Monday, July 02, 2007

The Writing Dilemma

If you're reading this you're probably a writer, maybe a mother, more than likely working either at home or outside the home. In other words - you're busy. With a million chores and responsibilities calling you away from writing, it seems almost impossible to focus on putting word to page. Perhaps you're wondering if you should even try. After all, isn't your time better spent doing laundry, dishes, windows, and floors? Couldn't you make more money more quickly if you did what any rational person would and got a job (or a second job, or even a third one)? If you don't need the money, you surely need the time. More time for you, more time for your spouse, more time for kids, family, friends.

This is the writing dilemma. On the one hand, every writer I know believes writing is what she's meant to do. On the other, she believes that writing is secondary to the rest of her life.

So, how does a woman balance writing and life?

She doesn't.

Instead, she carves out time for writing and makes it as much of a priority as floors, laundry, and dishes. I know this is hard. I've lived it for a long time. My struggle is always this - I'm a Christian who believes my most important job is raising my children. How in the world does that coincide with writing books (which takes an inordinate amount of time and energy and perseverance). Both tasks are limitless, draining and difficult. Neither has a clear-cut end. After all, we will continue to be mothers long after our kid leave the house, and when we finish one book, there is always another to write.

How can one person possibly be called to do both?

The answer to that is as simple as it is complicated - God, in is His infinite wisdom and all-knowing power, has willed it to be so. He does not give more than we can handle, but He always gives more than we can handle alone. If this were easy, we wouldn't have to return again and again to the feet of the cross. If it were easy, we wouldn't have to lean ever more heavily on the shoulders that bore our sins and carried them away.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

But it isn't.

The task is for those strong enough to persevere, weak enough to know their limits, and wise enough to understand that God can and will give us what we need to be successful as He defines the term.

Perhaps that's the hardest task of all - knowing that what we define as success doesn't always match with God's vision and plan. If writing is our life, so is failure, disappointment, and disillusion. In that, we learn to be humble, to stretch beyond our comfort zones, and to rely not on the world's opinion, but on the peace that we achieve when we are working hard toward His vision for our life.


Anonymous said...


Sabrina L. Fox said...

For someone who daily struggles with this very thing, you hit the nail on the head. Recently I've been wondering if I'm capable of doing this writing thing with a small child at home and working outside the home. Sigh. I keep thinking I'm making progress then I get bogged down with life and miss writing for days at a time.

As Tanner gets older I think some things are getting easier so I'm still plucking along praying I never leave God's will for my life and hoping I don't drop the ball on any of my other duties as wife and mother.

Good post.

Shirlee McCoy said...

I think this something ALL writers struggle with, Sabrina.

BTW, any news?

Sabrina L. Fox said... news. I've given up. LOL. I know you say it's good when they keep them longer, but that's not how it feels. LOL.

On a happy note, did I tell you my good friend sold to them? I helped crit for her so it's like a fun victory just knowing her story made it.

I read her revision letter from Krista and I was so excited to just see the work the editors put into it. I can see how the stories really transform under their guidance.

Shirlee McCoy said...

Editors are the cornerstone of every good book. They make writing more fun and less lonely.

And I still say more time is good news. Didn't Krista say she was going to get back to you later that week? Or did she say she was going to read the manuscript later that week?

Sabrina L. Fox said...

She said and I quote "I’m sorry for the delay in my response. I hope to be able to get back to you this week. Thanks for checking."

That was the 12th I think. So that's why I think she doesn't like it and hasn't had time to write the rejection letter. But I really am okay with it. I just pray she gives me some direction and asks me to resubmit...

Shirlee McCoy said...

Maybe. It's so easy to read meaning in editor's words, isn't it? It's possible she hadn't read it.