Pilgrim Shares Thoughts about the Successful Writing Journey

Dennis Brooke memeBy Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference

What does your writing journey have in common with a 500-mile pilgrimage?

This spring, former NCWA president Dennis Brooke, along with his wife Laurie, set out to walk the entire length of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (the Way of St. James), a network of routes across Europe that leads to the town of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Since the Middle Ages, Christians have made the pilgrimage to visit the tomb of St. James the Apostle.

While in León, Spain, just as the 2016 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference was about to get underway, Dennis recorded a 3½ minute video to share with us key similarities he notes between being a successful writer and preparing for a Camino de Santiago trek.

Dennis is the author of the speculative novel The Last Apostle. While on pilgrimage, he’s finding plenty of opportunities to research his next novel, Thomas the Brave. You can connect with Dennis and Laurie at www.WorldRovers.com.

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Diana SavageDianaSavage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and is coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym. Their latest coauthored book, Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects, will be released in August by Bold Vision Books.

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Victoriously Persistent

Jan Cline encourages NCWA in our writing journey.

My husband and I stayed in Lewiston, Idaho recently. We drove down the Snake River along the Washington side, heading toward Hell’s Canyon. The farther we traveled, the more interesting the terrain. I couldn’t help but notice the tenaciousness of the river—carving its way through the canyon with determination. There is something about nature that teaches us truths for our lives, our dreams and ambitions, don’t you think?

I was reminded of a quote by Oswald Chambers:

“A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river…”

Isn’t this true of our writing journey? Our imagination births an idea and we write it. But the path we take after that is sometimes daunting. We flow along, winding down the canyon until we meet an obstacle. It may be a manuscript rejection or a harsh critique, or a disappointing reaction from a loved one who read our latest masterpiece. That boulder of discouragement looks like it will block our path—dam up the whole process.

Then we find a way around the obstruction by learning from the rejections, critiques and emotions. We keep going, making our way to the ocean of our dreams. Our mission is to become like the river—undaunted by the obstacle. The twists and turns we make are part of the path we are meant to follow, even when we don’t know which direction we’ll go next.

I never could have imagined that I would detour my writing journey to become founder and director of a writers conference. It was a bend in the river that took me by surprise. But I knew it was my chance to facilitate other writers to fulfill their dreams. My personal journey has profited in the process as well. The most important lesson I have learned along the way is that God will often place boulders in our path. At first they look like barriers or stop signs. But after prayerful consideration, we may find they are merely tests of faith. We are stronger for having accepted them as part of the flow of our journey. Our writing is better because we have pressed on.

I hope you’ll imagine yourself to be a river of words and imagination. Don’t let the obstacles become barriers. Find your path around them and stay on the journey. The ocean is waiting to be fed.

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Photo of Snake River by Northwest Voyageurs. Used by kind permission.

Jan is a freelance writer, aspiring author and speaker from Spokane. She has been a member of NCWA since 2010 and  is director of the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference held in March each year. She writes Inspirational Historical Romance and non-fiction. Visit her website at www.jancline.net. The conference website is www.inlandnwchristianwriters.com.