Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feeding a writer's soul without writing

Over the last year and a half, I have started to be intentional about a few things that I felt were missing out of my life. There were no gaping holes, but a slow drifting and shifting of things that left me feeling unsatisfied and listless. Without the pressure of small children at home running a constant and steady stream of needs, I felt the beginning of a time. Short lived it would be, but who says seasons of life need to be certain lengths of time?

I decided that this was the season for me to plan, plan to be a writer, try to see what would happen with it, pursue it as much as I could. Schedule time for it and keep it.

I've always written, I remember a book about my pet bird when I was four or so. I've kept up numerous blogs over the years, I'm notorious for belated handwritten birthday cards. I couldn't even fully give up a literature degree for an education one, even though I knew I would always be a teacher.

So in this season, I didn't keep a blog, I didn't write many letters, I didn't even keep up writing in a journal on a consistent basis. Instead, I started learning about writing. I started listening to podcasts, I started planning and researching and looking into publications that I thought would be interesting. Instead of jumping in and just doing it as I've always been prone to do, this was slightly more calculating, a little more passive. At first I thought it was because I was so unsure of myself, bruised and not sure about exposing myself. But instead it turns out it was a little more about slowing down the process and allowing myself to enjoy aspects I'd never considered before. To consider an audience, to look at varying lenses or avenues of what message I may even have to share, to plan and plot goals instead of setting deadlines for myself. In short, it was weird.

It's totally not what writers will tell you to do. I know because I listened to all their podcasts, I watched their webinars. A writer should write, no matter if it's good, no matter if anyone ever sees it. But I didn't. I made lists and Trello boards of options, I talked to mentors about needs, I brain mapped audiences where I'd have influence.

Finally I broke down and started. I prayer journaled. I started with thoughts on a book with a long distance friend. Literature analysis is easy and comforting to me. I interspersed it with a post or two on here.All the while dropping "Oh I'm writing" on acquaintances in the coffee shop to judge reactions.

Then one day I sat down and did it. I knew of a devotional publication looking for open submissions. I'd never even used their devotionals, but I knew the deadline loomed. I set myself a goal. I would not get up until I'd submitted two for publication (go big or go home). I did it and waited. I found it not as hard to wait as I thought it would be. There was a release in the waiting, no pressure no sacrifice.

The rejection wasn't as hard as I'd anticipated also. I had no grand delusions of being heralded as a huge writing success right away, so anticipating this wasn't hard. But ultimately my goal was to submit. I'd submitted and given this endeavor over to the Lord. I had discovered that for once my writing should be devoted to Him. And there's the thick of it, it was His. It was submitted to Him not to a company, not for myself, but for Him.

I'm not sure where this goes from here, this season. It will look different soon. It will be less scheduled, less concentrated, I will be pulled away in different places. But this time has set up a framework for me, reawakened a desire and fueled a purpose.