The Art of Writing in Adversity


Sisyphus is my pen name in the barrage of life’s adversities. I am a writer. I cannot get around it. I cannot ignore it. I cannot escape it even as I stand drenched in affliction’s many tempests. Although the past two years have proven to be challenging and heart wrenching, I have come to realize there is no better time to take up my pen and pour out my soul onto a crisp sheet of paper.

When your world comes crashing down on you, what do you do? You persevere despite the sorrow, despite the pain, despite the weariness. When you have absolutely nothing left you to keep trudging. This has been my life the past couple of years. When I’ve emerged from one storm I find myself in yet another. And I, like Sisyphus, keep rolling that stone uphill because it is something I must do.

Several people in my life, be they friends, family, or acquaintances, have told me I write well. That my writing touches them. That I inspire them. That I need to keep at it. I look back on my blog’s archives and its sporadic entries accuse me. Can I seriously call myself a writer? I have neither the experience nor the discipline of many a writer but I do have love and passion for the written word. I am a writer and I am learning the art of writing in adversity.

I am the full-time caregiver of my 12-year-old son who has a rare neurodegenerative disorder. I am also a stay-at-home-homeschooling mama to four covenant children of the corn. In all this, I battle with a chronic illness. Yet in everything, I am a writer because it is deeply ingrained in me. I’ve written previously on the blessings brought on by adversity yet haven’t touched on this one. Affliction brings out the scum of our lives. It surfaces and foams and reveals itself to us and the rest of the world. It carves out the rot of our souls with painful precision. This excruciating process extracts the ink we use to pen our masterpieces. We draw from the wellspring of our sorrows and create from the brokenness of our lives. Adversity is gracious to the writer. Its gifts are fathomless.

I persist because I must. Because our Sovereign God is my source of grace and strength. Every morning I am renewed by the promises of God and in Him, I rest as the storm rages around me. My heart is quieted by His Word and my soul is satisfied in Him. He is my shelter in times of trouble and joy abides in me as long as I abide in Him. Now, where is the adversity? What keeps me from utilizing the gift He has given me?

How do I master the art of writing in adversity? By trusting the Light in the midst of the tempest and carrying on despite the difficulties. Perseverance. Patience. And an allowance for stumbling. My weakness is vastly surpassed by the graciousness of Christ’s mercy. Overcoming the obstacles in writing is not unlike overcoming the obstacles in life. It takes determination. It takes discipline. It takes hope.

Ideally, this is not the best time for me to commit to writing a novel, to decide to actively pursue a writer’s calling. But life is not ideal. It is messy. It is unpredictable. It is fleeting. I have no qualms about the arduous task ahead of me. It will take a great deal of time and work. It will be anything but easy. But it will be worth it. I have great hope that the journey ahead will be fulfilling and I am eager to learn and master the craft of writing. I eagerly anticipate growing as a writer and as an individual. I am a writer. And I will master the art of writing in adversity.

I pray that as a writer, God will work through me. That the world may look upon His face and glorify Him in all things. That the darkness will retreat as the ink pours into the page. That His name will be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. May His name be forever praised.

Photo copyright by PingPao/Shutterstock

Cheryl L. Stansberry

Cheryl L. Stansberry is a Christian speculative fiction writer and blogger with a desire to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him beautiful and glorious in the eyes of the people.

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