A Facebook message popped in my inbox the other day, and it was similar to hundreds of messages, emails, and texts that I have received over the years.
“I want to write a book, but where do I begin?”
The woman in my inbox was an acquaintance from high school. She had been through a lot in life and had come out on the other side to find healing and wholeness, thanks be to God. And now, she felt led to write a book about all that she’d learned along the way and wondered if I, as a book author myself, had advice on how to begin.
My answer to her was the same answer I give everyone.
I congratulated her on coming this far, and for sharing her dream with another human person. That’s no small thing.
Second, I answered her question about beginnings.
“You begin, by committing to the beginnings of things. You start writing that book . . . by starting to write that book. More often than not those early words will not be as eloquent as you’d like them to be. But don’t worry about beauty at first. Concern yourself with telling the truth.”
That’s the good news I share with writers — that beginning is easier than it seems. The not-so-good news is this:
It’s not the beginning that’s hard. It’s the keeping-at-it part that’s hard.
One oft-quoted statistic says up to 97 percent of the people who start writing books never finish.
There are reasons: a new season of life or time constraints, for instance. The will to keep going disappeared because of obstacles along the way.
Maybe that sounds familiar to you right now — and not just for aspiring authors. There’s a brand new week right around the corner, and some of you have a pocketful of dreams and plans, but something might try to stop you from taking the next step.
Maybe it’s fear of failure, possible rejection, time, or some other uncertainty.
But what if you decided that this was the week you’d take one small step toward progress? It could be a way of saying, “This is important. My dreams are important. My ideas have value.”
You may think you’re too old or too young, that people won’t understand the dream you carry in your heart, or that it’s too difficult because there are no blueprints for how to build what you feel led to build.
The author of Hebrews has some encouragement for you, by offering a way to move forward with perseverance.
. . . start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)
These verses were a rousing call to early Christians to persevere. The call relates to our faith, of course, but it’s also a reminder to keep moving forward with the hopes and dreams that He has placed inside of us.
When I want to give up, those verses in Hebrews encourage me to replay the story of Jesus in my mind, like a rallying cry to keep going anyway.
Some years ago, I read a story in a book called Die Empty by Todd Henry. In the book, the author recalls a story in which his friend asked this question at a meeting: “What do you think is the most valuable land in the world?”
Several people made their guesses: Manhattan. The gold mines of South Africa. The oil fields of the Middle East.
But the friend said that all those answers were wrong. He said that the most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard are buried all the unwritten novels, businesses that never launched, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, “I’ll get around to that tomorrow.”
Well one day, their tomorrows ran out.
Let’s not go to bed tonight ignoring the dreams and ideas that God has given us. Let’s not contribute to the value of the land in the graveyard.
Let’s pull a dream out of our pockets and take the next step toward seeing it unfold.
It’s time to dream that dream again.Leave a Comment
Ruth Mills says
There’s a towel being sold at a local shop that says something to the effect of ‘Live so fully that when you arrive at the pearly gates you declare Whew what a ride!’. Allowing God to set & enable our dreams we will not be leaving anything left unaccomplished. His plans are higher than ours is a mind boggling truth & comfort. Gives strength to each beginning step! Thank you for sharing this encouragement, Jennifer.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
I love your reminder to allow God to set and enable our dreams. That’s inspiring and affirming … AND TRUE! Thanks, Ruth! – Jennifer Dukes Lee
Bonnie Hirschler says
Remarkable – that’s who God is. This morning I will start an on-line writing course. My daughter Donna and my friend Cathy will be joining me. I have been getting anxious about the course and if I can accomplish anything worthwhile. God reached me with this message this morning = I thank God for His reaching out to me in areas that I never expected…
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
You already made the first important choice: to begin. Praying now that God infuses you with the passion and desire to move through each stage of the process so that you can arrive at the end with the satisfaction of a job well done. Congratulations to you on your course, Bonnie.
This is wonderful! So inspiring! Thank you for writing it!
Inspiration and introspection. Written simply and beautifully. Thank you for the encouragement.
Terry Law says
Great (in)couragement! Thanks so much.
Lynn Pierce says
I love this message. To begin is to begin. To keep going is the choice each day.
I just listened to Your Tuesday Teaching for Hopewriters this week. I am near the beginning but excited at how far God has brought me already.
Thank you for your encouragement.
Beth Williams says
Never ignore those dreams God places on your heart. I once heard a person tell someone that she was to old to go to Law school. It would take to long. The other person said how long will it take you? Seven years was the reply. How old will you be in seven years? 42. You can be 42 & have a law degree or just be 42. With God nothing is impossible. If He placed the dreams in your heart then He will help you accomplish them. Just pray hard & seek His advice. Never ever ignore those dreams God gives you.
Angela Aiken says
I had a dream about me and my cuzin. It was like we were coming from across the street from where we live. As I looked back there was a lot of men running behind us. They had guns and Richard and I was running real fast. The men kept coming. I stopped bcaz I was tired and Richard said come on they r going to kill us. So I told Richard let’s go to the creek. As we got near I saw this big beautiful boat. I told him let’s get on. And as soon as we got on the men began shooting at us. I said at least we r safe for now. We didn’t know who the boat belonged to but we were on it. As the men got closer the water began to rise and the men were still coming but they drowned from the high water. Then a lady came for me and a man for Richard. They gave us a bath bcaz we were muddy. After that we were fed the best food that anyone could have.