In this season…

notebook pageI have no story. I sit here now over a year since my last book was published and there simply is no story. I have learned over the last twenty years of writing, some for others, most for myself, that I can’t write separate of inspiration. I have to be captured by a story. Then, once I’m captured I then apply a diligent heart and give a deposit every day.  But today and yesterday, and the day before that there has simply been no story.

In seasons past this would frighten me. You know fear is a gripper. Fear grips our hands, grips our chests, grips the life out of others. Fear grips. And anytime I feel that gripping feeling I know fear is there. And in years past when there has been no book fear has gripped. There is no grip this time.

Maybe because me and Jesus have walked this road before. Seven years ago following my divorce He asked me to walk away to focus on one thing, healing. So, I did. For one year I didn’t write or teach. I simply journaled and healed. Little did I know those journals would become a book. See, He can be so working even in the season we think nothing is happening.

So, this time I have not gripped. I have questioned. “Got anything you want me to write?” Nothing comes. The only thing I’ve felt inspired to do is re-read my Savannah books. I have never done that. But for the last six months on my elliptical time I have reread these gifts God gave me years ago. And yet still nothing comes.

So, I continue the other things I know to do in this season. The other inspired places He leads, tugs, speaks. I am content in this place. I am productive in this place. I am grateful in this place.

Life has seasons. This has been a hard thing for a planning, devoted soul to learn. That change is okay. That God created seasons for nature and for souls. And in this season there is no story. None that I am writing that I know of anyway. Which causes me all the more intrigue to see what He will do next.

What is your season? Inspired? Quiet? Gripping? Psalm 131:2 is one of my favorite verses. “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child at it’s mother’s’ breast is my soul quieted within me.” That is the peace that He offers. That is the peace that I need. What about you?

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A southern girl who loves her family, friends and SEC football. I'm crazy about Jesus, Coca-Cola, Mr. Jones, and my bonus-kids. And I write a few books.

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  1. Julie Cantrell says

    “I am content in this place. I am productive in this place. I am grateful in this place.”
    Sounds like you are exactly where you need to be, Denise. No fear. Be you.

  2. says

    What a lovely post, my friend, and one to which I can so relate. The past five years were a place of “no story” for me – a place where He had me helping with others’ stories in development and publishing and production and promotion, but He hadn’t gifted me with another story to explore. I’d try to write and get nowhere. I’d read those words from other writers about just writing, even if there is no inspiration or idea, and I’d feel like a failure. Five novels in 2.5 years that sold well and then, bupkus.

    But lessons came in that time. Maturity. Understanding. Grace. Insight. Knowledge. Relationships. Skill. He stretched me into writing a screenplay for a TV pilot last year, but the novel side of the project didn’t flow. I struggled. Was I finished writing books? Really? When He finally gave me a new story this year (FIRST BLUSH), the excitement and gratitude I felt were above and beyond what I’d experienced in the flurry of my previous novel writing. I settled in to enjoy the writing process, to accept and soak in the contentment of fingers to keys, story growing on a screen.

    It’s a small tale, a little novella. Unlike with my previous crazy release schedule, I have the time to read reviewers’ words and ponder them while I wait for Him to grant what’s next. He’s begun – a snippet here, a thought there. Unlike before, I now wait with the blessed assurance that, in His time, He gives story. Until then, He has given work for my hands and food for my thoughts.

    I hope you continue to enjoy your writing rest, precious woman of God. The words you’ve already given us are exceptional.

    • says

      Thank you my precious and faithful friend. And for the sweet reminder that He has gifted each of us differently. But my how He has used you in these past few years to impact, challenge and encourage so many. You are a treasure to my heart and part of my best memories…

  3. says

    Beautifully said, Denise, and I think we’ve all been in your shoes! At the moment I’m in the season of creativity. Ideas are coming almost too fast for me to handle. But when I am in the place you are right now, and it goes on too long, I go to an art museum or a concert. This never fails to get my mind moving again in creative ways.

    • says

      I love that Amy…those places that stir our soul. I find mine getting most stirred with the flurry of teenage activity…But I say I can’t write those stories until they are gone:)

  4. says

    Rest in the place where you are, Denise, and we will be waiting to read whenever the Lord pours another story through you. I’m proud of your diligence in pursuing His will for your life, rather than trying to fit it into your mold. This is a great challenge to me. Thank you for that, friend. Much love, jo

    • says

      Thank you for the confirmation and affirmation. Some days I feel more Thomas and Peter than Abraham or Moses…Thankful God met them right where they are as well…

  5. Lisa Wingate says

    Fear is so often the enemy of the journey — it makes us react instead of acting. it’s so good that you’ve set fear aside to enjoy this season as it comes, embracing all that the season holds. God is planting for a new and beautiful harvest.

    Blessings on this season, Denise.


  6. says

    What? Do you girls read my mind before sitting down to write your posts? I’m astounded at how often I feel your words were put together just for me.

    I’m about to enter the weeks leading up to a book release, life is hectic with trials and tribulations, marketing demands are pushing at me, another book deadline looms….and you entice me with “quiet of soul.” Made me shut my Mac Pro down and ponder the sentiment you expressed. Talked to Jesus about what you said. Then, I took a deep breath, opened my computer and proceeded with a changed spirit.

    Thank you, Denise.

  7. Jackie Smith says

    Denise, I love this post! As Rebeca said, the words you have already given us are exceptional! Since you joined this blog, I have been reading your books. Loved them all and am inspired and blessed by them.

    Enjoy your season….we will patiently wait for your next book!!

    • says

      Thank you so much Jackie…I too look forward to what He might decide to say next. Just grateful He can use a vessel so broken to accomplish that. Of course, the breaking is what allows Him to leak out. Even as crazy southern people:)

  8. says

    “When I cannot write a poem, I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased.” -Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea ~ Praying you feel satisfaction in the other creative work the Lord has for you right now and that He brings you back to the page at just the right time, with just the right story. Love you!

  9. Nicole Seitz says

    Denise, I understand exactly what you’re describing about not having a story. I’ve learned that when I don’t have a story to write, the story is actually happening…to me. Sometimes we just need to live in the real world in the here and now and Storyworld will come when there’s time to reflect. Remember that your identity is not wrapped up in being an author. It’s simply in being God’s child (who occasionally writes great books!).

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