You may recall a not-too-distant time I confessed that I had been pen-slain. If you need a refresher, you can read about it here. I suddenly felt as if I stood before a mirror and my rosy haze of being an author had been stripped away and I was staring at the blemishes in my words, the flaws in my pen, the tinny ring of my sword in the battle for inspiration. It was a sobering moment, that instance wherein I saw my writing for what it was...young, and inexperienced. There is a charm about it, perhaps. The charm of a peasant child who wears a wreath of daisies about her head and sings a little song while she pours tea into a cup for her doll. She little thinks the pretty daisies will wilt and come to nothing by the morning.
I will admit that my writing has not quite been the same since. Puddleby Lane became dull and uninspiring. I do not think it changed at all, but my perception of it changed. I saw that it was a simple, countrified story. And beside some other writers I could name, among them Jenny, the Penslayer herself, it had paled looked dowdy.
I have not made much headway in Puddleby Lane ever since that August morning. It is truly terrible! True, I haven't had much time for writing, having seven younger siblings, a grandmother, an older brother, and two parents to spend time with and take care of. But I have felt my writing inspiration shrink in a drought of self-doubt. It's not a good thing, this self-inflicted Writer's Block...
And so I wanted to admit that I had been fuddy-duddying along and feeling sorry for myself. Sorry that I was not a stunning author, sorry that I did not have the talent to shoot delicious prickles of delight down peoples' spines, sorry that I had the talent I do have instead of the talent I wish I had.
In the past couple of weeks though, I have begun to realize something that makes me rather ashamed of myself. Two things, actually. One, in order to be pen-slain so fiercely, I do believe I had to have thought too much of my own writing in the first place. I was in a blind trough of petty vanity, I believe.
Second, I am disowning a God-given gift when I doubt and disdain the talent He has given me. That is a sober thought indeed. God did not give me the gift He gave Jenny, or the gift He gave C.S. Lewis, or the gift He gave Jane Austen, or the gift He gave to any of you other writers. He gave me the gift it pleased Him to bestow on me. How can I refuse His gift, for if I believe the Bible, [Which I entirely do] it is a good and perfect gift. Of course my writing can always gain a little polish, but it is what I have been given, and what I do with this gift is up to me. And so I wanted to tell you all that I here and now pledge to make the most of the gift I have.
My writing has a simplicity and charm and simple goodness about it that, at least I hope, will never go out of style. It isn't grand or glorious or even stunning. But it is cheering, I think, like a hot summer breeze blowing over a ripe wheat field. There are no ethereal lilies or dazzling star-dust about my words. But there are a few blood red poppies and a quiet green glen hidden somewhere in there. There are peasant children making daisy chains and a baby's laughter, and the singing of a fiddle beneath a weeping willow.
I guess I can sum up the lesson I've learned in a few words:
I have not been given the talent of shaking souls, but perhaps I can touch a heart.