I am in a flurry of productive writing on my second novel. I took typewritten pages to the gym Tuesday night and pedaled away while using a pencil to mark plot ideas as happening early, midway, or late in the story. I was sad to learn that my new Fitbit Flex, a Christmas present, doesn’t count the pedals’ rotations on a stationary bike as “steps” toward my goal of 10,000 per day. Bummer. But the pedaling was good exercise, even if I didn’t get credit for it. Anyway, there wasn’t much else I could do on gym equipment and work on my book at the same time.
My kids and my husband may outstep me this week, but I have to write when the writing is happening. And, boy, is it happening! When I printed all my notes a few days ago, it came to 36 pages. Now it’s 52 and counting.
In the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a would-be inventor played by Dick Van Dyke is having serious problems with every one of his projects: a flame-powered jet-pack that fizzles before launch; a vacuum cleaner that pulls up the entire carpet, not just the dirt; and a batch of hard candy – every piece having little holes that aren’t supposed to be there.
Frustrated after trying to explain his strange-looking machines to an attractive woman, the inventor asks his children, “Do you think your father’s a crackpot? Do you think I’m a lunatic, wasting my time on a lot of silly inventions?”
“But they aren’t silly,” Jemima protests. “They’re wonderful!” And Jeremy points out, “Nobody else could think of them.”
It’s as if a bright light turns on for Caractacus Potts then. “That’s right!” he exclaims. “That is right! Nobody else could think of them!”
When Potts’ confidence is ebbing, that remarkable observation by his son turns low morale into high expectation.
“Nobody else could think of them.” That exactly expresses how I feel about pouring my writing talents into fiction just now. Nobody else could have imagined and written Joan Ryan’s offbeat adventure in the Tennessee mountains, and nobody else could tell the story of her son’s engagement with its unexpected complications (a story that’s just about to get “real good”).
You certainly could argue that there are enough novels being written already – if you are small-minded, that is, and if you would also say there are enough people in the world already, so why does God go on creating amazing, unique, gifted, purpose–filled individuals every day?*
*I think I just accidentally wrote an eloquent pro–life argument!
You could tell me there are plenty of Christian fiction writers out there, established, with skill, talent, and experience, and you could ask me why I aspire to get into that mix, being “no match for the competition.”
Or, you could see that scenario entirely differently, as an open door with kind folks ready to welcome and to mentor – and that’s exactly what you would see if you had access to the encouraging group emails and the personal messages I have received as a new member of ACFW, Association of Christian Fiction Writers.
No, I don’t know if my duo of novel manuscripts will get serious notice in the Christian fiction world or in the broader field of literature. But I do know this: nobody else could think of those stories.
And I know this, too: it is huge fun making up characters and dreaming up what they do and say. It’s entertaining and it’s a great exercise of intellect, imagination, and intentional application of the Bible. It is an immensely-satisfying way of offering my gifts, setting them out in faith for God to use as He sees fit.
That brings me to you. Never forget that God created you amazing, unique, gifted, and purpose-filled. Nobody else could think your thoughts or have your ideas. Nobody else could fill your place! That’s why you’re here.