The other day while I was reading and proofing a manuscript for a lovely Christian writer, the penny finally dropped for me as to the one true theme of the book. It’s a fabulous book and I shall be posting a review on my website on July 10th when it is due to be released. Yes, there are many themes and thoughts running throughout this particular book, however, the theme that struck me the most, was that of control. Control of us by others, our resulting actions, and our desire to self-control and have control of every moment and detail of our earthly lives. I guess it is only human, but if we truly know God, we should know and accept that He has ultimate and complete control over everything. We just need to trust, and that can be extremely difficult.
Some weeks ago now, there was a disaster at the Griffiths’ residence. A nasty old Ransom Malware worm accessed my computer via my website. I know I should have been more cautious when opening an article on a ‘likers’ website and I should have unplugged the external hard drive before proceeding. I definitely should have copied important files to a USB flash drive; however, I’ve previously been misplacing these pesky little things. Trust me, quite a few changes will be taking place within my writing space.
· Always back up, but unplug external drive when not backing up.
· Use those USB flash drives, label them, and store them in the safe.
· Be super cautious about what I open up on the internet. Just because someone ‘liked’ one of my posts does not mean that they are a friendly source. I’m afraid my human pride and my annoying curiosity let me down here. ‘Oh wow! Another person likes what I am writing!’
The point is that I thought I had good control over what I was doing. I promised myself that I’d finish my first draft of ‘Charlie Dreams’ by the end of May this year. I did it. I finished before my deadline at the beginning of May. After approximately three years of writing on and off on this particular project, scraping some and writing more, I came up with 80,000 beautiful words (or so I thought and still do), ready to go through their first edit.
Ah, the agony of the edit. Killing off many of my darlings, correcting my grammar mistakes and other typos. I don’t know who would have cried the hardest, me or those beautiful words. Over those three years I wrote somewhere between three hundred and fifty and four hundred thousand words. Many darlings had to be executed, but what if every last darling word was gone? What if I was faced with a blank screen, with all my hard work just a memory? Well that’s kind of what happened to me. 'Charlie Dreams is lost in cyberspace ... gone forever, unless I start the whole process again. I spent a couple of weeks mourning my loss, crying, stamping my feet, sitting in my armchair sulking, vowing that I would never write again.
Slowly I began to reason through the situation. After all, this was so much my own fault. I could either sulk forever, or perhaps begin again, using the gifts that God has generously bestowed upon me. You’ll be happy to hear that I have chosen the latter.
Now about that little word, control … try as we might to control all things us, we never have complete control – only God has that. He told me. He warned me. I heard those soft, patient words inside my stubborn head which said ‘Back up properly, keep everything safe, print off a hard copy and lock it in the filing cabinet. You never know what may happen, but I do, so be careful and wise.’ Did I listen? Well obviously I did not! Will I listen in the future? Definitely! I am already listening. Our desktop computer and my laptop are having a well-earned vacation with the computer technician/engineer (aka my beloved step-son, Brad). As you read this, I am working on hubby’s (aka HoneyBun) laptop, with strict instructions not to even think about putting anything on his laptop. This is all going directly to a flash drive which is labelled and will go into a snap-lock bag near my work space, with a duplicate in my safe. Next time I have so many words to share, I will go straight to Office Works and let them print out a hard copy, and bind it for me.
As mere humans it is natural to want control, especially if we have been through some traumas in life. We yearn to have that control over something. I know myself that I have been through stages in my life where others controlled and manipulated me. Feeling powerless and useless is very debilitating. However, although we are not useless or stupid, because we were wonderfully made, with a purpose, we don’t need to have control of everything because He always has our back. Always has everything sorted ahead of time. He knows why things happen the way they do. Which leads me to another question. ‘Why am I writing, and who for? What does He want me to write?’ You know, if I never wrote another word, He would always know and appreciate what I had written, because nothing is lost in His realm.
Some good news now! I did manage to find my synopsis for ‘Charlie Dreams’ and one short chapter. It is a beginning! Also I have signed up for ‘July Camp NaNoWriMo’ which began on Saturday July 1st. I have made a slow start, but it is a start. One cannot edit or proofread a blank page 😏
So, what have I gained from this experience as a writer? Apart from the need to be more careful and organised, I’ve truly realised the need to have faith, and trust the One who loves me the most.
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." ~ Maya Angelou
Who am I writing for? That’s easy, God of course. Everything I do each day is for Him, and I know He’s smiling down upon me even when I make mistakes.
What about you? Did you ever have such a moment when you realised that all things were really beyond your control? I hope you did because it is both humbling and empowering. Yes, we do have free will … that is a gift, but beyond that we must trust.
Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear of your experiences. In particular, how did you regain the courage to begin again, whatever it was that you were working on.