Author's Life · Writer's Journal

When I’m Not Writing, I’m Still Writing

I looked at my March goals in my planner today, surprised to see I’d written one about writing: add 20,000 words to the manuscript. Not an unachievable goal at all. But, when I looked at my writing history so far for the month, I have written 9,662. Not even halfway to the goal with only 8 days remaining counting this day.

Why have I so miserably neglected writing this month? I could make excuses about distractions of the mind. Which are true, but I also know when I write, those distractions disappear.

On the other hand, I believe not having any goals or deadlines except the ones I place on myself are easily pushed aside. A blessing mostly, as at my stage of life, I need the flexibility of days doing nothing but being still. It is in those moments I connect with God. If I fail to do this, Satan will undermine not only my writing but every aspect of my life. Not easily pushed aside.

In these remaining 8 days, I will write every day. Some days I’m more proliferate than others and I accept this as normal. Recently I told a dear friend, also a writer, the story is finished when the story is finished. Don’t focus on word count. I need to listen to my own advice!

Since writing to me is more than whatever manuscript I’m working on, I know I’m using my skills in good ways. Daily posting something filled with hope and inspiration on Facebook (a mission), writing three blogs a week, and capturing God moments in my personal journal.

I look at this as, “even when I’m not writing, I’m writing.” It’s all in how we use our gifts.

Author's Life

The Case for Writing

After doing my taxes this year, I once again wondered if having a writing career was worth the effort. Once before I listened to the wrong voice and took down all my books from publication and retired. It lasted almost two years before I knew it wasn’t a good decision for me. This time, I’m not listening to the wrong voice again.

See, I love creating new stories! I love feeling the characters guide me to show their lives on paper for others to enjoy. It’s part of who I am. Even though I hadn’t written for a long time, when I opened up my partially finished long ago manuscript, the words began to flow. The feedback on the finished book was really good. I knew then this was a path God had chosen for me to minister to the world.

For the past two weeks, I haven’t followed the schedule I established for myself in order to meet a self-set goal to complete this new book by the end of April. That’s what is great about being my own boss. I can change my deadlines, my schedule, and it’s perfectly fine. Everything happens in God’s timing, not mine. Accepting this makes writing even more joyful.

With God, I find when I open my work in progress, I don’t even have to think about what happens next. I’ve already written an outline which keeps me on track for developing new scenes, but I have the flexibility of writing as many as needed and in whatever way reveals itself. I just write. And the words seem to continue flowing. I don’t stop to think. I trust God.

I see and feel the characters. I write a lot of dialogue, mostly because of this. When people are together, they talk. That’s true for my characters as well. Dialogue moves the story forward and reveals hidden truths as needed. This works well in my contemporary romance books. I know historical writers whose stories are much, much longer than mine. Through years of studying writing and applying to my voice and genre, I began to write tighter stories. And that’s okay. I write to please God, not a word count, nor a publisher. I write because I love everything about it. I love the feel of the keyboard under my fingers, the very slight click of the keys, and all the words flowing across the white screen.

The book is finished when the story is told with all issues resolved and there is a happy ending. So, no, I’m not going to listen to the wrong voice this time. I’m following God’s path for the gift He provided. If the story reaches one person who needs to read it, then I’ve done my part and God will do the rest. That’s my case for writing.