In the world, seeing is believing, but, in my faith, believing is seeing. You come to a place where you say, Yes, I will put my heart here. Then a new reality, new truths are seen from this new vantage point. Like trying to see the lay of the land, then climbing a mountain and marveling as it all comes into view. Very much a journey.
I don’t share this that you should join my church – though, you’re welcome – but that you might consider your writer’s journey much the same. From the view of a person of faith. Your faith.
You see your writing, your dreams. They are a seed within you, one that looks nothing like the end product quite frankly. But it is yours, and you say, Yes, I will put my heart here. And you work, and you sacrifice, and you believe. And, slowly, that seed begins to grow. For the longest time, only you will be able to see the shifts and changes, the little sprouts peeking from the shell. Yet, you are encouraged. This seed may yet bear fruit.
I have watched this process on my own for years, and I’ve let precious few in to see how radically different it has become. How much growth!
But sometimes I forget. I forget not everyone sees. Sees the growth. Sees my vision for the future that I am cultivating my dream towards day in and day out.
I went to a family dinner earlier this season. A reunion of types that only happens once a year or so. I see relatives that I have not seen in that time, and we enjoy each other’s company and have light conversation about what is going on in our lives.
I am abysmal at light conversation, and feel like I am dying slowly when forced to engage in it for too long. Anyway, at one point I was asked how I was doing. I eschewed the pat answer, “Oh, very well, thank you. The kids yadda, yadda, yadda.” Rather, I opened the door on the project I was working on. Just a crack. I had shared some of the ideas with a few others, and they had reacted favorably. I was encouraged, so I was being a bit more transparent of late.
My relative listened for a long moment about the writing, then said in some surprise, “Oh. You’re still doing that.” She gave me perfunctory cuff to the shoulder and a tight smile. “Well, good for you!” Then she promptly turned to converse with someone else.
Years ago, that encounter would have left me quite upset. In fact, many like it did. This, after all, was the same relative I felt the need to slam a 400 page completed draft in front of upon finishing the first draft of my first book. A terrible book, but a big, terrible book. It was satisfyingly heavy to slam in front of someone. Anyway, given past history, I can’t say her reaction of late was so very surprising. Still, it is disheartening when the people who should see you don’t. When they don’t give you the benefit of the doubt. When they dismiss as fancy something you are quite serious about.
It happens to us who carry dreams. So it happens to everyone.
In this instance, I just smiled as I watched her turn away. I gave a sigh, a shake of the head and went back to chatting with my mother. (She was later outraged at my relative’s lack of faith. It was very gratifying, albeit unnecessary.) The difference between my recent quiet smile and slamming a draft down as proof of my sincerity years ago?
I hadn’t spent as much time nurturing the seed back then. I myself didn’t even know if it would grow. I certainly couldn’t make room for another’s doubt. All I had was that initial belief.
Since then, believing has given way to seeing. I’ve seen the growth. I know it’s coming along. I’m coming along. Other people’s doubts don’t mean much to me now, as I have watched so many of mine be put to rest.
Can I do this? Yes. Can I learn enough, become the writer I want to be? Yes. With time. Can I come up with good ideas? Can I get what’s in my head to transfer to the page? Yes and yes. Will anybody like it? I think so. I believe so. I’ll see.
Believing comes before seeing.