My first memory of writing is when I was around seven or eight years old, sitting at my family’s kitchen table, writing a story about a picture I had seen in a book. I did not become serious about writing, however, until a few years later when several girls my age at my church brought stories they had written to share after service. I was in awe of their boldness; the notion of writing something completely new from your own concoction and sharing it seemed to me something only talented people could do. But I wanted to try it. And that is how I wrote my first “book” which spanned the grand length of half of a notebook in double spacing.
I do love writing, nothing else gives me the triumphant satisfaction I feel when I sit back and view a previously blank page covered with the coherent thoughts I wrote. Be it a paragraph, a page or merely a preamble, a musing in Times New Roman font size 12 with a period at the end of it is a true source of happiness to me. That doesn’t mean, however, that it always comes easily. I face pitfalls and frustrations with every little piece I compose.
One predicament I used to view as a weakness was a failure to meet my set deadlines. When I saw a big writing assignment on the horizon, I told myself I will do a bit of it every day, giving myself a deadline that this day I will have the introduction done, the next I will have the body done, and so on. Despite my determination to follow through, I almost always ended up writing my entire paper the day before/day of the deadline. I felt as if this was a bad case of procrastination on my part, until I realized that my writing was best when hashing out a full draft in one sit down. So, I decided to let go of my imposed deadlines and replace the label of “weakness” in this area with a “strength.”
One of my weaknesses when it comes to writing is I am much too easily distracted. Living in a family of ten, it’s hard to not become sidetracked with others’ discussions/arguments, and even harder to find a quiet part of the house to write in seclusion. Sometimes I feel as if I’m acting like one of the dogs from the movie “Up;” diligently focusing on the task at hand when suddenly SQUIRREL–when suddenly something grabs my attention and I can’t help but get pulled out from what I’m doing. I’ve found that headphones are a great aid in helping me to focus on my writing task rather than on the conversations around me. And although I still get sidetracked (sometimes by the very music supposed to help me from getting distracted), I believe I’ve made some progress in this area.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.Colossians 3:23-24
I write best late morning–or when inspiration strikes. As to my ideal writing atmosphere, that is a clear table with my laptop upon it, logs blazing in the fireplace, cocoa steaming by my left elbow, the thesis for what I’m writing scrawled on a notebook by my right, and a clear endpoint in mind when I start pounding on the computer keyboard. Music drifts from the speakers and family members are wrapped up in their own business without needing to tap me on my shoulder every five minutes to ask for my input or help.
As what I’ve daydreamed up above rarely happens (because I’m a human living amongst humans), I’ve found that I need to adjust my “ideal” to fit my reality. So all I need to give a writing assignment Colossians 3:23 are fingers, a brain, a laptop, headphones, cocoa, and a chair–a rather brief list, but much more achievable than my fantasy winter cabin atmosphere, don’t you think?