Category Archives: Writing

Why It’s Okay to Be A Writer Who Isn’t Writing

Okay to be a writer who isn't writing

You have to write to be a writer. Practice the craft. Put words to the page, even if they aren’t good words.

These are the mantras of the writing world.

And I understand them. I agree with them, even. If you want to get better at something—anything—you have to practice. That’s just a given.

But this writer, who loves the process and is dedicated to growing in the craft and writes stories in my brain all. the. time, is a writer who isn’t writing.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay because I find myself in a season of life that requires that my priorities shift away from finding daily time to hone my writing skills. And I know that there is a time for everything under the sun.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar place.

You know, when the characters in your head are so vivid that you start to worry that if you don’t get them onto the page they’ll take over and you’ll be committed and medicated.

Perhaps you should be committed for even enjoying the conversations you have with imaginary people. We can share a padded cell.

Whatever. All that aside, writing is a gift. It’s a talent. And if you want to be published, it’s a full-time job.

And I’m a writer who isn’t writing.

Shouldn’t I feel guilty?

Shouldn’t I worry that I’ll lose my “place” in the writing world if I’m not publishing at least three to five blog posts a week and adding 10 scenes a day to the 5 manuscripts I’ve got open on my desktop? Shouldn’t I feel bad that I’m not willing to give up my time with God, my husband, or my children in order to squeak in a few hours a day to write? Should I give up the precious little sleep I get? Shouldn’t I be laying aside everything else in my life to focus on this career because a) I believe it’s something God has called me to and b) because I love it and want to get my stories into the hands of readers all over the world?

No. No, I shouldn’t be laying aside everything else. It isn’t possible right now.

I’m a wife. I’m a mom. And those things cannot be set aside.

I’m also a sister, a daughter, a volunteer, a singer, a friend. I’m a chauffeur, teacher and researcher, a crafter and an organizer. I’m a cleaner, chef, and “life coach”. I’m a full-calendar-looking-for-time-to-breathe-most-days kind of person.

That’s life.

And it’s all this living that I’m doing that’s got me looking for writing time, wishing for it, and warring with myself over the feelings that come when I don’t get it.

Life is getting in the way of writing.

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But it’s the living that I want to write about.

Everyday living supplies the fuel for the fires of creativity.

Daily living is the thread that weaves together the soul of the writer with the heart of the reader.

Day-to-day tasks are what make us all human and create characters that touch lives and identify universally.

So you’ll please excuse me if I’m not writing full-time and not beating myself up about it.

A day will come when my children are grown and need me less, when my calendar clears and I find that my time isn’t already committed to the requirements of daily living. In that time I’ll be able to sit and give time and energy to my writing—the way I truly wish to.

And I’ll have so much life to write about.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

If you find yourself stuck between your passion and daily living, enjoy the moments of life that present the nuggets of genius that fuel your passion. Look for them. Seek them out in the day-to-day, identifying God’s touches everywhere.

Your ability to recognize those glistening moments from God’s fingertips is proof that you’re called to use them to His glory. He will lift you up, but enjoy the “due time.”

Share with me: What’s the one thing that takes up most of your waking hours? Job? Family? Volunteer work?

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The 5 Star Book– How Do You Rate Your Reads?

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There is nothing more disappointing than reading the last line of a book and thinking, “Well, that was a waste of time.”

When I think about my life in quantities of time, there’s really too little of it. I spend so much time doing things I have to do, that when I do something I want to do, I don’t want to feel like my time is wasted.

Wasted on soft plots. Wasted on unredemptive characters. Wasted on authors who clearly need to be psycho-analyzed. Wasted on filth for the sake of shock value or lack of creativity on the author’s part.

I don’t like to waste time on anything, especially on a bad story. Especially on a bad story that everyone else loves and it’s an international bestseller but when I read it I feel jipped—jipped of a good story and of the hours of my life I’ve wasted on a stinker of a book.

Maybe it’s me, but there are very few bestsellers that I’d give a stellar, 5 star review.

Goodreads is the greatest website ever invented. Period. It tracks the books I’ve read, the ones I want to read, and the ones I’m reading—without that site I would forget about so many wonderful books I want to spend time on. And I love that I can rate the books and leave reviews when I’m done reading.

What did we do before Goodreads? I mean, really? 🙂 I haven’t been able to add all of the books I’ve ever read to it, well, because I don’t remember them all, but if you’re interested in connecting with me on the site, look me up or click on the Goodreads link on the bottom right of this page.

A good review helps authors, so I’m always willing to leave a positive, honest review. I’m not afraid to leave a not-so-hot review, either, when I feel it is necessary, but I don’t leave “this was horrible” reviews just to be mean. If I really disliked a book, I usually won’t leave a review at all. That whole “if you don’t have something nice to say” thing…

Some authors get a little touchy about a review that isn’t a 5-star, but I rarely leave a 5-star review. An honest review rarely calls for 5 stars, and a 4-star review, even a 3-star, can be very, very positive. I can love a book and not give it 5 stars.

When you read a book, how do you rate it? What’s your rating scale? How do you distinguish a five star book from a four? A two from a one?

Here’s my book-rating scale:

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One Star—I didn’t like it at all. I probably didn’t finish reading it, most likely because the story was too disjointed (or just boring) or the filth was over-the-top.

Two Stars—I couldn’t connect. I didn’t love it and I probably won’t read any of the author’s other books. It was a struggle to finish the book, but I did finish.

Three Stars—I liked it. It held my interest with a decent plot and interesting characters and maybe even intrigued me a time or two. I will probably read the author’s other books and look forward to doing so.

Four Stars—I really enjoyed it. It was a good story with compelling characters, intriguing plot, and well-written prose. It gripped me and kept me turning pages. It kept me involved long after the story was over. I want to support this author by reading his or her other books.

Five Stars—I loved it. Something about the story or the characters moved me enough to add this book to my “read it again” list. This book sticks with me and I can’t let the story go. I will definitely read the author’s other books and will sing this book’s praises from the mountaintops.

So to make my 5 Star list, I have to want to read the book again. Maybe a couple more times. And I don’t always need a happy ending!

Writing, like any form of art, is subjective. You are going to dislike a book I love, and visa versa.

A good story connects us with humanity in the most basic way—a need to engage emotionally. Anger, fear, love, hatred, happiness, satisfaction…the mark of a good story is an emotion that is evoked; an emotion that sticks with you long after you’ve read the last line. [Click to tweet]


Share with me:What is your book rating scale? What does a book need to have to earn 5 stars from you? How about one star?

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One Word for 2013– The 6 Months Check-Up

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Commit.

That’s my word for 2013.

The year is going by quickly– over half gone already. If you’re like me, you find that hard to believe. Something about becoming a parent, or perhaps just growing older, causes time to fly.

So it’s time to evaluate how the word commit has influenced me so far.

I chose the word with the intention of using it to force me to change certain behaviors, adapt to new behaviors, and make me stronger both physically and mentally.

Some of the commitments I made for 2013–

I’ve committed to seeking God with every part of my life. Not that I wasn’t doing this before, but I will thread Jesus into every fiber of my being so tightly that when others look at me, especially my children, they see that my life is nothing without Christ. I am nothing without Him. I’m only held together by Him.

  • My children are eager to learn scripture and read Bible stories. They love talking to, and about, Jesus. This is not of my doing, but I hope it’s partly because we’ve set that example in our home.

I’ve committed to  exercise and health. I will lose all this baby weight, and I will be healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.

  • Because I’m eating healthier, my entire family is eating healthier. We’re not perfect (I refuse to give up chocolate), but I’m thankful that my family appreciates some healthy foods. My boys watch me exercise and I encourage them to join in. Their little bodies being a temple and all– I want them to establish healthy routines early.

I’ve committed to service and teaching. I will serve when God asks.

  • God has opened several doors for me in this area. Not only am I now teaching Sunday school, I will soon be leading a Bible study and re-launching the Women’s Ministry at my church. Big things are happening.

I’ve committed to writing. I will carve out time to write new material. I will be more active in the writing community than I’ve been in the past year.

  • Because I’ve spent the first half of this year either being pregnant or caring for a newborn (he’s three months old already!), I haven’t gotten very far on this one. I have story ideas popping in my head all the time, but I haven’t been able to establish a routine that allows me good writing time– yet. School starts back soon so my oldest 2 will get back to their normal routine and the baby will adapt to our routine. I’m looking forward to carving some writing time in there somewhere. I’m committed to it.

What has inspired me most about this word for 2013 is that along with it comes determination. I can’t “commit” to this word without directing that I will do certain things. It has forced me to do exactly what I’d hoped– change behaviors, make new behaviors routine, and seek out opportunities.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings.

Share with me: What is your word for 2013? How has it affected your life so far this year? (It’s not too late to choose a word if you don’t already have one!)

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