Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if anybody is listening…
When that beloved friend or family member interrupts and continues on as if what I was saying doesn’t matter or they weren’t interested enough to listen. Everybody has one, right? Or am I the only one?
Or those rare times when I peek at my reviews, and I’m kind of shocked at the low number, especially for my books that have been out there for years. Granted, I probably don’t spend enough time seeking out reviews on the front end, before a book releases. But you’d think that just the sheer amount of time would generate some feedback. Even just a sentence?
That nasty five letter word slithers in. Seriously, that word, friends. It’s from the enemy. It makes me wonder if anybody is listening. If anybody even wants to read my stories. If what I’m pouring my heart and soul into is even worth my time. As a writer, am I doing enough? As a person, am I enough?
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I sent it. Isa 55:11 (NLT)
Frustrated and discouraged, I skim over a few reviews, and this one snags my attention.
“Her stories are exciting and I find myself staying up late to finish reading – a sure sign of a great book.”
“A very well written story of grace and forgiveness.”
So, I may not ever figure out how to stop that loved one from barreling right over my spoken words. Or maybe, with this particular person, I’m to practice listening rather than talking.
And as for my written words, what I need to focus more on is…
Trusting my heavenly Father. That what He’s placed in my heart will bear fruit. That my work will accomplish all He wants, that He holds my time in His hands. That the message of His amazing love and His limitless grace will prosper and blossom wherever He plants it.
What about you? Do you struggle with doubt and trust? Wonder if anybody’s listening? I’m here. I’m listening…
For me, one of the most difficult aspects of writing is…wait for it, wait for it…
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO WRITE THE BOOK!
Surprise you? Maybe you expected plotting, or coming up with ideas, or writing a synopsis, or even querying a publisher.
After 17 (really? 17?) completed books, I believe I have conquered all of the above. And I have a bit of an in with my current publisher. 😉
But, logically, you’d also think that the amount of time it takes to write a book wouldn’t be so daunting anymore, right?
Before I started writing, I worked as an auditor for the local school system. My job entailed sifting through records to see that checks and balances were in place and that the school operated with good accounting practices. Every day, or every couple of days, I worked at a different school. The longest audits took a week, maybe two, but those were rare. Basically, every time I wrote the report, I wrapped things up and moved on to the next school.
Not with writing.
A writer’s work is NEVER done.
Besides all the planning, the marketing, the promoting–all those extraneous tasks–the actual writing of a book takes months, sometimes years, depending on several factors such as word count, how much time a writer invests, etc.
So, coming from a background where I experienced that sense of accomplishment on a daily basis to working on the same project for months…how do I recondition myself? How do I measure my time and feel satisfied with my progress? I…
- set daily word count goals to track my progress in an Excel spreadsheet.
- don’t focus on the end date, just what I plan to accomplish each day.
- write books with varying lengths, just to shake up my schedule a bit.
- discovered my peak writing time and use it. With my body clock, I can pump out double the words in the mornings, but after lunch, my word count and creativity declines drastically. So, I write only in the mornings. Of course, that’s not possible for everyone. The point is to find your peak time and reserve that window for writing, as much as possible.
- garner the support of family and friends. My family and friends all know my writing schedule. OK, so I might’ve growled and answered in monosyllables when they called in the morning just to chat. But, hey, I don’t bother them while they’re working, either.
For my writer friends, what’s the most difficult aspect of writing for you?
For my non-writer friends, how do you gauge your work day? How do you measure your satisfaction for a job well-done?
A Fresh Slate
Happy New Year!
Ya’ll know that I’m not a big New Year’s resolutionist. And I’m not a huge fan of change, either. I tend to eat the same meals every week, go to bed at the same time every night (even on the weekends), and write from the same desk every day. I’m not one of those writers who can pick up my laptop and head to a coffee shop. Generally I prefer my quiet routine.
For twelve and a half years Bruiser, our golden retriever, shared it with me, but we lost our sweet baby around Halloween last year. The rascal had been my shadow for so long, the loss left me reeling.
Bruiser, my constant shadow, my faithful companion
No more stink eye when his food dish wasn’t filled on time. No more warning dinner guests not to leave a napkin on their lap because the sneak would circle the table in stealth mode, then swipe it or snag food from a hand, lightning-quick. No more huffs of frustration when we told him to go back to sleep, that it wasn’t time to wake up yet.
Bruiser grew up as a playmate to our two sons, then considered himself an only child when they moved on.
He was my fierce protector, yet the big lug cowered in our walk-in shower during thunderstorms and fireworks. Wherever we went, he wanted to go too, and two-thirds of the back seat belonged to him, didn’t matter if someone was already sitting in that spot. And elevators? Forget it! The first time he rode in one, he landed, belly on the floor, all four legs stretched out, and we never enticed him into another one. Bruiser was full of personality.
The fierce ache of loss hasn’t diminished and the tears still catch me off-guard. I just keep telling myself to cherish the memories and one day I’ll see that sweet, joyful, mischievous face again in heaven, and catch a whiff of his bad doggie breath. 🙂
But life marches on, doesn’t it? That flip to January on the calendar marks a new year, a fresh slate, a new beginning. It’s time to get back to writing. To carve out a new routine. But now, instead of my companion snoring softly behind me in the office, I’ll have to be content with the wildlife that meander across our back yard.
What changes will you make this year?
Happy New Year!