balance, Christian, faith, hope, inspiration, life, motivation, personal, spiritual, time management

Striving for Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Some days I feel like I am taffy, pulled in so many different directions. So many goals. So many needs around me. So many things I want to do. So what do I focus on first? What do I strive for the most?

I had one of those “step on my own toes” moments this morning in my daily quiet time. I am using Jesus Calling, Devotion for Every Day of the Year, by Sarah Young, and what I read spoke to my heart and I wanted to share a part of the text with you today:

Save your best striving for seeking my face. I am constantly communicating with you. To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else. Anything that you desire more than Me becomes an idol. When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness. Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it. Let the Light of My Presence shine on this pursuit, so that you can see it from My perspective. If the goal fits into My plans for you, I will help you reach it. If it is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of your heart. Seek Me first and foremost; then the rest of you life will fall into place, piece by piece.  I Chronicles 16:11; Matthew 6:33

Yep, a toe stepper for sure. I tend to go forth doing what I want to do, asking God to bless my efforts instead of listening for His leading and praying about which direction to take.

The answer to the “Who, What, When, Where, Why” of striving is easy. It’s our Lord God. It’s always all about Him. He is the One and Only. He is the answer…the best answer. Always and forever.

May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

beginning, challenge, contests, discipline, encouragement, fiction, time management, writing, writing fun

Speedbo and Me

I am embarking on a new adventure this month and it is called SPEEDBO, hosted by the incredible ladies at Seekerville. If you have heard of NaNoWriMo or Book-in-A-Month, then you know what kind of adventure I am talking about.

SPEEDBO stand for Speed Book…I think. It is all about writing a book in a month, or at least write as much of a book in a month as you can. You set your daily word count. You don’t have to share if you met your daily goal. You just write the most you can, every day. Simple as that. I’ve even added a word count meter in the side bar…look to your right…to keep track of my progress for the month.

Stop by Seekerville’s blog HERE for instructions to sign up. Did I mention they have tons of prizes to dish out for those participating and commenting on the blog? Hmmmm, yeah…they are awesome like that.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up and be my accountability partner! 

blogging, time management, writing

Blogging VS Writing

I know I have been vocal in my confusion and wishy-washy writing plans. Well, I’m going to continue to share my struggles. Many of you may have read Jody Hedlund’s post Friday, and I do believe I was the inspiration for the post. I could be wrong about that, but if it wasn’t me, then it might as well have been. I’ve jumped in too soon. I’ve let the internet and writer’s networking take over my time and energy. I’ve given in to the race for publication before I am ready, not being able to let go of my first manuscript, and not developing the skills needed to be successful.

You see, I am a young writer. I have completed one manuscript, and have written half of another. I never finished editing the first, because it was beyond my capabilities at the time. I have carried shame about that, especially since won first place in the TBL contest last year. I mean, what writer doesn’t edit? If I cannot make myself edit, how can I call myself a writer?

I started a new story and got half-way through it, but wasn’t loving the genre as much. Contemporary is easier  in some ways, but was harder for me to keep the tension up. So I decided to go back to historical and try that, all the while trying to keep up a blog, visit other people’s blogs, and read books. I remember how I could devour books in one sitting…for pleasure! I miss that.

I work a full time job and am a pastor’s wife, so my time is limited. I have spent so much time on blogs that it has sucked me dry writing-wise. I am struggling to do it all, and I am failing. I’ve been so bummed about all of it, that writing hasn’t even been fun! Imagine!

So, I am taking the pressure off. I am scaling way back. I will post on Mondays and I will post at The Writer’s Alley on every other Tuesday. I will also be pulling back on my blog reading. I am so sorry to everyone who I can’t get to, but at this time in my life, I need to feed my inner writer.

I need time. Time to be creative. Time to let the words flow. Time to learn to edit without pressure to be perfect. Time to become a real writer.

* Tomorrow at The Writer’s Alley, I am talking about the First Glance of Love. You know, the moment that a person sets eyes on their destined love. The heart pounding, breath-stealing glance. Stop by tomorrow for a look at two of my favorite First Glance scenes from Lynn Kurland and Jenny B Jones. 

time management

December Time Stealer

We all love Christmas, but many of us don’t care for the busyness of December. There are parties to attend, parties to plan, presents to shop for, presents to wrap. There are basketball games (if you have tall sons like me), concessions to sell at, and tournaments to drive to. There are cookies to bake, candy to make, stockings to stuff, and houses to decorate. It’s a busy time.

So when to you find time to write? If you work outside the home like me, you either get up a little early or stay up a little late. But with life so busy, my energy lags and I want to do neither. I think sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to not be quite as productive as we would really like.

It’s okay to only write 500 or 250 words instead of our 1000 a day plan. It’s okay to edit only a few pages instead of a chapter a day. Give yourselves some slack. It’s only for a season, and January will come before you know it and present you with time to rest and recharge. Your fingers will fly across the keyboard with all the renewed energy!

Enjoy the season of God’s love and gift of His Son.

NaNoWriMo, time management, writing

Writing Woes & NaNo Foes

My 2 sisters, being silly carving the turkey a few years ago!

I really shouldn’t have used such a downer title, because there are good things going on in my writing life. But…I am woefully behind on my NaNo goal. We are talking 10,000 words behind. It will be near to impossible for me to accomplish the 50,000 word goal by December 1, but I’m okay with that.

For me, NaNo was about jumping in and getting back into the habit of writing every day. To find a good schedule for me as a full time working mother. I’ve missed two days all month and have written about 25,000 words so far. That’s not too shabby.

I like my WIP, but am seeing that I have skimped on the story. I’ve been writing fast and leaving out good details, good character development, and good setting description. And I totally left out a minor character that was going to introduce some good conflict later on. Yikes! Yeah, I can go back and fix it all, but I sure wish it wasn’t going to be so difficult to do so.

All in all, I am okay with everything. I’m doing Thanksgiving at my house for the first time this week. We are talking just my family. My oldest son and his wife, plus her mother, are coming. Also my second son who lives part time in a neighboring town. I get to do the cooking. I get to be….SHERRINDA IN CHARGE!  Squeee…I’m excited.

But that means more work for me and less writing time. But again, that’s okay. I tend to be a rule follower and really want to win NaNo, but I’m ignoring the Pharisaical-rule loving-tendency and am just going with the flow. I’m writing every day and that is AWESOME!

Will any of you be writing during the holidays? If so, how are you going to manage it?

Happy Thanksgiving! May you have as much fun with your family as I have with mine! (Pay no attention to my goofy sisters from a couple of Thanksgivings ago in the picture above. They are such fun, even after all these years!)

time management

The Time Juggler

We writers are masters of time. Or at least we should be. Whether we are a full time writer, a stay-at-home-mom writer, or a full time employer-night writer, our time is valuable and we have to manage it well or we won’t get any stories written.

I work full time in a school office that is mentally draining, so I come home tired with the normal house chores to do. I don’t always fit writing in because I don’t have the right balance. I haven’t learned to juggle all my responsibilities in a way that keeps a steady flow with no mishaps along the way.

A juggler is like a writer who has found the perfect time-balance to be productive in work, home life, and  writing. Here is why I think so,

  • FOCUS: A juggler must keep his eyes on the highest point in the ball pattern. When a ball gets near the zenith, he throws the next one. 
    • A writer must prioritize his life. Do the most important first, then move on to the next. A writer must focus his attention on the task at hand and not get distracted on the little things (ahem…facebook, twitter, the new book sitting by your bed)
  • BALANCE: A juggler must have good balance. He must rest secure in his position, being able to move back and forth with ease to make sure he catches each ball. He must make his throws consistent in order to keep the balls in the correct pattern. 
    • A writer must balance all his responsibilities in life. If he/she watched TV all day, that would be an unhealthy balance. If he/she scrubbed the house from top to bottom while ignoring his/her family, that would be an unhealthy balance (but oh-so-nice to have a clean house!). All things in moderation.
  • PRACTICE: A juggler must practice many hours in order to be proficient in his craft. He practices the balance and focus, and becomes proficient in his craft. 
    • Ah, so it is with the writer. He/she must continually focus on their goals and have balance in their goals. To focus too much on something other than writing lets your craft fall by the wayside. Spending all your time writing at the expense of all else will burn you out and could possibly create conflict with the other areas of your life.  
So we must become a time juggler in order to be balanced and focused and productive. Has anyone become proficient yet? Could you give me a few pointers?