“…I’m such a faith-driven person, and behind every adversity in my life are two things: a lesson and a blessing. I just had to wait. It took a little longer for this blessing to happen.”
Steve Harvey is a successful popular author and TV host. He’s enjoyed enormous success in today’s culture, but it sounds as if he’s no stranger to hard knocks and reversals.
Adversity can be captured in two words: “difficulty” and “misfortune.” Who among us hasn’t tasted its bitter fruits? And yet, I love Steve Harvey’s upbeat attitude toward it: within every adversity experience, he’s found both a lesson and a blessing. How can we apply this gem of wisdom in our writing life? Let’s consider two scenarios:
You’re struggling with something difficult on the page — an uncooperative character, a thorny plot point, a clumsy transition that’s not getting your story where it needs to go. You keep pushing and tweaking without results.
The lesson? It could be you are “efforting” — over-reaching and straining too hard.
The blessing? You realize that you need to relax and stop pushing so hard. You need to be more playful: You need to get “fascinated instead of frustrated,” as Dr. Rob Gilbert often says on his Hotline (973.743.4690). When you do this, everything loosens up.
You’ve taken a story as far as you think you can. You’ve sent it out to editors or agents, but it’s being rejected instead of accepted. You’re feeling in limbo: you don’t know what to do, whether to give up or go on.
The lesson? It could be that you’re not done yet: there’s more work and creativity needed.
The blessing? After extracting whatever nuggets of feedback you can from your rejections, you realize that there’s another story within your story — a bigger, better one — just waiting to come out. Like Michelangelo and his statue of David, you need to release the treasure imprisoned within the marble and push your work to the next level.
So often, we let adversity simply knock us flat. Why not make it work for us, instead of against us? The next time it comes our way, let’s have faith that there’s gold hidden within it. And let’s wrestle with it the way Jacob did with the angel, until it yields up both the
lesson and the blessing we need to move forward. And then, let’s all write on!