Writer's Journal

Danger Lurks in Taking Too Long of a Break

What does taking a break do for a writer? Does it give clarity to questions about the strength of a work in progress? Does it give clarity about questions of what’s next?

When I have questions, I need to step away and pray, think, calm my mind and soul. I believe this is necessary no matter what our lifestyle might include. But, as a writer, I’ve learned that staying away from what my heart longs to do is detrimental. It allows doubt to creep in and creates a perfect state of mind to let Satan do his best to destroy my courage and confidence.

I forget everything about the characters I’ve created and their story. Oh, I know the minimal basics but the longer I stay away, the more cardboard and dull everything seems. This is exactly what Satan wants! I can hear him saying, “That writer is in doubt. Attack!”

My most recent break extended into more than a month. In order to get back to the writing, I had to print out what I’d already written, well over a hundred pages, and start reading from the first word in chapter one. Imagine! You’d think I would be so invested I wouldn’t need to do this. Maybe some would be able to jump right back in. Not me.

All the doubt surrounding my story is falling away as I read. I thumb my nose at Satan. God is stronger than him. When I turn my writing over to God, I find the words flow freely. I need to remain aware that God is with me always. The Holy Spirit guides me every day, and when I’m writing I have the counsel I need when research is needed. I feel as if Jesus is smiling at me when I’m in the zone. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Now that the weather is permitting, I can sit outside and write while listening to birds singing. My porch is the place where I feel in the midst of the beautiful sanctuary God has created. This is where I find my peace and once again I am writing. It’s all about Him.

No matter what our life dreams are, if we actively pursue them, we need to be aware that Satan is watching us. He will use any weakness he spots as a sign to attack. In these end times, he prowls more openly to turn us against ourselves. We need to stay grounded in our faith and pray without ceasing. God will not put doubt into our minds. Stay strong and be kind, compassionate and loving. And remember everything good happens in God’s timing, not ours.

Writer's Journal

I Have the Stylus!!

My daughter came to visit for a few days. Next youngest daughter stopped by yesterday and we had a nice time just sharing and having fun. Before she left, she wanted to take a selfie with the three of us. Then older daughter decided she wanted to use her phone and take a picture. She had a newer phone with a stylus that could be used for selfies. She had trouble getting a good angle, so younger daughter took it and held it. She touched the phone button to take the picture, but older daughter said, “Don’t press the button. I have the stylus!”

Okay, two daughters. What do you think happened? Yes, younger daughter kept pressing the phone button, and older daughter was insistent she had control with the stylus. You guessed it…here is the result.

I can think of nothing better to do when I’m not writing than having a great time with family! I also learned I don’t want one of those styluses!

Writer's Journal

The Author’s Spiritual Battle

You’d think that after 17 years, I’d realize when Satan is attacking me, especially my writing efforts. It took being with my small group this week to see clearly what was happening. The topic I’m addressing in the book is one that is very volatile in our world today. He wants me to give up. Oh, and he gives me so many reasons I should.

Reasons like: I deserve to retire and just enjoy my hobbies. Statistics say I shouldn’t have many years left on this earth, so don’t fill my days with working. Or the big one–the plot is weak, the writing done poorly.

I think all writers fall into these doubts from time to time. For me, it hits right at the middle, even though I have tested my outline and had others look at it as well. I backed off for a month. Doing so takes me out of the story completely. This was a win for Satan.

But I’m not going to let him win the battle. I printed off the pages already written and have been reading. I’m inspired that it is well written, the plot line is intact, and I want to read what happens next! The one thing I have to remember is God will never say I should do nothing for His Kingdom! He wouldn’t tell me to stop writing.

When Satan attacks, he is so sneaky. He knows which buttons to push. After all, he’s had a lot of years to perfect his attacks against me. But God is bigger, better, stronger, and greater than him! Patience, trust, and obedience will persevere against the evil one.

So, take that Satan! You lose!

Writer's Journal

Working on an Outdated Mac

Years ago I decided to use Scrivener for my writing platform. I have loved it. No problems at all. During these years I also used both a desktop and then laptop HP computers. However, I became disgruntled with HP recently with the last two printers and this past year when Windows 11 launched. Ugh. Slowed my laptop down significantly. Nothing worked as it used to. Things would disappear and also appear without my clicking to open them. I was so frustrated and I didn’t want to spend the money to purchase a new laptop to replace the one I bought in 2018.

I decided I really wanted to try an Apple computer. Especially after I began writing my draft manuscript on my new (older generation) iPad. But the prices were way, way out of my budget (which has little discretionary funds). What if I did invest and then hated it? That’s when I decided to step into the refurbished territory. It would be the perfect way to see if I liked using a Mac. After research, I decided on a late 2013 iMac all in one with the Catalina OS.

It didn’t take long for me to get used to the differences between this and the HP Windows world I’d grown up in. I haven’t found one thing I dislike about this computer. It has a 21.5 inch display which is a lot bigger than my 15 inch laptop. I haven’t missed using Microsoft Word yet. I was using an old version of Word off a disc I purchased a long time ago (Office Standard 2007). Can you tell I’m not one to upgrade to the newer and (supposedly) greater in anything?

Other than wishing I had a laptop for portable purposes, I am perfectly satisfied with the older version of Mac. I don’t care that the OS is no longer supported. If it works, why break it? At the low cost of this computer, I can replace it if the time comes.

My writing is stored on Dropbox so I can open the writing in Scrivener on either the computer or iPad without any problem. Everything is updated and ready to go. Now, all I need to do is get over this latest bout of “what do I do next” and finish the book.

Writer's Journal

Time for Outdoor Writing

This week has been so awesome! Temps in the mid to high 70’s which makes perfect porch time. Unfortunately my house faces west so I get the late afternoon sun shining directly into my office, bedroom and living room. Mornings are best for spending time on my front porch. But, I do have roll down shades which provide relief from the direct sun.

Yesterday I put them down so I could sit on the porch. Once I get my mind together on “what happens next” in the work in progress book, I will be writing outside. When I first moved into this condo, I spent a lot of time on the porch writing. I had a difficult time seeing the screen on the laptop, but now I am writing on my iPad so it provides a much better experience.

I remember when my late husband and I went camping, I had one of those little battery operated machines that had a two or three line display. It was lightweight and very portable. It went everywhere with me! After coming home, I’d upload it to my desktop computer. It was really handy. The interesting part about having such a thing is editing while writing is not feasible. The iPad, using Scrivener as my writing platform, works the same for me. It keeps me in a writing state of mind and editing is pushed aside.

I might spend time today, might being the key word, rethinking the direction of the book. Once I get past the idea that it needs to be modified before moving forward, the rest should come quickly. But I do have plans for the next few days, so the rethinking might wait until next week. Ah, the privilege of being my own boss!