"" Writer's Wanderings: Striking Arrows

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Striking Arrows

Being a Sunday school teacher teaches me more than those in my class. God always seems to prepare a lesson for what I need each week.

Last week, our topic was doubt (Chapter 10 of Committed But Flawed by Cec Murphey). I began to read through the chapter right after I received my latest rejection of a piece of work I felt had real promise.

It's easy to let doubt creep in when you're discouraged. When you are a writer, you have to continually step out and offer your work and be ready to hear "no thanks"--a lot. It doesn't make it easier to know that. Sometimes a written piece is offered multiple times--5, 10, 20, 30--before it finds publication. When you get discouraged, you want to stop after 2 or 3.

Our scripture verse this week led us to King Jehoash who went to Elisha just as the prophet was about to die. Elisha had the King shoot an arrow out the window and told him that represented the victory God would give him. Then he told the king to take the rest of the arrows and strike them on the ground. The kind did so--3 times.

Elisha got angry. "Why only three times? You should have struck them five or six times more."
It turned out that each strike would be a victory and King Jehoash could have won many more times if he had struck with his arrows again and again instead of stopping so soon.

There may not be a direct correlation--I don't consider editors or agents the enemy--but if I quit offering my writing after only 2 or 3 tries, I will never know the victory God has in store.

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