Life on the Ledge, or Leaning on the Lord?

Have you ever read a blog post that reached deep into your innermost being and begged for a comment, one that flew from your fingertips and ended up being a novella you were almost afraid to post because you didn’t want to appear rude for taking up so much space?

That happened to me when I read “How Do I Achieve Success as a Writer?” by Beth Vogt on her awesome blog, in which she talked about writers and how the writing road is lined with ledges. I posted the comment anyhow because I know and love Beth and knew she’d graciously accept my wordiness.

Since I lived on the ledge for several months this past year and survived that tough time, I want to share my experience with you and pass on the lessons I learned. What follows is my comment from Beth’s blog. (I told you it was l-o-n-g for a comment.)

I suffered a debilitating case of Second Book Syndrome earlier this year. I felt sure what I was writing was drivel or dreck or downright disgusting. My supportive hubby and awesome CPs held my hand as I teetered on the Ledge.

In time I realized there was no way to deal with Second Book Syndrome other than to trudge through it, so I wrote the story, such as it was, sure it was terrible. And I prayed, surrendering my efforts and the outcome to the God.

Guess what? He’s faithful and omnipresent, coming alongside me in my down times. No surprise there, huh? :-)

I wrote, but I wasn’t alone. The Lord plopped Himself beside me on the Ledge, ready to stay the course, and imbued me with renewed enthusiasm, energy, and ideas.

Gradually my confidence returned–in baby steps, mind–and when I looked up one day I discovered I was no longer languishing at the edge of the Ledge. It loomed in the distance, but as I kept my focus on the story I’d been transported to a new place, a better place.

Did I still feel the fears at times? Yup. But I wrote anyway, and the Lord honored my efforts. I finished the story, performed my self-edits, and will be sending it to my CPs soon.

When I delved into the finished story, sure it stank and eager to seek ways to improve it, I had a pleasant surprise. It was better than I’d thought.

Oh, I could claim creative brilliance, but that would be a laugh. I know the real reasons.

One is that my talent didn’t leave me; only my confidence did.

The other more important reason is that I tapped into the Source of my creativity and inspiration. I invited the Lord to be my partner on my writing journey at the outset some six years ago, and He’s been there for me all along.

With God beside me I can do this–even face the Ledge–because He’s there with me, upholding and uplifting me and blowing my mind with His goodness, guidance, generosity, and abundant love.

• • •

Have you lived on the Ledge? How did you respond? What lessons did you learn?


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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13 Responses to Life on the Ledge, or Leaning on the Lord?

  1. Gillian says:

    Such a beautiful and important message. He’s always there; I know when I feel alone and worried, it’s because I’ve forgotten to reach out and accept His guidance and comfort.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I know this second work will shine! 🙂

  2. Wendy says:

    I fight that fear every time I sit to edit. The writing frees me, the editing scares me, but I’m learning to overcome that.
    ~ Wendy

  3. This was lovely, Keli! And I think that all writers can identify with living life on the ledge at one time or another. Thanks for your honesty and for giving us the courage and motivation to keep pressing on!

  4. This is beautiful and true and something I definitely needed to read this morning! Thanks for sharing this, Keli!

  5. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Thank you for sharing this today, Keli! I just faced this with my current WIP, and it’s…well, not my second or even third or fourth novel. I’ve written so many but for some reason this one felt extra important and extra special and all the sudden it didn’t seem like I was capable of doing it. It even took me longer than normal. Pressing on is hard sometimes, persevering sounds good in theory but actually seeing it through takes more than just saying “I can do it!” God definitely helped me through, and so did my critique partners. And yay, I finished this WIP last night 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Congratulations on reaching The End, Cindy! I hope you did something to celebrate.

      Kudos to you on pushing through even when that was hard to do.

  6. I too have read posts that triggered something deep in me. I call that God’s way of speaking to me through others. 🙂 And this post was one of those. I’ve been having a rough time starting my sequel. I’m in love with my first heroine and hero. I’ve had years to grow and mold them. I’m having trouble feeling as attached to my new heroine, and if I’m having trouble, then readers will have trouble, and…… you see where I’m going. So, it’s time to remember God on the ledge and time to get off. Thanks!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      I’m sorry it’s rough right now, Melissa, but I trust you’ll hit your stride. This is a busy season with so many to-do’s and distractions. Once the busyness subsides you may well find that your story begins to flow effortlessly. That’s my wish for you.

  7. I needed this today. It seems like I’m living on a ledge right now, and I don’t even have a book published yet, lol. It seems like discouragement is attacking me from every angle. I give it to the Lord and refuse to quit, but it’s not been smooth sailing — especially this Christmas. Thanks for sharing, Keli!

  8. Loree Huebner says:

    Very inspiring post, Keli. Thanks for sharing that bit of yourself. I’ve had writing ups and downs over the years. I’ve just come to a point in my life where I trust in the Lord, do my best, and know He will do the rest.

  9. bethkvogt says:

    I’m more than a day behind on reading my favorite blogs, Keli. And yours is one of my must-reads.
    I’m so thankful you understand exactly where I am/was/will be again as a writer.
    And your comment encouraged me and motivated me. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has climbed up on a ledge along the writing road.
    Merry Christmas to you, sweet friend. Counting my blessings as the year winds down — and you are one the most special ones!

  10. candidkerry says:

    Hi Keli,

    Really enjoyed this honest and inspiring post. I think every writer can relate to this experience, and it’s such a blessing that, just like you mentioned, we can tap into the greatest Source of strength and creativity that exists. He is so faithful!

    Writing drives us to the edge of our comfort zone, that’s for certain, and God promises to be with us through it all.

    I’ve met many amazing writer friends in 2011, and I count you high on the list. Thank you for your encouragement and interest in my fledgling blog and writing efforts. 🙂 I look forward to meeting you face to face one day, and I so appreciate the help and wisdom you so willingly offer to other writers. You’re a blessing!

    I pray you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

  11. Donna Pyle says:

    I find ledge living discombulating on many levels. First, it takes me out of the driver’s seat, which tends to bring angst. Then I remember who’s really in control. Then I look down at the tiny words soooo far down. Fear begins to creep in. Then I remember who’s really in control. Ledge living seasons are hard, but great reminders Who has our net.

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