5 Reasons Christian Writers Should Go Back To The Drawing Board

Christian writers drawing board

For the past two years, I’ve been pouring myself into a memoir. I spent time brainstorming, planning, writing, editing, and finally settled on my plan of action. I wrote about ten chapters and have been fine-tuning them. I asked a couple of friends to read through what I had so far to get some feedback.

After talking with them, I had a painful realization.

I need to go back to the drawing board. My original plan is not working.

Part of me is crushed. I was getting so close to the blissful land of DONE. Now I feel like I’m all the way back at the beginning. All the work I’ve put into it, and still nowhere near a finished product.

I had a small pity party, but now I need to pick myself up and remember some important things.

1) Writing is a process.

It takes time. I can’t rush it, and shouldn’t want to rush it. The act of writing is a beautiful thing, and I don’t want to miss out on anything along the way.

2) No writing is ever wasted writing.

Even if no one ever reads the words I’ve written, they are still important. If they’ve helped me to process or more clearly see something, then they have served their purpose.

3) I’m trying to make my work the best it can be.

I don’t want to strive for perfection, but I don’t want mediocre either. If I settle for just okay, that’s not honoring my story.

4) The book you set out to write is rarely the book you end with.

I first heard this bit of wisdom from Jon Acuff, and it’s likely he first heard it from someone else. In my case, it’s proving completely true. And it’s okay. I’m writing the book that needs to be written.

5) God is teaching me as I write.

I’m a bit hard headed, and don’t get a lesson right away. Sometimes God teaches me through the words I write. He’s pretty sneaky. So, even if those words don’t end up in a book, they’ve taught me a valuable lesson.

So, back to the drawing board I go. And I plan to enjoy the ride.

Question: When it comes to Christian writers, have you ever found yourself in the frustrating place of starting over? How do you handle it?

* Image credit: larskflem (Creative Commons)

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  • MarkAllman

    I enjoyed reading this Jamie. I am sure you are right about nothing you write is ever wasted. I would think the things that are written and then erased are part of the path you have to walk to get to where you want to go and without that part of the path you just will not get there. I think all things we create come together differently than we thought they would. Sometimes they come together better and sometimes it is just different. I think anytime you write thoughts down on paper it helps you to process them better in your mind. I think writing is such a catalyst to the mind. Just turning thoughts into real sentences makes you work the thoughts out in more detail.
    I enjoy writing down ideas and drawing thoughts together into a theme and hopefully helping someone understand life better.

  • Hello Jamie – good piece. I had to start over my memoir ‘She Does Not Fear the Snow’ several times. When it was ‘finished’, I sent it for close editing and received another 6 weeks work to do on it. But it’s as good as I can make it now and I’m getting good feedback from my reviewers. Yet another setback has come up – health issues being investigated have forced postponement of the launch. If this is God’s path for me, though, I trust that it is His purpose for me for good.

    • Bobbie, I wish you luck as you finish your work.

  • Jamie, I love this post. I often need to go back to the drawing board. However, rather than begin “drawing” again, I put it to the side and rarely get around to it. I need to be more thorough and diligent with my time and art. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Sadly, it’s often easier to just walk away from a project altogether and go start something else than it is to face real challenges like this. I need to stand firm and finish the HARD work, not just focus on new projects because they haven’t become difficult yet.

    • Really good point. It’s so much easier to give up.

  • Debra johnson

    Jamie, I just found this post looking for Christian writers and I’m glad God led me here. I am working on my first Christian fiction and it is proving challenging. Up until now I have just written devotionals and small pieces. Two of which will be on amazon.

    But this next piece is a Christian fiction and I am trying to learn all I can learn in the process. I see a return trip back here.