The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't listen to the voices!

Recovery time and being confined to bed provides a lot of time to think.  Sometimes that's good....but sometimes those voices seem to swirl around me.

I'm not crazy. least not clinically.  We all hear voices from time to time.  Those thoughts that highlight the slightly untruths until beads of perspiration dance across our forehead and our stomach is invaded with little men in pointy hats and spike shoes. 

"What makes you think you can write?"
"No one reads your stuff."
"You haven't sold in a while because you aren't good."
"You'll never make it, why don't you get a real job?"
"Wait till that new article comes out and then everyone will know for sure that you aren't a writer."

I was suffering through one of those times last night and instead of crying I grabbed my iPod.  I listened to Debbie Maycomber's lectures from Mt. Hermon 2008.  She began by telling everyone her writing story.  She's dyslexic, had financial troubles along the way and is a very creative speller. 

Her lecture ended with the plea to not listen to the voices.  "If I had listened to all those voices that said:
Debbie's such a nice little girl but she'll never amount to anything.
Throw that manuscript away, it can't be fixed.
You'll never be a real writer......I wouldn't have had the great life that writing has provided!"

If she had listened to all those voices she wouldn't have kept trying and she would have missed the pleasure of being on every best seller list, of selling over a million copies of the book that an editor said to throw away, and the joy of knowing that she IS a great writer.

Don't listen to the voices!  Instead, shake them off.  Go for a walk (wish I could).  Listen to an inspiring talk or read an inspiring message. 

Now get busy and be all that God has called you to be!

God loves you and has called you to write!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Writer's overload block

I'm sure there's not a writer alive that hasn't experienced writer's block.  We all face the white screen hoping that some mystical transition will take place and in a white cloud of smoke - pulizer prize winning words will appear.

I'm wondering though if some of you have experienced writer's overload block.  That's when my agent likes the proposal but thinks it drops off here and there and needs some punching up.  "Can you check all 40,000 words against the Chicago Manuel of style and make sure chapters 3, 5 and 8 don't drag as much as they do."

"Sure I can do that."  I respond in my brightest voice.

It's only days later when I stare at the mountain of work and wonder if I'll ever be able to complete the necessary fixes.  My head hurts and I wonder why I ever started this project in the first place.  Sound familiar? 

A lot of famous people have the same problem. 

Dorothy Parker is quoted with "I hate to write.  I love to have written."  Many writers have used this quote to express their frustrations with writing.

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. ~George Orwell, "Why I Write," 1947

Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear - and devils, too. ~Graycie Harmon

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. ~Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades, 1947

One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one's own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one's pen. ~Leo Tolstoy

If I'm trying to sleep, the ideas won't stop. If I'm trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. ~Carrie Latet

Writing is a struggle against silence. ~Carlos Fuentes

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

Today, I'm plowing into my book and taking it one word at a time.  Just like the old saying how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Today, I'm biting at my manuscript. 

Huff....Puff...stare into space....

I'll leave you with the best quote of all.

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we? ~Terri Guillemets

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, March 15, 2010

On the mend....

I've spent the last month learning a lot about medical issues and the power of God.  I had to have massive reconstructive surgery on my foot.  For weeks before the surgery I planned ways I could continue to work while in recovery.  I moved my computer into the bedroom and practiced how to place the pillows so I could elevate my foot and still work. 

I am slightly claustrophobic and therefore was nervous about the cast.  To occupy my mind and keep me concentrating on other things, I lined up a lot of work to do.  I felt confident going into the surgery that I was prepared and that this would actually make me stronger. 

Ahhh.....but I didn't consult God about what He wanted me to learn.  Isn't that always the way?  We try to plan and direct the show ourselves - when in reality God wants us to step aside and let Him show us a new path.

2 Cor. 12: 9-10

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Are you like me?  Do you want to plan everything about your writing career?  Do you want to do such a great job that you can offer it up to God by saying, "Look, I did this all by myself and now I've decided to give it to you." 

We think that by doing all the right things that somehow we are gaining God's approval.  When in actuality he wants this journey to be a "joint" effort.  He wants to be part of the process.  He doesn't want or need our success.  What he does want is a relationship and to be a part of the process.

There were complications after surgery.  After coming home I found I couldn't take the pain medicine and we spent another week trying to find something that would ease the enormous pain.  Just four days after I was home, Ron called to let me know he was losing his job.  I spent hours crying and days looking at a dormant computer and wondering if I would ever write again. 

Finally....I gave it up.  Finally, I hit bottom and realized that I can't do anything without God's help.  Finally, I admitted my writing was worthless without his input. 

In my despair and bottomless pit of pain - God showed up.  He touched me and within hours the tears were dry and the pain was bearable.  Please allow me to change one word in this verse...

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in YOUR weakness."

I can't promise that I've once and for all learned my lesson.  My nature is to plan and that's just part of what I do, but I hope that the next time I face a difficult situation I'll turn first to the Savior and ask, "What would you have me do this time?"

God loves you and has called you to write,