Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The best questions are the kind that have no answers. These are the questions that help me begin a story. Often, I'll see a house, an abandoned car, a person whose face simply screams for me to pay attention, and the questions will start.
And then the story will begin.
The other day, someone asked if I ever run out of story ideas. I don't, because I never run out of questions. What is hard is finding the determination to put those ideas and imaginings down on paper.
I say finding because we all have the ability to perform difficult tasks (and, make no mistake, writing a book is difficult). What seperates those who do from those who don't is the ability to channel hope and dream into work and action.
Each day, we wake up to a hundred responsibilties and a laundry-list of tasks. If we're married, we must think of our spouse's needs. If we have kids, we must help them along with their day. If we work, we must meet our obligations to our company and boss. If we are working at home, we must clean and cook and clean again. If we homeschool....well, I'm sure I've made my point by now.
So, we dream about writing. We think about it. We talk about it.
And, when it comes time for doing it, we are too tired, too busy, too braindead from too many hours spent working on other things.
Sunday, I sat at church trying desperately to look wide awake and interested. No offense to our pastor (who is a wonderful preacher and teacher), but I was so tired the words just weren't registering. And then the pastor said something that I have heard and read hundreds of times, and it was as if someone flipped a switch in my brain. Everything inside me sat up and took notice.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light
And it sounded so good.
Rest for your souls.
Rest for my soul.
In this season of miracles, it is good to be reminded of the simplest of truths. It is good to remember the importance of dedication not just to our writing craft, but to our relationship with our Creator. As we make time to sit in quiet communion with God, we begin to free our souls of the stress and worry that bogs us down and keeps us from fulfilling His purpose and plan for our lives. As Christian authors, our relationship with Him must come first. When it does, everything else will fall into place.
Perhaps you thought this post was going to be about finding time to write.
In some ways it is.
It is about prioritizing and about knowing what is truly important.
Pursuing publication takes more than a story idea, it takes knowing without a doubt that you are doing what you should be. It takes believing with all your heart that you must write. It takes sacrifice of time and of energy and of rest. It is good, then, to know where our strength lies and to cling to that....cling to Him....as we continue our journey.
BTW, the photo above is an example of how everyday things spark my imagination. I was shooting photos of my children, and they were happy and smiling in every one of them. This shot, though, was different. Click on the photo and look at the expression on the face of my youngest. Look in her eyes and see if you don't start asking questions. Believe it or not, I've already got two story ideas. I also have an aching heart, but that is a discussion for another day.