Progress. I don’t even like the word, because like perfection, it seems incredibly illusive to me. What is progress, who defines it? Who deems a thing to have progressed? For the writer, in a vacuum, it is us—we are the ones that define progress, if we choose to stay in a vacuum. I am writing this piece for a Hope*Writers prompt, and without the prompt, I would not write a single word today. I honestly have no idea if any of this will make sense, but in reality, the words you have read already equals the amount increase over zero. Progress? Maybe..
Peck, peck, ping! Peck, Peck, ping!!
I was probably ten or eleven and I sat at my favorite uncle’s desk and recorded my imaginary stories on that old school typewriter. I have loved words for as long as I can remember and have always taken to the pen in times that my brain looks like the losing screen of a Tetris game, sometimes torture and sometimes therapy, it is always worth it. But progressing to the point of starting often feels like climbing Mt. Everest.
Today is one of those days. Global events have me in a place where I can barely compose a complete thought much less pound out on my keyboard anything that remotely makes sense. But then there is that word again: progress. Thus, I sit and stare at my screen, clean it, change a load of laundry—anything to avoid writing.
But that writing prompt and the investigation into the word progress deserves examination and effort. After all, I call myself an author, I have won the awards and written for all the things, but when it comes to my manuscript, progress is not a word I would ever use, but am I right? I am calling it a manuscript and not a work in progress on purpose.
A few years ago, the ABC drama “Nashville” highlighted a song– even then it served as a call to me or maybe even a conviction that I am to be behind a keyboard directing my fingers to type words—and trust God for the rest. When contests, prompts, or deadlines force me behind this keyboard, I usually deem that day as having progressed at SOMETHING, but it is never my main manuscript—and guilt comes with that because I know I need to write this manuscript, or fix the approximately one hundred eighty five versions of it on numerous devices. But these lyrics speak to me when I think about giving up, when I throw away the pen or let all my computers die so I “can’t” write, these are the words I hear:
“What if you are just a vessel, and God gave you something special? It ain’t yours to throw away, it ain’t yours to throw away, cuz every time you open your mouth diamonds come rolling out, it ain’t yours to throw away”
We are all gifted in our own ways and whether or not God gave me something special in the ability to write or if He is calling me to learn to write, progress is obeying Him.
Because what if, what if I am just a vessel?
What if God gave me something special?
It is definitely not mine to throw away.
So, on this day, I deem any words that I write progress, and I call it obedience too. Progress is obedience, and like anything else obedience isn’t always fun, but always right and always worth it. And as far as that vacuum, if you are reading this and are a writer and in one, get out of it and Hope Writers is a great way to do that!