith, Uncategorized, Writing and Life

23 responses to “Faith Redux

  1. I always love your posts! They are so relatable to me, and I appreciate how honest you are about how difficult writing is, no matter what station the author is in. Thank you!

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  2. Lindsey Lane

    Thanks, Amy Finnegan. I am so glad we are in this together.

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  3. Thanks for this encouragement Lindsey, as I face blank pages this morning. It’s good to remember the importance of faith, that the words I put down are necessary to tell my story, whether they end up on the final ms. or not. They must be dealt with. Thanks for the reminder that there will be a net.

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  4. Lindsey Lane

    A net and me as your friend.

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  5. Love this post, Lindsey–and love getting a peek into your process. Carry on! Can’t wait to read your stories. 🙂

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  6. Lindsey Lane

    I promise next time I will write about the debut process but I needed to get this last little bit said.

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  7. Parker Peevyhouse

    Stephen King also says that the hardest part (the scariest part!) is when you first sit down to write. It takes a lot of faith! Glad you posted about this.

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  8. Lindsey Lane

    And Stephen knows a thing or two about fear. Hee-hee

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  9. kathiappelt

    Love this, Lindsey! Love you!

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  10. Lindsey Lane

    Love you, Kathi. To the moon and back, again and again.

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  11. Lindsey, I’m glad you wrote about this. I read it yesterday morning and I thought about it all day yesterday. It gave me the ability to leap (and land it) this morning on a bit of writing that has been giving me no end of trouble. So, thank you.

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  12. Lindsey Lane

    Will I get to hear it in May?

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  13. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be coming back here to remember…

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  14. Leap and the net shall appear.
    I laughed at this when I realised you kept it on your refrigerator. In our case that saying is so required especially on the fridge as it is a leap of Faith as to whether there is any food contained within (we have a growing young man who eats everything).
    Perhaps your Poet in your story could be a closet poet, too ashamed of what pleasure is garnered from this clandestine activity. One day, our poet falls ill and collapses mid-pleasure seeking. Unable to move, our poet is finally exposed as a freak of nature with penchant for this black art……………………………………………..
    You must love your job? You can create any people you want, have conversations of all kinds and perform, dare I say, any act imaginable. You can invite whomever you wish to your table of work and if they don’t amuse have them be-headed and there carcass fed to the crocodiles. Enjoy your new book.B

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  15. You’re a beautiful writer, Lindsey Lane, and I can’t wait to read your books.

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  16. Your writing is so compelling. I have no doubt that I am going to LOVE your books! I can’t wait to read them!!!

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  17. Lindsey Lane

    Penny, Mwah! I hope so.

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