Fantasy Friday – Slogging through the Swamp

We have a winner! 😀

If you think I’m referring to America’s Favorite Dancer, you’re off. Yes, I watched the finale, but no I did not vote. As entertaining as that bit of pop art is, I’m more concerned with who won the July CSFF Top Blogger Award. And we have a winner! Congratulations to Rachel Starr Thomson, now a two-time recipient of the award.

And what does that have to do with slogging through the swamp? Nothing. That was an important announcement, is all, so it had to go first. 😉

Swamp slogging has to do with my writing, and particularly with The Lore of Efrathah. Twice I’ve taken my character into a swamp, and wouldn’t you know, both times, my writing has bogged down.

But here’s the thing. The first time I had a group of friends pray for me, particularly that I would figure out how to get my character out of the swamp. The scene that developed is the climax of book two, Journey to Mithlimar, and is probably the strongest writing I’ve done (at least I think so, though whether an author can ever accurately discern such things is a topic for another day).

The point is this, and it applies in writing or in our daily lives, slogging through a swamp is not pleasant and sometimes feels hopeless, but by prayer, God can move us out of the swamp, though He generally doesn’t do so miraculously. It’s usually one step at a time, which can often seem like a painfully long journey, with little progress visible.

But one day you realize the trees are thinning and the mud isn’t quite as deep. It’s a little easier to move forward, and you’re not quite as tired today as you were yesterday. Progress. Hope.

Which is where my character is with this second encounter with the swamp.

Here’s the capper: the end result is often far better than we thought possible. 😯 I don’t know why I am still shocked by answered prayer, but that’s the unfortunate truth.

The thing is, when it comes to slogging out of the swamp, God has already promised that He will take the muck of my life and work that around to my benefit. Redeeming is what He does.

He redeems sinners and makes us part of His family. He redeems time and gives us eternity. He redeems hurt and heartache and gives comfort and joy. He redeems difficult writing and transforms it into memorable scenes.

How great is our God! 😀

Published in: on August 7, 2009 at 11:37 am  Comments (4)  
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  1. Amen.

    Just a personal addition to the prayer thing for writing: that first book/saga I wrote took 8 and 1/2 years through all the challenges of life at the time. There were times when I wondered if I could complete the charge the Lord had given me, and it both scared and saddened me during those down times. Then as the end of the book became a definite possibility, we had a young missionary hyped and ready to head to the field in Thailand with a children’s ministry. She had her mom accompany her that evening and when she introduced her mom as a prayer warrior, she included that her mom would be willing to pray with/for anyone at the end of service.
    When an elderly lady asked her for prayer because she was barely able to walk anymore, the woman came back to where she was sitting, laid her hand on her and prayed simply. Within minutes the elderly lady jumped out of the chair and began hopping up and down, shouting for joy. Literally jumping up and down with those legs that had hurt and hadn’t worked well for months. It was awesome.
    I decided she needed to pray for my writing, so I waited for my turn. She prayed another simple prayer for me to be able to finish the book. When she finished, she looked me in the eye and told me she had no doubt I would finish it “in a timely manner”. I can’t tell you what it was like from that moment on. I was compelled to write. Everywhere. Through every circumstance. Compelled. Completely. Finished it “in a timely manner” from that night.
    Prayer is the ultimate.


  2. Rebecca, I totally know what you mean about slogging through the swamp! For me, I think God allows those times because they remind me that my work is for him, and by praying about them and laying my manuscript at his feet, I am humbled (and I need that a lot!).

    And you’re right, when those hard, migraine inducing scenes are completed, I look back and realize those are some of my best pieces of writing… and I can’t take credit for them! God helped me with them, gave me the thoughts and ideas, and every time I read that scene with pride, I realize its not mine to claim. And that also keeps me humble and keeps my work in perspective.

    Thank God for swamps, they keep us humble!


  3. Right now, my story is sinking in quick sand! So, I can certainly identify with getting bogged down. Frankly, I’m wondering if it’s because my current WIP is totally my story and God wants me working on something else. So my current prayer is for clarity to see the best path out of the bog.


  4. Great comments. Thanks, Nicole, Morgan, Carol. It’s nice to know I’m in good company, but I have to say, God is faithful! If I hadn’t gotten bogged down in the swamp, some of the answers I needed would not have presented themselves.

    I have stories like you described, Carol. Short stories primarily, though there’s the beginning of a novel that may not be what God wants me to write.

    I’m learning to take this writing journey one step at a time. (Oh, the cliche of it all! 😮



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