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Pushing the Words

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well, the only part of my schedule that got off track last night was the half hour of reading before bedtime . . . and bedtime. Once I finished typing in the 1,652 words that I had already handwritten of my new project, I wrote an additional 1,105 words to have a complete (though a little short) first chapter—though I’ve thought of a few things during the day today to add to it. But because I was on a roll, I didn’t stop until around midnight. Now, I used to be able to function well if I was in bed by 1:00 or 2:00 am and up by 7:00 am—as long as I got to sleep about 12–13 hours on Saturday. But as I get older, I’m discovering that isn’t working so well any more—case in point . . . as soon as I got home from work this evening (at 5:00), I sat down to flip through the mail before changing clothes to go out for my walk. An hour later, when I woke up, I figured out that I’m too old to stay up past midnight and still expect to function normally any more.

The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.
~ Raymond Chandler

I like this quote by Raymond Chandler, because I’ve been there—boy have I been there!—when the words just won’t come. But over the past month, I have learned that while this is true—that it’s better to write when the words are flowing—if I don’t sit myself down and make myself write every day, the days when the words flow are going to be fewer and farther between, until it gets to the point when the words cease coming easy at all. Just like coming up with something to write about here every day (and Erica has sent me a suggestion for a topic, but I’m still looking into it to see if I can find enough written about it to make it comprehensible) isn’t easy, sitting down to write every day isn’t easy. I usually want to do it when I’m supposed to be doing something else (like working). But then when I have my entire evening in which I could be writing, I want to do anything but.This is nothing new, nor is it unique to writers:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
~Romans 7:15 (NASB)

Of course, here Paul was talking about sinning instead of living life in a godly manner—but the lesson holds true. For if we are truly called to write—if writing is a gift God has given us—but we don’t do it, we don’t discipline ourselves to sit down at the keyboard or with the pen and notebook on a daily basis, we are like the wretched servant in Jesus’ parable who hid the talent instead of going out and doing something with it.

So, my encouragement for the day is this: write, even when you feel like you’re having to push the words. Because you never know when the Master might come and ask for an accounting of the work you accomplished.

4 Comments
  1. Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:38 am

    You know, the less time I have to write, the more I want to. There’s always that thing about wanting what we can’t have, or what isn’t easily accessible. The Romans verse rings so true!

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  2. Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:56 am

    A timely post for me as I’m now battling a bit of illness myself, and spring has sprung and we all are being released from our cabin fever, and so many things beckon me that aren’t writing related.

    Congratulations on getting so many words down. It’s good to be able to mark progress.

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  3. Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:56 pm

    How very true, Georgiana! It’s the same way for me. When I’m most tired and run-down and have no time is exactly when I want to do nothing more than lose myself in my own little world. Alas, the real world conspires against me and I fall asleep instead.

    One time, I did write about 7,000 words in 2 hours. I wish it could come out like that every time I sit down to write! I’d be done with at least 3 ideas by now. And I wish it had happened on something that was my own, instead of a fan fiction story. But regardless, it was an amazing experience. Maybe someday I’ll finish it, lol.

    *sigh* Well, Kaye, I think I can overlook the whole Tigers thing. It’s just, my dad is a UA alumni, and well, it’s so darn FUN to wear my Hog stuff to Wal-Mart on game day.

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  4. Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:19 pm

    I’ve learned that if I don’t get to bed on time, I’ll get nothing done the next day. I hate it that I can’t go on less sleep like I used to, but oh well. Time to deal with it, I guess!

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