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Sage Advice #2: "You've Got to Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them..."

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Thanks to Kenny Rogers, I offer another sage piece of advice:

"You've got to know when to hold them,

Know when to fold 'em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run."

(You sang that didn't you?)

Don't you love it when your story comes together? Your thoughts are fluid as you type the words at a high rate of speed. You don't dare take a break, not even a potty one, lest all your inspiration flees away. Of course, you love it. Me too.

Don't you think it would be super-duper fantastical if that happened every time you sat down at the computer to write? Of course, you'd consider it the coolest. Me too.

Let's face it, the chances of those hyped-up creative juices flowing every time you write are slim-to-none. There'll be occasions when your spectacular idea doesn't flow the way you hoped. On paper, the story doesn't match what it looked like in your head. And you're majorly stuck.

In those not-so-stellar instances, did you know it's okay to walk away from the article, or book, or devotion, or poem for a season? Did you know that it's okay to lay it down and never pick it up again?

On this webpage, I recently deleted three articles sitting in my draft file for the last couple of years. No matter how hard I tried to make them work, they didn't. I knew when to fold them. Deleting them saved me a lot of frustration and wasted hours. If God desires for me to revisit them later, He'll provide the inspiration I need when the moment is right.

I sent a book proposal to a publisher about three weeks ago. It almost didn't happen. After the book was edited, I got bogged down. As I made the changes recommended by my editor friends, I focused on the fact I wrote an imperfect manuscript and began to wield my red ink pen. I made things worse instead of better so I walked away from the process for a couple months. When I picked it up again, I was in a healthier frame of mind and no longer struggled because I didn't have "the perfect book."

Unless you're under contract (which is a whole different scenario), accept Kenny Roger's advice. Give yourself permission to fold, walk away and/or run. Good news. There are enough "hold them" moments to keep this writer motivated and moving forward.

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