Friday, 26 September 2014

Staying the Course

Photo courtesy of arztsamui/

My church is currently working through a series that goes by the title of this post: “Staying the Course.” It’s a series of teachings aimed at providing some practical wisdom to persevering, to keep running the race.
This past Sunday, we had a guest Sy Rogers share his thoughts on the topic. As an aside, if you haven’t heard Sy speak do check him out. Besides having a fabulous personal salvation story that has framed much of his thirty-year ministry he is tremendously engaging and entertaining.
Sy emphasised the importance of understanding God’s character and highlighted the point that He is deliberately mysterious. This trait often causes us much frustration. “Why don’t you just tell me what to do, Lord?”
But it’s in the mystery where we find faith. Yes, God first pursues us but He too desires we pursue Him.
“Pursuit is the proof of your desire; you’ll never possess what you don’t pursue.”
Stay in the Pool
This topic made me reflect on the writing life. In fact, we really can relate it to most things: friendships, marriage, career, vocations, etc. When I wrote Angelguard I was continuously amazed how when I set out on most days I really didn’t know what I was going to write. (Yes, I’m a pantser). However, once I sat down at the computer, the characters would take over and that daily word limit would soon be complete.
That hasn’t been my experience second time round. I was relating this with another author the other day. Jim’s working on his seventh novel and he laughed at my comment and expressed he was experiencing the same even though he’d done it six times previously. He then proceeded to mention a similar conversation he’d had with another prolific author, who said even though he’d written in excess of thirty novels, he was finding the latest one the toughest yet.
I took great encouragement from that brief exchange.
One thing I’m absolutely sure of with both of those authors is, even though it’s tough going now, they’ll persevere and get the novel done. They’ll finish the race.
They will turn up every day.
We’ve all read the quotes about not waiting for inspiration before we sit down to create. The inspiration comes out of the work. The Holy Spirit has no one to guide if we’re not playing our part by turning up.
“You’ve just got to stay in the pool longer than the others.”
Michael Phelps, the champion swimmer, spoke those words. Don’t you just love that? One of the greatest swimmers of all time attributed his achievements to that work ethic.
The Christian walk is like that. We often go through a slump simply because we haven’t spent enough time in the pool with God. Life gets even busier, stuff happens; you know the drill.
And what about that manuscript, yes, Ian what about that manuscript? Have we spent too much time writing blog posts, reading another book on how to be a bestseller or getting lost down some research maze?

Keep turning up to write. God’s waiting for you and is ready to create some magic with you.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Great advice. Sometimes it can be hard to stay in the pool, so to speak. One reason I love challenges as there is a group encouraging you to hang in there.

    1. Hi Melissa, yes walking the writer's journey (heck, any journey really) is pretty tough without others to support, encourage and, if need be, give the occasional kick up the butt.

      Thanks for popping by.

  2. Thanks, Ian--an important challenge to hear. And keep going with that next book of yours--I'm glad those authors with lots of books out there inspired you in that regard. I found my second memoir a bit of a challenge to keep working on this past year but persevered and am waiting to see what my manuscript readers think of it. But I am looking forward to starting a new novel soon! I think sometimes it can be a bit daunting to persevere with that next book because we now know all the work and angst involved in the whole project. Also, we have probably learnt more about writing and what we should and shouldn't do in those novels in particular--and that can make us a little more cautious. So I think we have to continue to write what's on our hearts and tap into God's heart in the process, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and encourage us to stay that course.

    1. Thanks Jo-Anne. You're right about knowing more and the implicit burden (?) that can add to the process. I specifically changed my approach this second time round hoping to reduce the amount of time but find now that I've reverted back to the previous approach which in fact feels more comfortable.

      And yes, relying on the Spirit is so essential.

      Wishing you well with your MS readers and the new novel.

  3. Thanks Ian. A good nudge about being involved in too many blogs etc. I have the beginnings of a novel asking me to DO SOMETHING with it! I've pulled out of Linked In as what's the point of doing extra stuff when you can't do what you want to do?

    1. Rita, I haven't quite worked out how to utilise LinkedIn with my writing career. Yes, for my Corporate one, but writing, not sure.

      Thanks for your encouragement as always.

  4. Great encouragement to end our week on. Thanks so much, Ian. :)

    "Keep turning up to write."
    Can we make that our theme song??

    1. Dotti - happy for you to keep reminding me.


  5. Ian, great post! I've been challenged to really think about the writing-related activities that take time away from creating. It's way too easy to say yes when we should say no, and spread ourselves too thin. And, I've also been challenged to not buy into the guilt that we should be doing certain things. At the end of the day it's what God thinks that matters, and we need to hold onto our integrity as we make choices on how we spend our time. Creating, and turning up each day to write, needs to be one of my priorities.

    1. Narelle, you summed it up perfectly. Yes, we can get carried away with all the other stuff (that are all good things) but we need to always come back to what the Lord calls us to do: write!

      But gee, you've done a great job of writing this past year having churned out 6 novels. Just amazing. You should be very proud because your ACW family sure are.

  6. Thanks for the good reminder for us all, Ian. Yes, lets all stay in the pool.

  7. Such an encouraging post, Ian, one I relate to very well! My first book was a breeze to write. The second? A marathon. I feel much better knowing other writers, even the experienced ones, find it hard to stay on target too. Ah well - time to jump back in the pool :)