. . . can you come over and turn the water on my lawn for a couple hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays?”
. . . you’ll have plenty of time to handle household chores and laundry and stuff. You know–since you’re not really working.”
. . . that’s SO super! You can help by volunteering for ________.”
Writing is a discipline. It’s hard work. Since the writer most often works from home, it’s even more so because of the natural distractions. A few too many breaks; long lunches, even knocking off early.
To write takes time. To write well takes more. To be an exceptional writer calls for some understanding, perhaps even some tough love for friends and family.
“Aw, come on–it’ll only take you a couple of minutes!” With respect, no, it won’t. Ideas for story lines, for articles take time to develop. A particular thread of thought may be in the working for days and weeks, little things here and there adding to it. A distraction right at a critical point in an idea’s development can set the creative process back. It can and often does affect the writer’s overall demeanor.
There’s a reason exceptional writers most often seek solitude and a personally peaceful atmosphere in which to write, to gather their thoughts to where they’re at least flying in the same general direction if not in formation.
There’s a reason writers’ creative spaces have doors that close. Some have had sturdy locks installed because the door being closed didn’t seem to do the trick.
To write takes time. To write well takes more.
To focus on what, exactly, to write? Ah, yes. There’s SO much subject matter. I took my cue from one of my favorite authors, Clive Staples Lewis:
The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.
Thus began my final career in this life: to use my life experience and personality to lift, encourage and edify you, the reader, and challenge you to personal and spiritual excellence.
To that end, I write fiction at least as often as I inspire. Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us (Paul Theroux). Barbara Kingsolver says, “Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.”
As a Christian, there is always a God-centered focal point to what I write. Sometimes it’s specifically apparent; at others it is smoothly implied. Love and God’s above-Time and to-us-miraculous ability to make it work in real lives and strange ways is often a golden thread woven into many of my stories.
Some have wondered why.
In our world as it really is, love is magnificently deformed by narrow self-interest and -definition. Nobody means it to be such. We see through our own experiences and points of view. Reading the Biblical “Love Chapter” is so hauntingly beautiful. Poring over Solomon’s Song, likewise. Applying them to where you live? That’s a horse off a different carousel.
The Bible plainly states God = Love. And since God has to do with all of life, it seems to me the learning about and application of His love in every part of this life will inform our love as well.
Pursuant to that, you’ll also find weird humor, unmitigated goofiness, jerking of tears and making of thought.
But always you’ll get the best benefit of long hours spent right here before my ancient desktop, thinking, praying, considering. . .
And writing. And writing, and rewriting, and editing.
To write takes time. To write well takes more. “Okay, that’s three times you’ve repeated that. What gives?”
Actually I’ve written it three times, as all good teachers do. I only repeated it twice. By doing so, I’ve irritated you enough that you’ll remember it. The Dan scores!
The more you read and absorb and are in some way helped, the harder I’ll work. I’ll know because you’ll comment and even add your own thoughts–both of which I find invaluable. It is in the polishing and perfecting of this gift from God that the books you expect will come forth.
For what use are books if there are none who read them?
© D. Dean Boone