I was mixing the dirt and sand for my earth oven last Saturday, and beginning to think it wasn't such a good idea. It seemed great back in May when I started. I loved the thought of being able to cook outside in the summer, have pizza again that tasted better than cardboard, etc. But I was doing it pretty much on my own. I enlisted the aid of my sons, (bribery works wonders) and they helped dig the dirt, but the rest was up to me.
Anyway, as I was mixing with the hoe, something my hubby was wonderful enough to show me - much easier than doing it with a shovel - it occurred to me that it was similar to writing. I know that I've harped a lot on forcing yourself to write, writing consistently, etc. The reason, (surprise, surprise), is that subject is what I struggle with. I don't write every day. Editing is something that bogs me down, and my critique group is what keeps me writing on the current effort. You know the phrase, this lesson was more for me than for you? Well, that's the same with this subject. I guess it comes up a lot because of the need to keep it in my thoughts.
As I mixed the sand and dirt, adding water and hoping it was reaching the correct combination, I realized that it was much like when I sat down to write. Putting words and thoughts together on a screen or paper and hoping that you've hit the right combination that someone is going to want to read and keep reading. Then when I was getting really tired of mixing and wanted to quit - I realized that it was much like the day to day (dare I say grind?) of writing. If you are really serious about writing, it's not something you do only when it's convenient. It's a diligence and consistent effort every day. A time is set aside, the children and family know they aren't supposed to bug you (not that it works) and you try and order thoughts to fit the time frame.
Unfortunately, life doesn't always cooperate and things get in the way. Fruit to be canned, babies being born, ovens needing to be finished, and birthday's to be celebrated. My husband feels much the same with his college courses that he's trying to finish. It's always something that interrupts his study time. We even put a sign up on the door to remind the children the need to be quiet - they appear to have lost their ability to read at that point.
Along with that, when I try to make writing a priority, I feel pressure that I'm neglecting my family. There are many other things that need to be done. It becomes something that has to be rehashed almost every day. Is this what I'm meant to do? Is there something more important I need to be doing? Does someone need me to be somewhere, take them somewhere or make something?
There have been several blogs that have mentioned the working of the spirit in our lives. Posts describing how authors have sat down with their scriptures after prayer and discovered the path they need to go in regard to their writing. If nothing else, those posts should encourage those who are struggling with the same issues I've outlined above.
Our gifts, our talents, our writing ability is something that is encouraged by the Lord. He knows each of us, has given us the talents and gifts we have, and understands the drive and need within us to improve and do them. If that's the case, do you think it should be a priority? I don't think we want to put it up at #1, but it should be in the top 10, if not the top 5. Of course, that depends on how serious we are, and how much effort we want to put into things.
So, as I finish my outdoor project, I'm realizing that I need to be just as determined in my writing. Enough of the feelings of guilt, frustration at life getting in the way, etc. I'm going to set a time when it's more available than not and work at it. I will have a notebook with me at all times in case the opportunity comes in the car or on the train or while I'm waiting for someone.
I will persevere, because this means something to me. It's part of me, and I know it's a gift. How about you? Drop us a line and let us know what the biggest obstacle is you have to overcome in writing consistently. We want to know.