So as you may know, I’ve got some big plans for this fall, mainly starting a complete rewrite of my main novel, Machine. I first wrote about this announcement in March, but even in that amount of time, a lot has changed. Some of that is tied to the rewrite itself, where I think the story is going to go or what I think it’s about, but I’ve also had more time to think about what that really means, and some of the hopes and fears that I have wrapped up in that.
In the interest of honesty, here’s what they are.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on these, but I think it’s only fair to admit that leaping into this is scary. There are a lot of reasons for this, many of which are tied up in the usual writer fears of not being good enough or failing.
More at the crux of the issue though is how this all relates to my relationship with God. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, whether or not He likes Machine, whether He wants it to succeed, if He sees value in it at all.
I’ve also, for various reasons, really struggled in being willing to surrender Machine. And I’m glad that I’m at that point now (or at least a lot closer), but it also brings up a slew of new anxieties. Did I wait too long to surrender it? Do I need to let it die? How do I even write this new book with God guiding my hand?
What’s nice about most of these is that I can recognize how silly they are. Better yet, I’ve been getting better at, you know, actually talking to God about them, and have been greatly encouraged as a result. I’m still a little worried I’ll fail, that I may never be good enough, but I’m also learning to restructure how I think about failure, what it is, and I know that above all, I’ll never know unless I try.
So now that that’s out of the way…
My biggest hope for this is to create something with God.
It’s not as though I’ve never done that before, but opening myself up with Machine, well, it’s definitely going to be different. And while that’s a little scary, it’s also thrilling, and I can’t wait to see what God does.
I’m excited to invite Him into what is probably one of the most intimate and precious areas of my life. I’m excited to see what He has to say, and the beauty and wonder that’s going to result.
I’m excited to see what Machine has always been meant to be. I’m excited to approach it with a renewed attitude, to see what Rick and Cog were always meant to become, what the backbone of the story, the skeleton, is really meant to be.
I’m excited to research and study and puzzle out the works of the world. I’m excited to lay down the foundation, hammer out frameworks and structure. Even things like government, education, medicine, the military. I’m excited to go exploring and see what God and I figure out.
I am hopeful to have this book vastly improved, to work out so many of the kinks that have plagued it for so long. I’m excited to smooth out transitions, fill in plot holes, iron out wrinkles. I am hopeful to come up against struggles and excited to work my way through them.
I am hopeful to end up with a book I can market, one that I could sell.
I am hopeful to see Rick and Cog healed and made whole, to see their stories as they truly are.
I’ve had a couple of encouragements in these areas as I’ve been talking to God about them. The first was a mental picture I had, two outstretched hands with Cog in their palms. He looked somewhere between a new toy and a baby version of himself, something reborn.
The second was a phrase that ran through my head the other day, “Papa, tell me a story.” It’s a massive shift in attitude, a surrender, and a plea. I believe that God will answer.
A note on failure
Hopes aside, I would like to make a couple of things clear.
Mainly, that just because I am excited and because I do think I have the go-ahead from God does not make me certain that this will mean Machine will be a success. Part of restructuring how I feel about failure has also included retooling what I consider success. And it’s possible that for all of my hard work, for all of the years I have sunk into this project, it still might not pan out. It may never be good enough to be published, and if it is, it may not ever make money.
But hopefully it will mean getting closer to God, better learning to hear His voice, processing through His timing, His will, His goals and work in my life. I do hope Machine will be commercially successful someday, I wish that for all of my books, but I am also willing to admit that it might not be in God’s will or that His timing may not (probably won’t) match mine. So whatever happens, I want to express gratitude for God, all He’s done in my life, and all He will do with Machine and everything else. Thank you, God.
So, what about you? Have you ever had to completely tear down a creative project and start over? Something else? What were your hopes and fears, and did any of them come true? If you have tips or stories, tell me in the comments below!