You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or it will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19: 17-18 – NRSV)
I was supposed to start writing STOMP for the National Novel Writing Month on November 1, 2011. I told all of my literary friends, my associates and my family because I knew they would be excited that another Isaiah David Paul novel is being crafted. It was a hard decision because I had to choose between STOMP and another project that was going to be the conclusion of a trilogy that has drawn a cult following. STOMP was chosen because I did not want to explore sexuality and abstinence just yet. I wanted to focus more on going out into the world and making disciples and the concept of forgiveness.
Today is the third of this month and all I have not written one word of what I promise will be an amazing novel.
I have let Satan use the fact that a certain “client” of mine has recently defaulted on a ghostwriting project I did for them get in the way of what I know the Lord told me to do. This person, whom owes me money not just for the manuscript but also for the screenplay has caused a lot of harm in my household because I depend on money from the sale of my books and my ghostwriting to supplement monies from my “day job” so that I can make ends meet. This person has angered me so much, that I have stepped out of character—backslid into using language I have steered away (except in some of my writings and I’m working on that) for over three years. This person, who did not abide by the written contract we have for my services is in possession of stolen material and now claims ownership of my work. And to justify her indiscretion and issues with me when confronted with the fact that she can’t publish the work without paying, she throws in “greater is he that is in me than He who is in the world” like the Words from the Book is supposed to just give her a pass to screw me over.
For those of you who have written a screenplay know how hard it is to not only come up with the storyline, but format it correctly and make it presentable on the off whim chance you are having lunch with someone in position to help you out, that the story can be ready. Now imagine having to use that to build a manuscript from which a book will be published.
That’s a lot of work—a lot of writing and re-writing. And we won’t talk about what I’ve had to add and change to make the info work as a book.
Let’s just say that considering I was more the generous to this “client” I am beyond livid. How dare she steal from me? The whole day after our conversation (which did not go well), I was very angry because I spent a lot of time, energy and passion building up this project which is suppose to be a tribute to her “dead son” and now I have nothing to show for my work.
I’m supposed to forgive, which I will do because that’s what the Lord commanded me to do. I’m not supposed to seek vengeance—how can this be when my family is about to suffer for this lack of payment while she is eating off of work she knows isn’t fully paid for? So what do I do?
My pastor reminded me that I am supposed to trust in the Lord and let the Lord convict her heart in His time. My fiancée (she will be wife next Saturday) reminded me that I am a man of many talents—a man with quite a few publishing opportunities on the table from multiple publishers. The Spirit reminded me of the parable of the talents and despite the fact that one may have been stolen from me that I am to continue laboring in the field, spreading the gifts I have been given to uplift and edify the kingdom.
This is the first thing I’ve written since the incident happened and now, my task is very simple—I am going to write the first words of this book after I make this post and Lord willing, I will let y’all know how many words. NaNoWriMo required 50,000 for the project to be a success and it takes 1667 words a day so I’m behind already. Thank God I have an outline but still…a lot of work to do.
The answer to the million dollar question…no I don’t hate this client, or any of the other “clients” and publishers who’ve harmed and cheated me in the past. But I promise you this, I will be smarter, wiser and more selective in how I offer my services in the future.