Monthly Archives: August 2012

Take A Writing Hiatus

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As a writer, sometimes life’s circumstances can hit you between the eyes. You may settle into a writing routine, only to find life interrupts it and forces you to change. I am dealing with this now as my family and I are dealing with a life circumstance of our own. We are moving out-of-state next week and we are currently swimming in an endless sea of boxes, packing tape, and  Sharpie pens. (I think by the end of next week, I’ll have my name labeled on my forehead in black Sharpie pen!) As much as I would like to keep up with my writing next week, I know I will deal with the transition in a more efficient way if I simply focus all of my energies into moving, unpacking, and acclimatizing myself to a new environment.

Every aspect of life deserves our whole focus. It can be difficult if you are setting and reaching writing goals, but sometimes it is what will help you become more fruitful in your writing life.

Here are some other ways to deal with the interruptions life has to offer:

De-clutter your mind– I not only have to take a physical break from writing, but a mental break as well. I have to force myself to put my writing goals out of my mind until the other tasks are dealt with. This is not easy, but with perseverance, it can become a skill.

Prioritize- Which life activities take the most precedence? Your new job ? Your children? Your marriage? The key is not to get overwhelmed with all you need to do, but take one aspect of life and do it well,  then move on to the next. This not only applies to life, but to writing as well. If I can’t focus on blogging, how can I write that next great article?

Take a Hiatus– Sometimes the best way to balance life with writing is to simply stop and focus on the other obligations of life in order to give my best to my writing when I return to it later on.

Do you need to take a writing hiatus to focus on current life circumstances? Leave a comment below.

How Bad Do You Want it?

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As I channel surfed the other day, I stumbled upon an interview on the Ellen Degeneres Show where she interviewed LL Cool J and asked him questions about his show, NCIS. After commenting on his well built physique, she asked him, “How do you balance the long days on the set with getting to the gym?” He answered her, “I have to ask myself the question ‘How bad do I want it?’ If you want something bad enough, you’ll go out and get it. If you want a healthy body, you will get up early and hit the gym. You have to ask yourself  ‘How bad do I want it?'”

This is true of anything in life. We are all motivated to do the things we want to do. If we want something badly in life, we will move heaven and earth to get it. This applies as much to writing as to any facet of our lives. If we want to write, we make the time for it. Because each person is different, this may mean something different to everyone.  Here are some ideas on how to fit your writing in on a daily basis:

Are you an early bird or a night owl? For some it may mean getting up an hour earlier to write that blog post or edit that project. For others, it is not until they accomplish all of their daily tasks that they can fit writing into their schedule. Whatever that looks like, you need to accomplish our writing tasks in a consistent manner.

Everything Counts-  Do you have five minutes to devote to writing? Ten minutes? An hour? Every little bit helps and much like weight loss, it all counts.  If you do a little each day, soon you will have finished that chapter, proposal or project.

What are you willing to sacrifice? Depending on the project, it may mean you need to sacrifice something in order to fit your writing in. A few months ago, I neglected my writing because I was working full-time and with family obligations, I just didn’t have time. After prayer and agreement from my husband, I cut back my hours to part-time. Although my finances took a hit, it was well worth the sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your writing dreams? Money? Time? Sleep? You’ll find that a full heart is worth the sacrifices you have to make.

How bad do you want to accomplish your writing goals? What are you willing to give up in order to achieve them?

Eliminating Writing Dryness

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As I rushed around one morning to get my kids off to camp, I got in the car and realized I had not eaten breakfast. Knowing I had a busy morning of running errands ahead of me, I stopped at a local drive thru to pick up a cup of oatmeal. I lifted the lid and the sweet aroma of bananas greeted me. “This is going to be great,” I thought to myself. The first few bites were delicious, but as I took a few more, I found that at the bottom, it had not been mixed properly!  I found a dry, sticky mess at the bottom, rendering it inedible. The oats lacked the water it needed to become oatmeal.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you give to all of the other areas of your life, yet when it comes to your writing, find that you have no energy to put your all into your upcoming projects? The busyness of life oftentimes gets the best of me and I find I have nothing left to give. It is so important to keep your physical and emotional lives at its highest efficiency so that you can fulfill the calling that has been placed on your life. As writers, we all have been in situations where we are writing merely to complete a task, and have not put our best feet forward. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself at maximum potential:

1) Rest- I can’t stress this enough. As the end of summer nears, I want to suck the last bits of laziness I can out of it. This is my opportunity get some play time in. Pick an activity your enjoy and do it. Taking frequent breaks during the day helps keep you going and will help you give your best to your writing.

2) Pray- Solitude, prayer and quiet reflection help ease anxiety, lower cortisol levels in the body and stop your mind from going in a million different directions. Focus is key in the task of writing.

3 Get Inspired-  There are no new ideas. But my challenge is what I can bring to make those old ideas new again.Sometimes when I am blocked in my writing, I will read a book in my genre.Writers who don’t have time to read, don’ t have time to write.

How do you rid yourself of “writing dryness?”  Share a comment below so you can inspire me!

Enjoy The Creative Process

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In my last post, I mentioned that if you sit down to write one thing, and come up with something different to just go with it. As I was reminded of the creative process, I contemplated Genesis 2:18-21 that says:

Then the Lord God said, ‘“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”’So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.”

What joy the Lord must have had in creating us! Since it was before the Fall, the Lord only experienced  joy  when creating us. He took something that already exists (in this case, a rib) and transformed it into something completely functional in order to change the world and give it new life.  In the same way, putting a creative spin on an old topic gives me that same joy.

While creativity is fun, it is also a lot of hard work. It takes time and sacrifice to fulfill this type of calling. It is easy to find it a burden rather than a joy and even easier to avoid it altogether. Yet I want to challenge you to think about the distinct blessing it is to join God in the creative process. If you find life is getting in the way of your joy in this, here are a few things I offer to combat that challenge:

Set Aside The Time– The question you should ask yourself is not ” How do I fit time into my schedule to  do this?” but rather “How badly do I want to do this?” Many people want to write, but few set aside the time on a consistent basis to do it.

Take Time Off – We all need time to rest and shut our minds off for a while. Force yourself to engage in activities that do not require creativity. Taking a break increases productivity, it does not decrease it.

Expand Your Horizons– There are many different ways to be creative. Experiment with different types of media. If you have other creative talents such as drawing, painting, singing, dancing, etc. use them. It will engage your mind in new ways and benefit your writing at the same time.

In what ways is God calling you to engage in His creative process?  Experiment with some today!

Just Go With It!

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I sat down the other day to write my first blog post after a two week hiatus. I had traveled to both Pennsylvania and North Carolina within a week and finally got a chance to catch up and communicate my thoughts about my experience. But when I flipped open my laptop and stared at the blank screen, nothing happened. No words or thoughts flowed. I read, waited and prayed that something would come, but no blog posts came. What did pour out onto my screen, however, was an article I had on my heart to write but never had the time to sit down and actually type away at the keyboard.

This is different from writer’s block because it is not as though I was completely unproductive. I still was able to produce, edit and submit a new article for possible publication. I sat down to write one thing, and the Lord used the time to create a completely different project.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you sat down to write one thing but instead you crafted something completely different?  

Here are some things to do if this happens:

Make a to do list- If you still have things on your mind in addition to your original project, write it down. I always think I am going to remember what I want to write about, but wind up forgetting hours later. Also, write down any thoughts or notes associated with the project. This will help keep your mind free of clutter.

Pray- Is God using this time to point you in a different direction in your writing? Perhaps God is using this valuable time to speak to you, because at other times in your day you are too busy to hear Him.

Just go with it- I am reminded in Genesis just how beautiful the creation process can be. As Christians, we have the opportunity to  join God in the creative process. That is something I consider a privilege. When God speaks to me through writing, I am happy to hear from Him and be His messenger of hope and redemption. Sometimes I need to let go of my agenda and instead welcome the “God-terruptions” to push God’s agenda.

What do you do in the God-terruptions? Do you push though with your agenda, or do you just go with it?