088 – The Right GPS for Your Writing Journey

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Right GPS for Writing Journey Karen Ball & Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep PodcastMost of us have experienced using a GPS device. It’s great when it works right. But when it doesn’t, look out! You can end up lost for hours. Or in some very bad places. The news has covered stories where hikers were so focused on their GPS that they actually walked off a cliff! You need direction on your writing journey, but is that direction reliable? Come explore that question with us!

But first, an update on our pledge drive…

The month of February is our Patreon pledge drive. We’re so thankful for our patrons on Patreon and the platform Patreon provides so that creators like us can be paid. Creating each episode of the podcast takes more hours than most people realize, not to mention the costs of media hosting and this website. That’s time and money we can’t use to help support our families. Our goal with the pledge drive is to double our number of patrons from 10 to 20, and we’re not quite halfway there yet. If you’re a listener to the podcast, would you be willing to check it out and consider helping us reach our goal? We’d also love your help in spreading the word. We’re excited about the two new tiers we’ve added to broaden the content we give to patrons!

Thank you for listening to the podcast. You’re a blessing!

GPS – Friend or Foe?

When Karen and Erin were in Washington together, we drove to a lot of remote places to take photos. And we ended up using GPS fairly often. As a result we ended up lost fairly often! As we were driving in circles one day, we wondered why we submit to the authority of the GPS, especially when it’s proven itself to be unreliable. As we talked about it, we realized there were lessons there for us not just as we were driving or looking for some place, but in our writing journey as well.

Lesson 1 – The Detours are the journey

It’s okay if you’re not where you expected or wanted to be. It’s okay if you’re not where you think you should be. In those times when you feel lost, like you’re on the wrong path, remember that God knows where you need to be. And He will ensure you get there. When you feel as though you’re hopelessly confused or lost, take a moment. Breathe. And ask God, “Is this your doing?” He’ll let you know if it is. If it isn’t, He’ll get you back on the path you need to be.

With God in charge, you’ll always find your way. It’s just not always by the route you expect. And it’s not always as easy as you think it will be. In fact it’s never as easy as you think it will be. So don’t worry about finding your way to where you think you’re supposed to be. God’s destinations are far better than anything we can think of.

Lesson 2 – Open Your Eyes and Look Around

How much do we miss out on when we fail to open our eyes and look around? When we’re zeroed in on our GPS, trying to figure out if we’re where we’re supposed to be, it’s easy to blaze right past the little–or even the giant–signs pointing to our next turn.

In your writing journey, it’s easy to become overly focused on what everyone says you need to do or how you need to do it. To focus on doing everything the way “they” say you should. But often, the most effective and important thing you can do is take in all the suggestions and counsel, then look up. Look around you. Listen to what God is telling you. See what He’s showing you. And look inside, to feel His leading and guidance.

When we’re on a journey, it’s easy to get caught up in preconceived outcomes and expectations and miss the little delights God has for us along the way. The same is true for writing. If it’s all about fulfilling expectations, which may or may not be reasonable, you’re bound to be disappointed. But if it’s about enjoying what you have, and enjoying the time with God, it’s bound to be amazing.

Lesson 3 – Don’t assume meaning

On our first adventure to a remote area that would supposedly offer opportunities to photograph bald eagles, the GPS told us to look for a certain parking lot, which we never saw. Back and forth we went until we finally understood: The GPS’s “parking lot” was a flat section of rocks just large enough to pull our vehicle in!

In your writing career, there are lots of people out there who will help you, give you counsel. But as you listen, don’t assume you understand what you’re hearing. When things don’t seem to make sense, ask questions, ask for clarification. For example, was that person saying EVERYONE has to write using an outline, or that he does it and it works best for him? Be careful when you’re hearing things. Be discerning. The payoff is clarity moving forward.

Lesson 4 – Timing is everything

Our first visit to the eagle spot at the “parking lot” yielded one fly by. We were disappointed. Just before sunset, we decided to give the “parking lot” spot one last try. We parked, made our way over the rocks, and then just stood there, stunned. Eagles lined the banks of the river, roosted in the trees around us, and soared overhead. It was majestic!

Sometimes you’ll try something in your career, and it just doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Or, even worse, it totally bombs. You send a great proposal to an editor, and it’s rejected. You put out a book, but no one seems to like it. But the truth is, none of that means it was a failure. It may just mean it wasn’t the right time for it. Pray about it, and ask God if you should ditch it or, maybe, just set it on the shelf for another time. Then, if God nudges you to give it a try sometime down the road, do it. God sees everything and every time. You can trust His leading––and His timing.

Lesson 5 – God Leads in God’s way

Many of us are so used to our phone or car GPS giving us directions every two minutes we think that’s the normal way of leading. Or the only way. It isn’t. It’s the GPS’s way of leading. But we’re so accustomed to it that we get uncomfortable without it. We feel lost without the constant map we can consult or Siri’s words speaking every few minutes.

But God is not obligated to work that way. We need to listen for God in the way He speaks to us, and that can be different for everyone. He wants us to seek. Not to wait to be spoon-fed. Writers often struggle with direction–am I supposed to write? Am I hearing God right? Seek the answers from Him!

Yes, He has plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He does, but read on to verse 13 where it says, “You will seek me and FIND me when you seek me with all your heart.” We’re supposed to search hard, with all our might, and seek with humility, worship, reverence, and a willingness to submit.

There is one true GPS that will never lead you astray. Even if sometimes it feels like it. You’ll find out that the path you’re on is exactly where you’re supposed to be. That GPS is God telling you, “This is the way for you to go. This is what you need to do.” That’s the only one that will never be unreliable.

We want to hear from you!

Have you ever felt lost on your writing journey? What helped you find your way?


Do you have the right GPS for your writing journey?

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  1. Linda says:

    Hi guys
    What a fun podcast! Thanks for sharing and I also enjoyed hearing you on The Steve Laube blog podcast today as well. Thank you for caring about writers.

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