Thursday, April 05, 2007

Writing Through the Chaos

It's no secret that I've got four kids home with me all day every day. It's no secret that those children are noisy, active, and interesting kids. They require attention. They require interventions. They require love, affection, meals, clean clothes. Normal stuff for normal kids.

It's also no secret that I'm an author. I write inspirational romantic suspense stories. I write about women who aren't married and who usually do not have kids. I write about peaceful worlds thrown into chaos. These stories do not reflect my life.

My life is a normality of chaos. Of noise and fun, excitement, irritations. Challenges. Blessings. To fit writing into the that takes creativity. If you're having trouble finding the time for your writing you may find these suggestions helpful.

1) prioritize.

What's really important in your life? Full time job? Family? Kids? Clean house? Make a list of what you need to accomplish. Decide which things cannot be neglected. Decide which things can wait. Laundry will be there tomorrow. People may not. If you've got a kid that's struggling, a friend that needs you, a husband who wants to go pick out light fixtures for the office, those are things that shouldn't be put off. If you've got dirty clothes sitting in a hamper...Yeah, that maybe can wait (unless your kids are running naked through the house). Put writing on your list of priorities somewhere between people and laundry. Then make time for it every day.

2)Learn to go with the flow and write in the moment.

Yeah, the kids are loud, but don't make that your excuse for not finishing the manuscript that's been on the burner for two years. It is possible to write when there is noise and interruptions. The key is to be happy about it. IE, don't let yourself focus on the noise. Take advantage of those moments when the kids are bouncing on the bed, or cheerfully playing hide and go seek in the house. Write when there's time. Don't wait for the time to write to come. It won't.

3) Banish the excuse demon.

Because he sure would rather you make excuses than fulfill your calling. Whether it's writing, mothering, being a missionary, getting a new job, buying another house. We can always find excuses to not go in the direction God is leading. Mostly it's because we're afraid. We convince ourselves that tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year will be better timing. Remember, though, you might not have tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. You are only certain of having this moment. Whatever it is you're putting off, do it today. Once you begin to do the jobs as they come to you, you'll find that you've got a lot more time on your hands.

4) Trust

In His timing and His plan. If there really isn't time now to work toward your goals and toward the desire He's put on your heart, spend as much time as you can readying yourself for the moment when the time will be right. Save money so you can stay home, devote yourself to what He's put in your life now, trust that eventually He'll open doors that will allow you to move toward your dreams. Most of all, learn your place in the world and your purpose. After all, God really does have one for you.


Debbie Gilroy said...

Hi Shirlee,
I am so glad you are posting on your blog again. I have caught you several times on the "The Secrets of Stoneley" blog. I really would like to say I appreciate your thoughts on fear.
I have to admit that I fall heavily into that category; in my life and my writing. Your comments and forthrightness give hope to us who are struggling with first books and the regular routine of life. I greatly admire all you do for your family, for God and for us who are fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of your work as a writer. Many thanks. Debbie in Maryland

Shirlee McCoy said...

Debbie, you're very sweet. I wanted to ask you on eharlequin - where are you in Maryland? I've got another writing friend in the area. It might be fun to get together some time.

How far are you into your first novel?

Debbie Gilroy said...

Hi Shirlee,
I live in the Mechanicsville area of Southern Maryland but I work in the Upper Marlboro area. I would love to get together with you. I am finishing up my third chapter and trying to find my way. I often feel like the Apostle Paul--- I know what I should do, but don't always do it.(Sorry for the paraphrasing) I know it's not enough to just talk and think about writing, but to actually sit myself down and write. Blessing to you and your family for a wonderful Resurrection Sunday!

Shirlee McCoy said...

Was it you I had this conversation with before? You know the Borders in Bowie, right?

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Shirlee, I agree whole-heartedly with what you said. And a clean house definitely hovers somewhere toward the bottom of the priority list. Until company comes, that is. Then it's a mad dash to get things picked up.
Writing ranks right up there with those people that say they're going to wait to have kids until they can afford them. Seize the day!

Shirlee McCoy said...

Amen, Mindy.

Debbie Gilroy said...

Yes, we did discuss this before back in February, around the time your nephew was born. I'm glad you remembered. Is the Borders in the same shopping center as Kohl's? I know you are a busy lady, so you just let me know when the time is right for you. Do you belong to the Baltimore area AFCW?

Shirlee McCoy said...

That's the one, Debby.