For me, this tree a few kilometres from our house stands out as a never ending sentinel to the changing seasons here in our corner of beautiful Tasmania. There are a few other trees further along the road that change also with the seasons but this one just stands out to me as we drive past. Even though most days we are still enjoying warm sun, right now the leaves are showing the signs of cold nights, warning that our winter of short sunlit days and freezing winds are on well on their way.
Yesterday was our ANZAC day of remembering soldiers of Australian and New Zealand forces who lost their lives for us to be able to live in peace and freedom. So many stories told by returned soldiers over the years. We pause and remember, listen to stories on the radio. We watch T.V. news of ceremonies and dawn services all over Australia - and Gallipoli. We watch documentaries about past wars, past stories of individuals. We read stories of tragedy, of triumphs, of loss and grief.
Today I realised anew how many young men and women have gone through that terrible season of their lives in too many wars.
And what about writers? Sometimes writers do feel they are in a different kind of “war”.
Recently I have been pondering on the different “writer seasons” I have been on during the last forty-two years. Or has it been an even longer journey than that?
And what season did it all commence for me? Winter? Spring? Summer? Autumn? I have to be honest and say I personally am not quite sure. I have always enjoyed “writing” in some form or other from letters to the diaries I started when I was fourteen years old. I’ve shared many times how my husband read them and challenged me about having a talent for writing. See my website by clicking here.
But what can I call the season when I actually decided to try and write that first novel, decided to try and become “A Published Writer”? Some might say it was in the hot days of summer I started to study Fiction Writing and eventually began that first fiction manuscript. However, autumn soon followed with the desire growing cooler as I discovered it was no easy task to keep writing, keep persevering until I could write The End.
The heat of excitement and anticipation of receiving a publisher’s contract soon turned to those cold, icy days of reality – rejection letters in a winter season.
My tree loses its leaves in winter. The branches become bare. The wind lashes it but the roots are deep in the soil. Although we cannot see it, winter is the busiest time for that tree. It is being nourished deep within the earth so the green shoots can one day burst forth.
And so the seeming winter season for a writer should also be the time of digging deep, of learning, of being nourished both physically as well as in the things that build the writer’s own character. There is still so much to be aware of, to know about a writing career in readiness for the seasons still ahead:
How and where to submit that manuscript.
How to cope with rejections.
How to re-write and re-write and re-write.
For me it is still about learning more about telling a page turning story, the structure of a novel, grammar and punctuation(Ouch!) All the time learning, growing as a dedicated writer both physically and spiritually.
My tree is also the first on that road to show that faint hint of green. Spring, new life and hope, is on the way.
Spring for the writer may include those “light bulb” moments when something read or told about the craft of writing fiction becomes understandable, doable. Green leaves start to replace the seeming barrenness. Hope grows stronger as I persevere.
Then when fully developed in its summer growth, the manuscript finds an editor who likes it. It is published at last. Great rejoicing. But then the next season hovers once more. Hopefully this autumn is shorter than that first one, but there will be readers who did not like my precious baby. Reviews are not always as glowing as you would like.
At the same time the next manuscript is already being written. Perhaps as autumn begins to colour the leaves, there are problems with the plot, the characters won’t behave. Winter is closing in again but I must remember that difficult season is all part of the writer’s life, the continuing learning curve. It should still be used to bring new strength, new nourishment ready for the excitement of spring and the heat of summer.
The scriptures remind me, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
God knows the season I am in right now. He knows the season you are in. The most wonderful thing to be sure of is that no matter what the season my life is at any time, God is there. He never changes. His love and mercy endures for ever!
And so as autumn fades into winter, I continue to cling to Him through all the seasons for strength and wisdom.
And keep writing!