Guest Blogger TABATHA SCHEFFLER of shares encouragement for the "Hopeful Writer" today! Tabs is part of our Good News Christian Writers Team. Learn all about her on our Faculty Bio page!
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.
Coo-coo, coo-coo, coo-coo.
Another hour passes, and we were so busy that we didn’t have time to . . .
Does that sound familiar? It is one of the most discussed topics today. We are always saying things like, “Gosh, where did all the time go?” or “I wish I had more time to_____” especially when it comes to our writing. Yet each of us is given the same amount of time each day. What is the difference between a writer that is published and a Hopeful Writer?
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heaven."
Hopeful Writers get caught up in the daily activities in their lives whether it be going to work, spending time with the kids, sleeping, making/eating dinner or getting ready for the next day. All these things are immensely important, BUT so is the writing to which we are called. And yet it seems we often allow our call to write to take the back burner in our minds.
Hopeful Writers also may have family and friends that forget that the Hopeful Writer is—a Hopeful Writer. Have you ever sat at your computer, and someone comes by assuming you’re not doing much? I have. In my house, if I was sitting at my computer, loved ones in the house acted as though I was doing nothing in particular and therefore, I must have time to talk.
So, how do we fight for our right to WRITE? I am happy to remind you of a few secrets that you probably already know but may have forgotten.
First, schedule time to write and mark it in your calendar. This purposely sets aside time in your day or week for writing. My calendar has at least an hour a day, at the same time every day, to write. It is a constant reminder that I am led to write. It also stops me from considering other things more important than my writing by deliberately making time for it during my busy days. It stops the guilty feelings that can haunt me when I write instead of doing other seemingly urgent things. I choose to write during that time slot. Other things can wait their turn.
Next, create a space for your writing. I cannot write in a space that is cluttered, busy, and loud. I try to have a room in my house and a place outside in my backyard that is fairly quiet--a place where I don’t do anything else there but write. Research proves that when you do the same thing in the same place all the time, you are better able to do that thing each time you sit in that place. When asked about his prayer life and how he is able to keep his mind on prayer, Charles Stanley shared that he has a prayer closet he uses exclusively for prayer. By setting aside a designated space, his mind body and spirit became accustomed to the idea that the “only think you do when you’re ‘here’ is pray.” Creating a space to write lets others know that when you are in your space, you are busy writing.
What inspires you? Figure out what helps you to be creative. I like to pray before I start to write. Some people need coffee or tea while they’re writing, and others need music. Some writers employ a unique way to keep notes for their upcoming blog or article. When I write, my pet Rock sits on my computer keeping me company. Do whatever it takes to help you make the most of your writing time.
Now that you’ve scheduled writing time on your calendar, set aside a space in which to write, and found things that inspire or help you concentrate on your work, try to write as many times during the week as possible. The more you do it, the easier it will be to continue to do it. Studies show that if you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. Make it a habit to write for an hour a day.
BUT I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK. NOW WHAT?
What happens when you don’t know what to write? Read. Take notes on what you read. Review a devotional and see if it sparks a thought. Brainstorm writing ideas and record them in a journal to use during the times when you aren’t sure what to write. Ask someone to give you a topic and then research and write for as many minutes as you can on the topic. You may be surprised what comes from it.
I have a journal called Tidbits filled with conversations that I have had or heard of that struck a chord for me. I write them down so they are stored for that “rainy day” when I can’t figure out what to work on. These tidbits become ideas for a book I’ve called Truth Be Told or Snippets of Truth.
For instance, during a discussion I once had with a young man about Adam and Eve, he said, “Eve must have been really dumb.” I asked the young man why he thought that and he replied, “Why would anyone believe what a snake says?“ His thinking, though simple and logical to him suggested to me that we, as adults, tend to complicate matters that have to do with right and wrong. We might be able to make wiser decisions if we broke things down to their core issues. I wrote this down in my Tidbits notebook about a year ago. Eventually, I expanded this tidbit thought into a devotional writing.
NO writing should be tossed in File 13. I keep even the smallest writings and am often surprised how things I couldn’t use in one piece, become useful in a different piece. There are no thoughts, no writings that God brings to your mind that won’t be handy at some point.
Sometimes the little scraps and phrases you keep can be great writing starters. I once wrote a piece about talking with God. There were some examples that didn’t make the final edit because of the required word count. I kept the examples and used them later for something entirely different.
Both published and Hopeful Writers have several things in common, but one of the absolutes in life for all people (writers and non-writers) is this one fact: They all have 86,400 seconds in a day. That’s right. You read it correctly. We all have 86,400 seconds in a day--not a second more, not a second less. How you use those 86,400 seconds is up to you. But for those of us who are called to write, we may need to fight for those seconds.
We need to fight for our right to WRITE.
How About Some Good News!
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