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One time, I wrote a novel in a month. Over 50,000 words of fiction typed out between November first and November last. I would stay up until two o’clock typing in my dining room and then get up at seven for work. It wasn’t easy, there were times I didn’t think I’d meet the deadline, but it was well worth it in the end. Why? Because I bet myself I couldn’t, and I did.
But you know what? I don’t remember what my novel was about. I really don’t. I just know it was awful. A book can’t be a good book if you don’t remember it a few months after you read it. A book must be ghastly if you can’t remember it a few months after you wrote it. I developed the so-called outline the day before the challenge began and after that I just took off writing, never having time for plot changes or improvements. I wrote as fast as I possibly could. My daily goal was not to write well or to have fun, but to submit the adequate word count to stay on track.
In short, I wrote a very boring, unedited, awful novel. The novel wasn’t awful because I’m an awful writer. It wasn’t awful because I never have good ideas. As a matter of fact, I had a whole document of good ideas at the tip of my finger, but I chose to come up with something new and disposable. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good story because of one main thing; I had no vision for it.
There are other stories I have plenty of vision for. I cannot wait to put months (or years) of work into those stories. But the story I had to crank out in thirty days? It had to be something I cared little about, because I’d have no time to perfect it. I started the month out with little to no vision and, though I completed the challenge and danced around the house in jubilant celebration on the last night, I knew I had not written an epic to be proud of.
As seasons change, I always imagine a new chapter opening in my life. September begins a new semester, a change of weather (hopefully!) and an alteration of my schedule. I imagine the emboldened text on the “S” of September, indicating a new chapter. I look forward with much anticipation to the story I’ll witness God writing in this portion of my book. There will be suspense and disappointment and plot twists, no doubt, but I’ll do my best to trust the writer as each page turns.
The neat thing about the story of our lives is, The Author actually allows for character interaction. It’s almost a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. We play a part, choosing to follow this leading or that from the writer. As we face this new season, the key is always the same: vision before action. We must know our goal, our motivation, and our purpose before setting out to tackle the year.
Unless we want our story to turn out as dull, pointless and painful as my novel did, we must know The Author’s intentions for the whole story. Metaphors aside, God actually wrote a story for us in the scriptures, and we can use it to gain insight into His plans. He does not try to hide His will from us, rather He desires that we find it and follow it. This semester can be awesome. It can be full and rich and rewarding. But it will be nothing if you are a character outside The Author’s outline. Take a moment to let God give you a vision for this new chapter and then trust Him to write an epic with your life.