Writing in the Cracks

6:00 AM

You know how I was so confident last week that I would post Saturday? As you can see, that didn't happen. SO. I have decided to alter my schedule a bit. Since this is a common struggle for me, I'm going to start posting on either Saturday or Sunday. That way if I don't end up getting it in time on Saturday, I can just put it up Sunday. Kind of a grace day concept. :)

Anywho. Just a minor update there! I had lots of graduation stuff going on and had written a partial post, but completely forgot to finish it. Let this be a mini note to give yourself grace. When something just isn't working for you and your schedule, try altering it or changing things up a bit instead of beating yourself up about it and trying to force it to work.

I have a new story idea. It came out of the blue last Friday, and it already has a journal dedicated to it and a 15 page document on my computer.

The unique thing about this book idea is that I've already started writing it. I don't really think of it as a book I'm currently writing, because I'm deep in edits for The Dream Walkers and it's not even a book I was planning to write next. Yet it rose from a topic that means a lot to me.

I've been trying to pin it down. Why am I writing this book? There's an idea I've had for several years that I am crazy excited about. I have so many pages of ideas, and I've brainstormed and made pinterest boards and All the Things for it. There's another idea that I want to write for July Camp Nano this year, similar in genre to the book I wrote a year before, The House at the End of the Lane. 

Both of those ideas, and countless others, have been around much longer. They're more fleshed out, and I've had a lot of time to think about and get excited for them. In other words, I have plans for them. And the funny thing about this book is that I have absolutely no plan for. At all. I don't know if it's something I want to publish. I don't know if I'll write it this year or in twelve.

But I do know that I need this story in my life. The main character is facing some of the same issues I am, in a different sense. And she is how I'm answering a lot of pressing questions. My book writing and planning process is very God-directed. I'm waiting for Him to lead the plot along. And the other day, when I got two very vivid scenes, I decided to write them. And just like that, I've got 5k of this random book that I only got the idea for a week ago.

Seems pretty random, doesn't it?

God is so cool. He takes our plans and tosses them out the window. He has much better ideas for us, if we are willing to hear His voice.

Part of me wants to dive headfirst into this idea. The other key pieces of the plot are just out of reach. I know if I tried really hard, I could probably get to them. But I realized something. This book is different. The idea is coming in a way no other has ever come before. And, as a result, this book is special. I believe God has a plan for it, and I'm going to trust in Him and His timing.

Write in the cracks. That's what came to me as I was writing up a note to explain how this project would work. Editing DW is top priority. But this book isn't going to be forgotten.

Long story short, you can work on more than one book at once. If you get tired of editing (does anyone not get tired of editing?), have another project that you can fall back on. Something that you don't just brainstorm on. Something that you can actually write. A way to unleash that creative desire. It's beautiful. It's healthy. It's new.

Write in the cracks of your life, in the bits of time you find waiting for you. Let writing bring you joy! That's part of why we do it, after all.

Do you work on multiple books at a time, or just one? 


The Importance of Discipline

7:00 AM

Hello, lovely writers! 

If you follow my blog, you might have noticed that I've been absent the past two weeks. Neither of those absences was intended or planned, yet they happened and I don't have much excuse.

But I have been reflecting on it, and thus comes a post :) Bear with me. It's a good message (I hope).

See, life is only getting crazier. I'm graduating. I had classes to finish up, deadlines on a number of things. I have a job, and not to mention being one of seven children, oldest of four younger siblings. Unread books sit in piles on my dresser and desk, and my younger brothers are pulling at my sleeve every other minute begging me to come play with them.

My hands are filled to bursting, and it's nearly impossible to keep things from slipping through my fingers. I've been wondering for a while what would happen here at the blog after I left for college. It's my hope to keep posting weekly, but it might not happen. I don't know yet.

But I do know one thing. The past few weeks have taught me that if you want to do something, you have to make a decision to do that thing. (Yes, I know. I could have used better wording but you get the meaning.)

Another word for that would be discipline. It takes discipline to do things you don't necessarily want to do in the moment. But you have to decide beforehand that you're going to do those specific things. Otherwise, your motivation will be like coffee brewed through already used week-old grounds. You're left staring at brown tinted, mold flaked hot water and expecting yourself to drink it.

That's not fair for anyone.

I want to note really quickly that discipline is done out of love. Discipline does not equal beating yourself up when you make a mistake or bashing yourself and treating yourself horridly. That's punishment, and that's quite a different matter. Discipline is self control. It's commitment.

Discipline has a partner, and that would be called motivation. It's that warm gooey feeling in your bones that helps you get stuff done, come up with ideas, and be generally productive.

But while we can discipline ourselves with relative ease, such is not the case with motivation. So how do we get motivation? How do we fix the lack of motivation syndrome? This is something people have been wondering for ages, and since no one else has come up with a solid answer, I think it's a somewhat safe assumption to make that there is no fixed cure. But if we look at what motivation is, that might give us some ideas.

#1: Motivation is a feeling.

This is key. Feelings cannot be forced. They come and go as they please. Motivation is as tricky as any.

#2: Motivation can be jump-started. 

Just like seeing your best friend fills you with happiness, or watching March of the Penguins makes you cry, motivation can be triggered in you. You just have to find the right materials to produce that response. Some people make to-do lists. Others use a reward system. Some use both. Find what works for you, what gets you fired up to write or blog or edit or study or whatever it is. Find what helps get your motivation churning and use that to help you out in low spots.

#3: Discipline can operate solo. 

When none of your tactics are working to create motivation, when nothing seems to fill you up and make you want to do the thing you're faced with, discipline comes to the rescue. You've decided to write that chapter, and by golly you're going to do it. It doesn't matter if your eyes are drooping and you really want to pick up that new book that just came in the mail. You made a choice to write a chapter. And what's more, you said you were going to do it. On paper, out loud, to a friend, whatever it was. You are committed. It takes discipline to keep to commitments, but if you do keep to them, you'll find that it's not just your writing that improves. Your attitude will. You will. You as a person will develop a stronger character and a good dependable backbone.

But you want to know a secret? Sometimes, if you simply do the Thing, if you feel like you really don't want to do it and can barely manage to work up the willpower, holding yourself accountable and doing it often brings that feeling of motivation back. It's not always the case, but you never know when simply doing the Thing instead of stalling will stir your love for it again.

I'm making a commitment to post when I can, and even though this week is going to be just as crazy as the last, I'm not going to chicken out. I'll see you guys next week :)

Do you struggle to motivate yourself? What are some methods you use to inspire motivation in yourself?


Under the Sun // the importance of resonance

6:00 AM

There's nothing new under the sun. Can we really contribute to the world? Can we really share anything new?

There's a key point here. Under the sun. That's where we live. We all live under the same sun. We're all the same in some ways, yet we are vastly different.

So if we're all living on this earth, and we all have this in common, and there's nothing new to be had ... that begs the question: why do we write, and what should our writing contain, if not newness?

I will first point out that there is newness to be had. Just not pure originality. But we can take mixtures and combinations and throw them together and make something wild and beautiful. We don't get annoyed with people for not being "new". People are people, and while we all have so much in common, and every trait you have can be found in someone else somewhere on this planet, that doesn't make those people any less unique and interesting. What matters is the combination of known things in an individual person (or story), and how those combine to create something in and of itself, which could be thought of as new.

But I want to focus on the question I mentioned above. Why do we write, and what should our writing contain, if not newness?

The short answer? Truth.

We write to show the truth about the reality we live in. About human nature and conflict and pain and happiness and joy and love and sorrow and grief. We write to explore these concepts that everyone knows and everyone faces at some point in their lives.

We write to explore the deeper meanings of what we already know. Where did this idea come from, anyway, that says our writing has to be full of new things? If we could create something completely new, it wouldn't be as amazing as you might think because people wouldn't even be able to relate to it. They might find it wild and interesting and highly entertaining, but it wouldn't last because they wouldn't be able to connect to it. And if we can't connect, it doesn't really have true meaning.

The best stories are great because they contain the rawest forms of things we know. And those things resonate with us.

That's what story telling is really about. It's about writing relatable stories that touch our hearts. It's about writing the truth to issues we face. It's about doing the opposite of what we often feel we need to do. It's about plunging headlong into what we know and experience every day, and confronting the truth in those things.

Where the newness comes in is with how we approach it. And the opportunities to do that are quite endless. The combination of truths to explore and the ways to explore them are limitless. Don't stress about not being "original" enough. If you have a message pumping through your veins, it'll find a way to make itself heard. Truth has a hard time keeping quiet.

Do you struggle with writing new ideas? What are some common truths that you explore in writing? 


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