Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing Days – Making Time

For those of you who have been following the Pen and Parchment for… well, any amount of time, really… you’ve probably noticed that I am serious about the art and craft of writing.  But to me, and to many others out there who share my passion, writing really is more than just an art or a craft, or even both of those combined; it is a way of life.

However, I’ve noticed a few funny things about life recently, and the one that stands out the most is that you can’t plan it.  And you really can’t predict it.  Even when you really, really want to be able to say, “THIS is going to happen in my future!” you can’t count on your plans actually working out.  I mean, they might work out after all in the long run, but you just can’t count on that happening because it may not.  So many things can easily change plans that the future is never as predictable as we all wish it could be.

Now before any of you start to worry over the true meaning behind that paragraph, let me just say now that no, I don’t plan on ever giving up writing, and Magpie Eclectic Press is still moving forward as of now. :D

The problem I’ve actually been having with my plans has to do with the amount of time I dedicate to my writing life.  It hasn’t been very much lately… not even when I’ve totally intended it to be.  I’ve admitted before that I am a chronic procrastinator, but this pause in my writing life seems to be more than that.  And quite honestly, maybe I’m just super busy – which I suppose I am – but that shouldn’t count as an excuse.  Not if writing means as much to me as I say it does.

The truth of the matter is that if you truly, truly love writing, then you can’t have your busy schedule step in the way.  It’s so very easy to say that life is becoming too difficult or that you are too busy, but if writing is as important to you as many of my friends say it is to them, then you have to make time for your writing… period.  Even if that means cutting things out of your schedule to do so. 

Even now I don’t think I’ve fully realized just how much time I’ve compromised with excuses about WHY I don’t have time for writing.  And honestly, it disgusts me. :P

But you know what disgusts me even more?   The fact that this example of my writing life makes me think of my relationship with God and what that truly means for me.  After all, how can I be too busy for God?  How can I not have time to make time for the CREATOR of time?  If my writing life right now is anything to go by, I have to admit that my relationship with God has most definitely been suffering.  It’s so very, very easy to let things slip in and make life too complicated.  It’s so very easy to have your schedule filled up with things and events that you really don’t need to have in your schedule at all… maybe not even in your life.  All of which can easily seem to take the place of what is truly important.

And truthfully, the internet is rather addicting. *sheepish smile*   I mean, how many hours a day does the average American actually spend online?  Especially the average American college student?  Though I have no statistics to back this theory up, I think the percentage must be astounding.

So, here’s the whole thing in a nutshell.   As a writer, I can’t just claim to love writing and then never actually do it.  Writing, to those who truly love the art and who dedicate themselves to its study and betterment, becomes a business.  It becomes a way of life… a natural part of daily living.  If you don’t believe me, then ask those out there who make a living off of their writings… they will tell you the same thing.  It’s like a skill that will deteriorate if not practiced often.  That’s something I’ve come to realize.  And honestly, it’s hard for me to admit it.  I like to keep myself very busy, but my busyness tends to stand in the way of what is truly important to me.   But in all reality, if you have a love for something that deep, time must be made without exception. 

Not just for my writing life, though, but for my relationship with God as well.  If life is getting too busy, then it’s time I cut some things out of my schedule to make the proper time.  It’s time I take note of what’s essential to me as a person and as a Christian, rather than just going with the flow of everything around me.  It’s time I step up and be what I know I’m supposed to be.

But I can tell you now, it’s not going to be easy for me.  It never is.  Once you fall into a way of life – like, for example, being busy all the time – it’s like getting stuck in a rut; getting in is the easy part – perhaps even the accidental part – but getting out again is ALWAYS hard.  And I’ve said these sort of things before… by now you probably all know the drill:

I’m going to make more time for my writing: oh, I’ve been slacking and I know I should make more time: my life with God is lacking, I need to make time…”

Yadda, yadda, yadda…

And yet here I am, feeling overwhelmed, knowing that I haven’t made that time yet, even though I said I was going to, and asking myself the question, “what is going to make the difference this time?”  It’s like the old saying goes, The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I’ve had good intentions for a long time now, but they just aren’t going to cut it anymore.  Actions speak louder than words, anyway.  It’s time I put some of my good intentions to work… not just for my writing life, but for my spiritual life as well.  Because writing may be a business and a lifestyle that I absolutely HAVE to make time for without exception, but God is more than a lifestyle: He IS my life.  Even now, when everything is crazy, I can’t just make time for Him: I have to make him my EVERYTHING… even the time that I claim I don’t have.

It’s so hard.  It really is.  It’s like, once you’re in a ditch, you have a hard time seeing the way out again.  That’s sort of how I feel… like I’m in a ditch, caught up in everything that’s happening around me and all that I have to do, and all that I claim I have to do, and I just can’t see how to get out of this way of life. 

But you wanna know something great? 

Nothing is impossible with God. 


Sure, I can’t see the way out, but that doesn’t mean that HE doesn’t have a way.  After all, He makes a way where there is none.  For me, it’s hard to put everything into His hands – surrender was never one of my strong points; I’m more of a fighter who doesn’t like to back down – but surrender is definitely something I know I need to do; I need to surrender myself and my time completely to God.  I know if I give it all to Him – my writing life, school, my current lack of a job, and even my relationship with him – He will lead me out of this rut that I’ve gotten myself stuck in. 

And even though I know how easy it is to say things like that and yet not follow through, this time I really, really want to follow through.  Life feels monotone to me: my writing life is lacking, my spiritual life is lacking, and every day all I have to look forward to is the hectic schedule set before me in no certain order where a million things await my doing, and the things I truly care about seem to be pushed to the side. 
God help me, I don’t know how I’m going to make it anymore!  Not without help anyway.

I do know this, though: writing, to me, is more than just a hobby or a pastime… it is a way of life. It is something that I need to be doing, and I need to be doing it every day.  It needs to become a business to me, almost like publishing… a business that I truly and completely dedicate myself to with all of my heart.

And even more important than writing, God has to come first in my life.  Even with my hectic schedule, even in all of this craziness around me, I have to do more than make time for the One who is essential to my very life.  

He has to become my time. 

And He has to be my writing too.  Because now I see that that’s the only real way out of this mess.  Without God’s time, I have no time… not for writing; not for anything. 

And truthfully I say this from the bottom of my heart…

“No time” just won’t cut it anymore.


Galadriel said...

Thank you for the reminder that all things are possible through God. Including the edits I have to do for a class. AGGH! I can't stand that class, but God will have to give me the strength to do so.

Writer4Christ said...

I agree with this.
There's this verse that says "Delight in his presence and he will give you the desires of your heart."
I think that God gave you the desire to write and making more time for him, he will give you inspiration to write.
It reminds me of the allegory that Jesus said about the Talents/money. We need to use them wisely or else he will take them from us and give them to another who will use them wisely.

Star-Dreamer said...

Writer4christ: exactly! That's how I feel too... and it's time I start investing in my talent, not wasting away my time. :)

Galadriel: Don't worry... you'll do fine. I've had classes like that though... :P

Philip Nelson said...

I like the part about God being your life. :) That's something I believe wholeheartedly.

I like to think of free time as time I spend with God. All other time is slave time.

And I think you'll like the story of Trevor Still. In a sense, that's my confession of, well, what you said. :)

Gillian Adams said...

So true, Nichole! I'm finding it increasingly difficult to find time to get everything done that I need. I know it's there somewhere, I just need to find it! A writing/time with God accountability partner would be quite handy... :)

YaashaMoriah said...

Everything you said sounds so familiar... When you have time, you don't "feel" like writing. When you don't have time, you're brimming with ideas and good intentions, but of course, that gets no writing done. I realized years ago that no one is a true writer unless she/he writes no matter what they have for time.

Sometimes what seems to be a step back can be a step forward in the long run. It's hard for me not to take advantage of any spare time I have, but I've put all major writing projects on hold for a solid week to pray and to ask God which project is worth my time (or to simply ask for strength to do a good job on the current project). Time is so limited--it's important to know what He considers worth pursuing. I don't know if this is helpful in your case, but it's worth thinking about. I look forward to seeing the fruits of your time!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you need a tape recorder.
Tape recorders might be technology that is before your time, heh heh. :) But these days there are digital voice recorders and some smart phones also have voice recorders.

I remember a movie where actor Michael Keaton would talk into a tape recorder that he carried so he wouldn't forget any important ideas that came to him. Michael Keaton is probably before your time as well, heh heh. :)

God bless you. :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that instead of writing your novel on paper or typing it out on a computer, you could just talk your story out by talking into the voice recorder and then typing it out later.

Or at least you could just talk out the general scene and plot directions and then fill in the detalis later when you type it out.

Voice recorders are also great for college too. I used to bring a tape recorder to class and record the teacher's lecture in case I missed something because I couldn't write fast enough or if I just wanted to here the lecture again later (yes it was a tape recorder, which was very advanced technology back then, heh heh).

Tape recorders are also good study tools, you can listen again to lectures recorded in class, but you can also record yourself saying things that you need to memorize and then listen to yourself saying the thing you need to memorize over and over again.

Anyway, it's just a few suggestions that might help you and some of the others here.

God bless you all. :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot too say that the whole point of using a voice recorder is so you can remember important ideas, or work on your novel etc., while you are out doing something else. It's a way to get some work done when you catch a few slow or empty minutes here and there while you are on the go.

I keep forgetting to write things, I'm getting old, maybe I should carry a tape recorder so I won't forget. :O

God bless you all. :)