The Art of Tireless Pursuit: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 3

Faith is not only defined by giant leaps but is often reflected in the tiny steps.” ~Candice Coates

A few years back, I was sitting in front of my television, watching some show on HGTV, eating a plate full of room temperature leftovers (good leftovers nonetheless,) when a thought popped in my head:

You will never know where you are going if you never take a step.” ~Candice Coates

The thought seemed simple enough, for, as I was watching HGTV, eating room temperature leftovers, I was also thinking about this creative platform, my writing career,  my art, and all the other things I had planned to do in that year which seemed to have been getting derailed from every angle. Truth be told, I am still thinking about all of these things.

But when I first had these thoughts, I was thinking about my serial-blog-novel, ASCENSION GRAVEYARD. I will be honest, AG (for those of you who are just now tuning in, AG is my blog novel that I started writing in June of 2014…it is still a work in process and progress,) had given me some reason for creative pause.

I felt like it might have turned out to be a far longer novel than I planned for it to be, and coming to terms with that had been difficult. I have said this before. But even with my previous mention, I felt like the thought alone had caused me to stop my creative motions.

Even now, I am planning to charge at this unfinished body of work with full faith and force this summer. This will be my fourth attempt at writing this novel. If that is not fighting tirelessly, I don’t know what is. But still, there are some questions that remain unanswered, that need answering, as I continue on with my creative pursuit.

What do I want for this novel? What do I want for this creative platform, for my art, for myself? Where am I going?

I want a lot and sometimes I feel like the chasm between here and there is just so wide. But that only leads to the next question.

How do I know it is wide unless I take a step? 

It’s like looking into the rippling waters of a pool and trusting my first impression that the waters aren’t that deep when in reality they might actually go twelve feet down.

The realization that I have come to, is that none of it really matters, the true depth or my perception if I never take a step forward at all. And how will I have the faith to step? I have to want it enough and be willing to fight for it until I get it. I have to be willing to count the cost and press until I have a breakthrough. (Luke 14:28)

We all must step forward. We all must have the faith and tenacity to pursue our dreams even at the risk of error. Sure, we will reach moments where we look at how far we have come, scan over our maps and wonder if we have gone the wrong direction. That is part of the faith process.

But even if we have gone the wrong direction, that is not a cause for us to cease proceeding forward, to set up shop in the place of the unknown just for fear of having lost our way. It is all about recalibrating, getting your bearings and then stepping forward in the right direction, again.

So what you may not know where you want to end up exactly. Maybe the answers will only come once you start walking.

So many biblical pictures come to mind; Abraham being told to leave his home by God and go to a place  He (God) would show him (Genesis 12:1). God didn’t tell Abraham where exactly he was to go, he just said go, take a step of faith. Believe.

Then there is Psalm 119:105, which says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” That to me indicates that more times than not the steps ahead of our current footfalls are shrouded in the dark, but we have got to take another step to discover that which lays hidden from view.

For me, I have just got to keep pressing forward, keep stepping through the darkness and trusting the Light to make my way plain. If I want ICFTS to flourish and to nurture the creative growth of myself and others, then I’ve got to keep seeking the Lord for answers to creative questions and sharing what I find.

If I want my art to stretch itself out and grow, then I have got to give it a platform to do so. If I want my writing career to take off, then I have got to keep writing. I have to take steps and keep stepping after that. And I have to have the confidence in the Lord that HE is guiding me and has made room for me for the times that I stumble.

 “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” ~HEBREWS 10:35-36

No matter how big or small the step you take toward accomplishing your dream, celebrate the courage that you displayed in the step that you took and the ones that are sure to follow.

Each stone you put forth is one more to add to the foundation of your future. Be grateful for your progress and keep moving forward no matter how long it takes! Keep stepping, tenaciously in your creative journey and see how the Lord honors that faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow wearyand lose heart. ~HEBREWS 12:1-3

So getting back to the original thought I had, it is true that we will never know where we are going if we never take the first step…but that is only if you plan on going nowhere.

Press forward. Keep dreaming. And keep seeking.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

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Third’s a Charm, Right?: Revisiting Ascension Graveyard & Blog Theme Change #Writer #Novel #Revisions

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Third’s a charm, right? Right! I suppose that is true if this is indeed the third time that I have sat down to write AND finish my blog novel, ASCENSION GRAVEYARD.

Part of me, however, feels like this is the FOURTH time and that I left my third attempt somewhere to die a slow death in 2016…these things happen, I’m cool with that.

I suppose that I would have wallowed in frustration over each unfinished reboot if it weren’t for the fact that other creative happenings weren’t successfully occupying my time. It’s not at all that I have been just trying to fill failed space with projects that would massage my ego, but truly I’ve been working on building up my dreams.

To everything there is a time and a season…” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

As I announced earlier this year, I have officially launched my Author Site, and I am gearing up to do a ‘Battle of the Books’ Monday, February 20th, 2017. The battle is a match between the first two novels that I completed during my summer sessions of NaNoWriMo. More information about that will be coming soon.

Ascension Graveyard is my third attempt at summer NaNo and has been like a very needy child for going on four years! As I’ve said before, I encourage myself about the time it is taking to complete this novel with the knowledge that it took Stephen King forty years or so to properly write Under the Dome. He began in the early 70’s and didn’t have her on the bookshelves until 2009.

Some aspiring writers may cringe at that length of time but here are two encouraging things I want you to take away from this:

  1. Anything worth having is worth the work and wait: Our lives and experiences influence the work that we produce. Stephen King started with an idea, but time and influence gave greater life and vision to the work…which also led to a T.V series…which leads to take away number 2.
  2. To everything there is a time and a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1): Some ideas are born in the moments of today but will only be ready for life years from now. The time in between is all about the preparation. Like a fine wine or cheese or a really great stew, long hours, or in the case of some pieces of fiction, long years are what’s required. (I wrote a faith post about waiting. You can find it here.)

Ascension Graveyard has taken me a long while and many moments of frustration, but I feel like the time to really get from the starting line to the end is upon us. I know that I must ‘kill many of my darlings’ during this third or fourth attempt but I am ready.

As a reminder, chapters will begin going up again starting in March 2017.

This leads me to my change in blog theme. Really, I find changing or finding the ‘right’ theme to be much like mall shopping for clothing. It is exhausting, somewhat disappointing, often times hit-or-miss, but when you need new clothes you just have the bite the bullet and step into the fitting room.

I’ve changed my theme after a year because, for one, I felt like I needed the change AND because of the simple function of having my PAGES visible in the body of the text and NOT somewhere floating around after the adds, share buttons, likes, etc.

This theme has the next pages of my post right there after the final period on the previous page. Easy-peasy. I want this process to not only be a fun and easy adventure for myself but a more user-friendly experience for my readers.

As I’ve said before, my writing can only improve with your constructive criticism. So, read along with me, turn those lovely pages, and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Also, don’t forget to stay tuned for the Battle of the Books! Your votes will determine which novel will be published and promoted first! You can stay connected and on top of updates by following my Author Site.

Thanks for tuning in!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Chapter 34: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 34

This was just great! Not only did Etta hate having to drive a manual transmission, but it was also raining out, which meant Kyle was going to be late to work and she was going to have to do a mad dash to get the store opened. It didn’t help at all that she was still fired up over Jørn. He had managed to completely avoid her that morning, slipping out for work during the few short hours of rest she had managed to take hold of.

Frustrated, she allowed herself a good fifteen-minute cry in the car before she made her way into the mall, shoving on a pair of large sunglasses that covered up most of her bruised face. She only lifted them up when she saw that the shop was already opened for business with Mr. Albert standing behind the counter drinking a cup of coffee.

“Well good morning to you too, Etta.” The sarcasm in his greeting was only overshadowed by the dip and pull of his ridiculous eyebrows.

Etta pushed her sunglasses over her head and studied the currents of light around him. The white streaks that had broken through the gray had multiplied, weaving their way around him, slowly overtaking the darkness. “What are you doing here?”

“I own this place. Clearly, you’ve forgotten.”

She shook her head. “I didn’t forget. You just told me that you weren’t coming in for a while, just yesterday actually. What gives?” She set her bag on the counter. “Did your master make you have a change of heart?”

Planning Ahead: Making Way for an Organic Blog Schedule

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Hello all! I just wanted to share a bit of my progress as 2016 slow crawls into 2017.

If you haven’t noticed, I have experienced a pleasing level of success in  reworking old blog postings as well as sending others to the archive graveyard. In addition to that, I’ve had to scrap my weekly Monday’s Muse writing prompt as I was the only one partaking in the challenge.

With some of those things wrapped up, I’ve cleared of some ‘plate’ space for other things.

As I mentioned before, I need to go back to the basics of this blog. I need to remind myself, again, and stay focused on why I created I came for the soup in the first place.

That being said, here are some reasons why I need to keep reminding myself as I press forward into a new creative year.

A FEW REASONS WHY:

  1. As it goes with platforms that thrive from ‘follows’, ‘likes’, and the always welcome comments, one tends to make those things the driving force for how they schedule their blogging journey…schedules are good as I’ve said before but not if they become shackles that choke your creativity. I had scheduled myself into a choke hold.
  2. Too many items on my plate and not enough time to eat and enjoy them all like I should. I’ve enjoyed the postings that I’ve shared over the last near three years but having a 5-day schedule is not for me. I need more room for flexibility.
  3. Why the need for more flex? Well, my needs have changed. Creatively, I’ve achieved levels that have moved from the realm of dreaming to doing and onward I march to CONQUERING!

PLANS FOR THE ROAD AHEAD:

As I said before, I am going back to what I originally had at the start of this blog, organic free-flow writing, art as I am inclined to create it and, of course, my blog novel Ascension  Graveyard.

  • Weekly blogging schedule will be organic. I will post as the creativity calls…for the most part. If I do one free flow write a week, I will deem myself a creative success.
  • You can expect to see weekly/biweekly installments of Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal, as well as an encouraging quote to wrap up the week.
  • Chapters for Ascension Graveyard will resume posting ever THURSDAY, hopefully beginning November 17th.

So in short, random free flow writes here and there, Writing Tips on Wednesdays, AG Chapters on Thursday and a Quote to polish us off when one moves me to share.

As mentioned, my creative needs have changed. I have two manuscripts out of Beta that need polishing up in time for my Author Page Launch! I am aiming for Monday, December 5th, 2016 sometime in JANUARY 2017! There will be a blog party over there and EVERYTHING…mark your calendar and show your love and support.

My desire is to have one of my novels published no later than April 2017!

There is a lot of TLC that goes into this process, thus, the need for flexibility.

More than creating content for quantity and schedules sake, I want to create for quality. I want what I share to inspire you and aid you in your creative journey. Anything else is to miss the mark.

So that is in in a nutshell. Plan for fun, plan for free flow, plan to join me on the next level of my blogging journey!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

And the Woman Writes: Progress with Ascension Graveyard

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“She sat, her fingers burning with the fire to press the keys of her keyboard, her ears greedy for the familiar tattoo that sounded off along with each word born upon her computer screen. With a vengeance, she set her pages ablaze!”

Progress, progress. As you’ve noticed, instead of the next chapter to Ascension Graveyard, I have given you this…a heartfelt report.

Writing this novel has been a great study in patience for me. Currently, things are going very well. I am carefully considering what parts of former chapters will be used in the future and which will be sent to the waste bin, while also building new threads.

As it stands, I have run out of completed chapters to share.

In the past, I would have freaked out about this. Alas, I am older now and know to give myself some grace here. Creativity is a process. Revising while building takes a different kind of focus than writing a story straight from scratch or revising what has been completed.

I hope to have some new chapters soon…I say soon because I don’t want to default on a promise for next week or even the week to follow.

Nevertheless, do stay tuned. New chapters will return as we have a blog novel to complete!

Until next time.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Chapter 33: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 33

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: Even though I laugh, I have to say I am hurt that you think no one else gets what is going on but you and Baldwin Falk. Others of us can see what’s happening too, you know.

ECT: (Silence) I never liked going to the eye doctor as a child. Mr. Albert insisted, of course. I hated how they would push my face up against that weird mask thing, and ask, while they flipped different lenses over in front of my straining eyes, “lens A or B? A or B?”, and right when I had made a choice and felt like I had gotten the right focus, they threw me a curve ball of lens C. Which meant my focus was all out of whack again.

They did all of this Just to figure out which was the most focused lens for my eyes.

The reality of life is that we are often looking through the wrong lens and need someone to just come up to us, and give us a different perspective, whether we like it or not. Lens A or lens B? Sometimes I would rather scrap both without ever having to look through C.

HL: I get it.

ECT: Do you?

HL: Yes. You, Mrs. Teague, have trust issues.

ECT: No, I just don’t have time to flip your lenses while keeping mine in focus. And it’s Castle-Teague.

*          *          *

Etta lay awake staring up through the blackness of the night to her ceiling. Baldwin was pretty certain she had a concussion and had talked nearly non-stop since they left the hospital—which he protested doing—and even clear into the morning. That was just before he suddenly disappeared.

It hadn’t mattered much, the fact he had done everything in his power to prevent her from sleeping, although the sudden exit did chaff her. As lethargic as she had been feeling she was too shaken to actually sleep. She still hadn’t heard from Jørn although she had heard him come in almost two hours after she had crawled into bed. He hadn’t even bothered to come to their bedroom. Instead, he’d gone straight to the guest room.

Chapter 32: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 32

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: Your superhero team is super small being just yourself and Baldwin Falk. There are others, like myself, who believe in what you are doing. Why not trust us to help?

ECT: It’s not worth the risk learning to trust anyone else with this. Too much is at stake, you know that. Trust is such a fragile thing. I have often pictured it as being like a spider’s web; the whole of it is held together by a number of individual threads. But let one break, and the whole thing begins to fall apart.

*          *          *

Etta’s body jerked as if she’d been electrocuted by a high voltage power line. She didn’t know how long she’d been out or how long Baldwin had been calling her name. What she did know was that her head was throbbing and the horn of her car was beeping non-stop.

She slowly raised her head and narrowed her eyes. The horn shut off the moment she’d lifted her face from it. The head light to her left was shining brightly into the trees and bushes, while the other was obstructed by what she could only imagine was blood. If her memory served her correctly, she had hit the tail end of the large buck in the road.

“Jørn?” Panic sliced through her with a cold that only found warmth in the sound of his name. She touched her forehead and felt the large speed bump protruding from her face like a goose egg. At least it wasn’t bleeding.

“Etta? Etta, can you hear me?”

Chapter 31: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 31

Etta gripped the steering wheel with tight knuckles. What the hell was Jørn thinking? She had just gotten off the phone with Kyle, who somehow had managed to find a degree of humor in his near encounter with Jørn’s fist. And for what? Because Mr. Albert had convinced him that she and Kyle were having an affair?

“You shouldn’t be so upset about this. You saw this coming.” Baldwin broke into her thoughts. “You actually should be praying about what actions you should take in order to do some damage control.”

Etta glanced at him before putting her eyes back on the road. “Uh, no, I didn’t see this coming. This is totally out of character! He was going to beat up Kyle, Baldwin, all because of a something Mr. Albert said.”

“He’s frustrated because he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

            “I told him to trust me!” She snapped.

“That’s easier said than done, especially considering the circumstances. Put yourself in his shoes, see things from his perspective. He just found out I’m alive, sort of, and that you knew about it all along. And to add insult to injury, you won’t tell him anything about me.”

“What does that have to do with Kyle, Baldwin?!” She couldn’t help but bark at him.

Chapter 30: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 30

Jørn rapped his knuckles against the gate of the store. He had already ringed the doorbell several times without an answer. He knew somebody was in there. Music was playing and the lights were still on.

He pressed the doorbell several times again and waited a few more seconds before shouting, “Open up!”

A clerk from the adjacent store hollered at him. “Dude, they’re closed! They close at eight.”

Jørn ignored him and beat on the gate again. The sound of swift moving feet, someone falling and swearing could be heard until finally, Kyle came into view. There was a startled look in his eyes when he saw Jørn. He rushed to buckle his pants and unlocked and lifted the gate.

“Jørn, what are you doing here?”

Jørn pushed passed him, nudging him aside with a stiff shoulder, calling out Etta’s name.

Kyle stumbled aside holding his shoulder with his mouth open in a  pained ‘o’. “Jørn, what the hell?!”

“You want me to call the cops, Kyle?” Jørn heard the clerk from next door ask. If Jørn found Etta in the store in the same mussed condition as Kyle, they were going to need the cops. He didn’t truly believe her to be a cheat, but he also didn’t believe she was capable of stopping the ascensions. He was leaving nothing to chance anymore.

He shoved open her office door and gave it a quick sweep with his eyes. There was an inflatable mattress behind her desk. The sheets were in disarray but Etta was nowhere to be found.

Chapter 29: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 29

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

ECT: Did you know that the word “Kangaroo” actual means “I don’t understand your question.” In the tongue of the aboriginal people of Australia? When the Europeans first laid eyes on the hopping creature they asked what it was, and the Aborigines answered “Kangaroo.” The Europeans thought that was its name, and it has been called Kangaroo ever since.

To call this a miscommunication would be an understatement.

I feel like this when talking to the Council or other people who are actual against the ascensions. They all have so many questions and yet they cannot handle the simplest answer. They’re just a bunch of broken dolls or so fogged out that they can’t add things up.

Me: “This is a mission to save the world from the T.O.W.E.S.”

     Them: “What are you doing?”

     Me: “Kangaroo.”

HL: Sorry, I don’t understand your meaning?

ECT: I’m not surprised.

HL: I’m kidding. (laughter)

*          *          *

Etta fought off the urge to bang her head against the table. She’d been at the meeting with the Council for three hours, three dreadfully long, meaningless hours. The only thing of value that she’d gleaned from being there was the fact that the Pulse was scared enough of her to call in twelve other Seat holders from around the world.

Etta didn’t know what good that would do. Ironically enough, the Pulse hadn’t even shown up. Clive Meeks had not shown up.