**Note: Don’t forget to revisit FlyingFaith through the next few days, as I share my video reflections of the Realm Makers Creativity Winter Summit!**
[Entry #5; Continued from Entry #4]
So by God’s prompting, Celestial the game would become Celestial the book. I wasn’t too worried at the start. The list of needed elements for a video game far dwarfed those needed for a book. Not that I was naive enough to think learning a new craft from ground zero would be a cinch. Still, I utterly underestimated the mind-numbing brainpower book writing demanded. I am thankful for my prior ignorance, though. I probably wouldn’t have tried writing Celestial at all if I knew the first draft alone would take four years of my life. Yeah. Four years. Celestial was my first rodeo after all, and at the time I expected it to be my only one. Thus, I figured I’d sink in all the hours necessary to do it right no matter how many. First things were first, though. To learn to fly, I had to learn to walk.
The critique groups in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) dished out my first taste of reality. That is to say they smacked my initial ease down right quick. Red marks filled my submitted pages, exposing my every failing in terms I never heard before. Seldom had I felt so lost. Still, I initially thought I’d be fine so long as I heeded my peer’s advice. Then one needlessly rude critic taught me another invaluable yet complicating lesson. It’s unwise to accept every single pointer I heard. Thus, discerning exactly who’s advice was worth listening to was just as crucial as listening to it. Doubly challenged by all this, I once again prayed, put my helmet on, and (you guessed it) researched.
Thankfully, my innate love for learning hadn’t yet waned. My brain consumed writing techniques almost like an addiction. I asked questions. I read webpages, and my YouTube time centered on the subject. Writing videos played on my Apple devices every day without fail. I listened while I excersized; while I cooked; while I cleaned; and in bed. Admittedly, I probably went overboard with it. My family certainly became concerned at a few points and helped me attain a healthier balance. Still, the regimented self-tutoring proved valuable. It couldn’t hold a candle to in-person classes. Don’t get me wrong, but my empty pockets said, “Work with what you got”. Thus, work I did. Some writing elements were definitely harder to catch onto than others. Even today I’m figuring out how I personally tick as a writer, but acquiring new skills is a never-ending journey anyway. Life would be doomed to boredom otherwise.
Of course, I didn’t neglect the actual writing part while I studied. Celestial’s predetermined timeline streamlined my process, and I pursued it. Still, tricky as learning how to write and actually writing was, they weren’t my biggest obstacles. Life’s relentless demands invoked ‘tyranny of the urgent’ on me. Normal work and family affairs often forced Celestial to languish at the bottom of my importance ‘totem pole’. By the age of twenty, I became the co-owner and head tap teacher of a dance studio and agreed to custodial duties to help support the new business. As a result, months turned into years. My imagination rehearsed and improved my pre-planned scenes while I mopped tiles and swept carpets. Then, so long as I wasn’t exhausted, I squeezed writing time between spare-able minutes. Sometimes that meant waking up early, staying up late, or doing it during car rides. I truly enjoyed putting Celestial together. Sadly though, the strain as years prolonged did bring me to tears on a few occasions. Depressing questions bombarded me. What if I died or was Raptured before Celestial was done? If no one read it, would all this labor be for nothing? But then God reminded me of the personal changes He was planting in me through this project.
God led me down this path. I never would have picked it for myself. Nor was this because of some latent talent or anything I had to offer, and God’s reasons for picking unqualified people is often for the maturing of the person He picked. Dealing with difficult critique partners tested my lacking self-control and how to handle situations peaceably. Constructive criticisms challenged me to swallow my pride and humbly consider their points, and my tendency to overwork was something I never recognized nor had been confronted with until this endeavor. Eight years of writing Celestial challenged me so much in fact, I can honestly say it was one of God’s most effective tools in shaping me for adulthood and fortifying my faith.
I long admired ancestors of the faith like David and Moses. How often I wondered if I could champion God like they did, I cannot say. Little did I realize then that Celestial was another of many ways God granted my wish. He consistently picks unlikely people like them to reveal Himself as the source of true greatness and to drive them into a greater reliance on Him. What else was I then than among the least qualified, unexpected, and constrained people He could pick to write a book? Thus, Celestial, along with all tasks He’ll ever call me to, will never be a waste—finished or unfinished. The rigors from just learning how to walk enriches me in His ways far more than succeeding itself ever could. No doubt about it. Any journey He directs is always worth it.
Of course, I had no idea how painful the final stretch would be...
[to be continued...]
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