So, right now, as I’m writing this, it’s the last day of 2022…
Yeah. Craziness right there.
And now, as you’re reading this *unless you’re some future reader in 2034 or something* it is the first day of 2023!
To be honest, a new year can scare me. My planner brain whizzes into action mode. I can be caught up in everything I didn’t do and the lists and lists of goals for the following year. Which, don’t get me wrong, goals are amazing. But as I’ve been learning, sometimes it’s better to sit back and just listen to what God has for you.
What do I mean by this?
When I sit down to make goals I am usually thinking about one thing.
News flash, I’m a super purpose-driven person. I like to keep myself on a tight schedule and yes, my planner is full of lists. *for those planner people isn’t it SO SATISFYING to check off those boxes?*
However, with this comes a potential problem.
I judge my entire day on those lists!
I was talking to my mom and she gave me a few good tips and examples that I want to share with y’all. *Go Moms, right!?*
Imagine that my list says I want to edit a few chapters, and then write 1000 words. Trust me, I actually don’t have crazy things like that. *nervous laughter*
Let’s say something unexpected happens or I simply don’t have the mental space to complete it. So for that day, I only edit a single chapter.
No 1000 words. Those other two chapters were left unedited and in the dust. -_-
Now there are two ways I can approach this. I could punish myself for my ‘failure’. Or I could understand that life happens and trust God that the one chapter I DID edit was what he gave me to do that day.
So much better, right?
Now I know all of us are in different stages of life and have different methods. Sometimes there is the temptation to use ‘life‘ as an excuse for laziness or procrastination.
That’s where this advice stops. Figuring out the difference is between you and the Lord.
However, I hope this is encouraging to those planners out there. And even to the non-planners!
Production, or let’s say the AMOUNT of production is not endgame.
It’s what God has for you that day that’s important.
So celebrate that to the glory of God.
Now, you’re probably wondering… when am I going to stop talking about New Years and goals and start talking about an actual update… *cough, cough*
Okay, okay. I’ll get to it.
So for the past few months, friends, I have to admit, I was kind of in a writing slump.
For me a writing slump kind of goes back to what I was talking about before: production.
Right after I wrote that first Eden Update, I started editing my WIP.
(Honestly, I’m going to start calling it The Chess Book *trust me, it’s not the real title. And that’s all you get to know, hehehehe*)
I went a roundabout way of editing, started on the first chapters, researched SO MUCH about the editing process, and shared with some beta readers.
This went on for a few weeks before I began to feel stuck.
I looked at my messy first draft and was intimidated, scared, and VERY hesitant to do anything with it.
I had worked on the first chapter SO MUCH that I hated it. I looked at those messy sentences and wondered how I could ever fix this. It all seemed like TOO MUCH.
My love for the story didn’t change, which SHOULD have told me something, but hey I can be kinda clueless at times. I adored the characters, I felt the plot was getting stronger, and after my year and a half of work, it had promise.
And yet, I was SO scared by that first page that I just wanted to be PERFECT *raise your hand if you identify*, that I gave up.
I know, I know.
But I ALSO know that some of you can relate.
So during the last months in my attempt to run away from that draft, I started TEN different story ideas. I outlined entire plots for them, started so many first chapters, and sunk deeper and deeper into writing despair.
And then a single question crept up on me.
Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer?
Yeah, self-doubt hit, and I was frozen, going from one story to the next trying to make something perfect, something that wasn’t like that WIP draft.
Also, I should have been able to tell that I was still in love with The Chess Book cause almost all of my ideas followed a very similar plot line. *slaps forehead*
So, how did I get out of it? How am I here today, finally looking back?
Well, I was going on a walk with my sister one day. She is usually the first one to read most of my writing because her honesty is golden. We were talking about a new idea and I asked her for feedback.
She smiled and said something along these lines. “I like it. But what about the other one? That was my favorite. You need to finish it.”
Immediately, I responded with all my excuses. I was tired of it. I needed something new and exciting. It was too much work.
Through gentle encouragement *honestly, guys, I’m blessed with such awesome, supportive family members* my sister reminded me how hard I had worked on TCB (The Chess Book) and how much I truly loved it and was passionate about the theme. *Thanks sis!*
With that, I finally faced my fear and asked myself the terrifying question. Why didn’t I want to finish it?
Light bulb moment.
Now it wasn’t smooth sailing after that. I still had my battles and wanted to give up, especially when faced with that first chapter. I compared myself over and over again to every book on my shelf, not joking. Horrible idea.
But finally, God showed me this idol of my heart. Perfectionism.
Writer, your story will never be perfect. Let me spare you the pain of trying to make it so.
There will be a time when you just need to let it rest. There is a point when it is IMPOSSIBLE to make it any better. Any more editing will make it worse.
So, there I was, with the first chapter, with the draft I hated and loved, terrified to go any further.
I asked God over and over again to help me.
And friend, in His goodness and mercy, He did.
He gave me this prayer that I would love to share with you.
A Writer’s Prayer
To You, O Lord, I give my pen, my tongue, my mind. My words, whether few or many, are my humble offering. Take them and point them to Yourself, glorifying Your Holy Name. Let those who read them know this greater purpose. Guard my heart against prideful boasting and selfish gain and forgive me for my ideas of perfectionism and production. Give me the words you want me to say and give me contentment in each one. Help me use the skills you gave me to make you great.
Notice a difference? It’s not me, me, me. It’s You, You, You.
My heart is aligned with a different purpose. And no matter how many words I write, or how many messy drafts I have, I can press on.
Because I have a greater purpose than production and perfectionism.
I’m making his name great and that’s what I am here on this earth to do.
So press on, writer, press on.
The Lord is right there with you.