The Story

After my little installment of ramblings about forgiveness and justice, I should tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately.  I’ve been thinking about it, I confess, not necessarily doing it.

Writing is hard.  It’s hard for many reasons.  The reason today is that it takes time to write, particularly when you’re writing in the midst of a life that revolves around so many other things not including writing.  I know writers who spend all their work time writing.  And writing includes everything from thinking about writing to marketing what’s written and working on what’s next.

I’m not one of those writers.  I write when I have an assignment from my generous editor friend.  I write when I snatch time after the boy and the wife have gone to bed.  I read when I force myself.  I write when I put down a good read in order to try my hand at penning one.

I have yet to publish a book, but the more I learn about the stages of writing, the phases of the writing life, and all that comes along with this work, the muddier the picture gets.  It gets clear from time to time, but it’s pretty dirty these days.  The dirt comes from all the questions swirling around my head.  What should I focus on given the time I have?  What should attend to in my life to make me better, to make my writing better?  How should I develop that character in that story?  Should I go back the story I started or stay with the one in front of me?  Do I blog–which counts, doesn’t it?–or work on fiction?  Why haven’t I taken notes on that other experience poking up from my unconscious?  There are so many questions, and the questions torment me.  And the torment distracts me.

I got a message from a writer and friend the other day, and it was helpful to bring me back to some clarity.  I reminded her of something she said actually, and it was a moment for us both.  She told me once to forget about writing a book, to forget the idea of a novel.  She said that I should tell the story.

Then I read on Michael Hyatt’s blog about Donald Miller’s upcoming conference, a conference I cannot attend, but would love to.  It’s called Storyline.  It’ll be in Portland, and you can learn about the conference by clicking here.

That message from my writer friend and that post about Storyline have collected together to give this thirsty writer water.  Just knowing about Donald Miller’s conference is an encouragement, and that, alongside the accountability and prayers of a fellow writer, will envelope me with grace as I write whatever the next words are.  If you pray, really, pray for me that I can listen and honor the call inside to tell the story.  Whether it’ll be in this format or that format, this genre or the other, it’s something I need to do.

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