Lately when some friends have asked me how I’m doing, I’ve told a few of them that I think I’m in a bit of a slump.
I spent four years writing and editing my memoir for a traditional publisher before it released in April 2018. In October 2017, I committed to co-writing and self-publishing a book for writers. My co-author and I spent over 12 months working on that project, which released in January 2019.
And now I’m tired.
Perhaps I underestimated the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy required by the book publishing process.
I still love to write . . . but I’m tired.
But it’s more than that. I feel something draped over my exhaustion . . . a blanket of guilt over not having the energy or motivation to create.
If I call myself a writer, shouldn’t I be writing?
Shouldn’t I be working on the next big project? Shouldn’t I have another book contract, or at least a finished proposal to send to my agent?
As I’ve spent time searching for a resolution to these questions and emotions, I think I’m starting to to see the blurry form of peace in the distance, slowly meandering toward me.
Because the longer I’ve called myself a writer, the more I realize how much the life of a writer is like the life of a perennial flower.
Like a plant that only blooms for part of the year, we’re not created to produce nonstop.
We’re not meant to create and flower day after day, month after month, year after year.
Unless you’re a hardy evergreen, you will likely go through a dormant season as a writer.
A season of rest. A season of rejuvenation. A season of preparation for new growth.
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After finishing my memoir, A Place to Land, many readers immediately asked me, “When is the next book coming out?” While I was flattered by their desire to read more of my work, a deeper part of me wanted to answer, “Do you have any idea how much of myself I put into that book? I’m not sure I have anything left to give!”
I had reached full bloom, and my petals were drifting to the ground. I had expended all my energy reaching for the sun — and I was wilting.
Now I find myself in a dormant season, still alive but not actively growing or flowering.
And I think that’s okay.
I am letting the land lie fallow.
“For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow . . . .”~ Exodus 23:10-11a
“The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.'”~ Leviticus 25:1-5
A few years ago, my husband planted some perennials in the soil near our back door. I admit that I did not have high hopes for their success. I enjoyed them that first summer, then completely forgot about them.
The leaves on the oaks and maples in our backyard turned color and fell. Snow blanketed the world around us for months on end.
Then one day, I saw it. A shoot of hope. A valiant burst of green poking through the black dirt.
The plant was alive. It had survived. And it was back to bloom again.
The barren, dormant season was necessary for new growth.
So I will resist the temptation to scold the ground of my heart for not producing.
I will let the winter do its work in the hidden places.
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God has not forgotten about the seeds below the surface. And when He decides it’s time for them to germinate, nothing will stop them from pushing through the darkness into the light.
So I will wait and let the land lie fallow in hopes that one day soon, when the winter passes and spring bursts forth, it will produce a harvest even more abundant than the last.
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