To Not Write is To Not Offer Myself

When did sitting down to write become so laborious and difficult? When did the words cease to flow?

To Not Write is To Not Offer Myself

When I began trying too hard.

While I believe excellent writing takes practice, lots of consistent practice, laboring through it just seems all wrong. It negates the reason I write.  Cleaning takes work. Discipline takes work. Even relationships take work. But writing? Writing helps me breathe better; deeper; more fully.

Writing is not work in the sense that its’ repetition is dull and mundane. The work is hardly noticeable, although it is there. It is subtle, but without its effort, I would cease to exist as I am. Writing is woven throughout the woman God created me to be. It's an expression of Him--an extension of His likeness, coupled with my identity in Him.

Writing helps me slow down and take in life. It forces me to pause and scribble down the moments before they flee. With millions and millions of moments passing by year after year, how will I remember? This life is but a moment compared to the eternal, but God is still here. How can I heed seeing Him when I am going through a storm if I have not left a trace? If I have not left words, like breadcrumbs, to lead me back to where I have been and where God has been faithful?

When I revisit times of uncertainty and see that God's prints lead me through the fog, I have yet another reason to rejoice; another reason to proclaim His glory.

To not write is to forget.

To not write is to not breathe in life.

To not write is to not offer myself.

To not write is to not reveal my testimony; my story.

To not write would be to reject His gift.

I can't not write.

I write to honor Him with what He has given me. I cannot hide it. I cannot hoard it. It builds up, bringing forth a burst, an explosion of kept memoirs that were never meant to be hidden or buried. It releases a flame of hope; of encouragement. It is designed to help untangle a messy life and try to understand it's contents. It's one way God uses to communicate with me. As I write, He speaks. He helps me figure things out. The puzzle pieces begin to fit together as each piece is laid out and identified.  Writing helps me figure things out, but also lays things down.

Ann Voskamp writes to the glory of God, and look how it has glorified Him:

:: Post originally published in 2011::
—God used my own words to speak to me today

4 Things Writers Do To Become Great Writers

Most writers love to write (yep, there are a few who don’t love it but are great at it). But that doesn’t always make the act of writing easy. It is still work for many of us.

If I gave up every time I was fed up with the work of writing, I probably would never write. In fact, after writing out 3/4 of this article originally, I accidentally hit a shortcut that shut down my entire browser tab and lost my entire article. Yes, I cried. Though tempted, I chose not to give up and rewrote the article.

But there’s this flaw in me I’m trying to work out. I have given up on things way too often when they got hard. I need to get over the fact that most things worth doing are going to be hard and require a lot of work. Writing is one of them. Most of the time, writing comes slow for me. Sometimes I simply think too much, rather than just letting the words come.

Great writers learn by doing life outside of the act of writing.

Here are four tasks that accompany writers, aside from writing itself.

Reading

Writers benefit from plenty of reading in order to spark imagination, creativity, and inspiration. By reading the language of other writers, we fine tune our own. We learn to say things in new ways. Not necessarily through adopting someone else’s writing style, but by adapting their ideas.

Reading isn’t limited to only the type of writing one prefers. For example, just because I prefer to write non-fiction, does not mean I will not benefit as a writer by reading fiction. All genres should be explored to some extent. It allows for a well-rounded writer. But, choosing at least a few different genres to explore consistently, is a good idea.

Research

It’s not uncommon for writers to research topics in order to gain new ideas or confirm information is accurate. Sometimes this can be a tedious process. But often, it can spark new ideas we hadn’t thought of before. Just because there is nothing new under the sun, doesn’t mean we know it all. There is always something more to learn; in greater depth, from a different angle, through different eyes.

Live

This may be the most challenging work of all for a writer. It’s not hard to get lost in our own thoughts, trying to organize them and pen them out.

The best way to write well, is to live well. Live fully. Breathe in everything around you. The best words are written from experience. How better to connect with your readers than to understand how it feels or tastes or smells? We can only accurately articulate these senses by experiencing them ourselves.

Rest

The body and mind require rest in order to work at its peak. Unfortunately, it’s not something many writers take seriously (myself included). Especially being a mom of young children, often the only time we can squeeze writing in is by keeping the midnight oil burning or rising before the dawn breaks. Not necessarily bad once in a while, but it’s important for the brain to rest physically and emotionally, so it can work optimally.

Writing is a discipline. It may come easier for some than others. But I don’t think that makes it less enjoyable for those who have to work harder at it. I just believe that it’s something many of us need to accept in order to allow yourself permission to actually write. A little hard work never killed anyone. If you’re holding back because writing is work, embrace it. It is work. But it’s rewarding work. 

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4 Things Writers Do To Become Great Writers - Great writers learn by doing life outside of the act of writing. ChristinSlade.com

How To Write An eBook - Part 2

The Writing ProcessThe Writing Process

Read Part 1: The Creative Process here. 

So, after spending some time brainstorming and deciding what you're going to write, the next step is the writing process. This may be the hardest for some people.

Once you get your ideas narrowed down to the one you want to write about, you basically start by doing the Creative Process again, but this time within the topic you're writing about.

The official term for this process is called prewriting.

Prewriting

Prewriting is simply gathering and organizing your information to make it ready for writing. This will save you lots of time when it’s time to sit down and actually write. The last thing you want to do is stare blankly at a screen, unable to write anything down because it’s either been forgotten or it’s so disorganized, you don’t know where to begin.

Break down your main topic into subtopics which will become your chapters.

Then organize them in an order where each idea easily flows into the next, which may change slightly later, but that’s OK.

Under each chapter title, jot down headings relevant to that title you want to include.

Chapter Heading

Finally, include any quotes, scriptures, statistics or other information needed per chapter by simply making note of it under that specific chapter.

Writing

Once you have your thoughts mostly organized, you begin writing.

One of the hardest parts of the writing process is making time to write. Write without editing. Just write.

Revising

Once your book is written, the next step is to read through it and revise anything you notice is (or might be) unclear. It's also a great idea to have someone else read your writing and offer you feedback. Having someone other than you read your work will allow them to bring to attention anything that is unclear or out of order, disrupting the flow.

This will be the time to add, remove, replace, and rearrange.

Editing

The final stage in the actual writing process is editing. This requires a closer look at your writing than the revising stage. Here, it’s grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Rather than reading idea by idea, or paragraph by paragraph, you’re reading sentence by sentence.

Your goal is to make certain each word in each sentence fits well, includes strong adjectives, and are arranged in a way that gets your message across in the best possible way. That doesn’t always mean it has to be blunt or to the point, depending on what you’re writing. Mary DeMuth taught me, rather than tell your reader, show them. Use descriptive words. 

In the next part of the series, I'll share about The Publishing Process.

4 Things Writers Do to Become Great Writers

Most writers love to write (yep, there are a few who don’t love it but are great at it). But that doesn’t always make the act of writing easy. It is still work for many of us, including myself. 4 Things Writers Do to Become Great Writers.png

If I gave up every time I was fed up with the work of writing, I probably would never write. In fact, after writing out 3/4 of this article originally, I accidentally hit a shortcut that shut down my entire browser tab and lost my entire article. Yes, I cried. Though tempted, I chose not to give up and rewrote the article.

But there’s this flaw in me I’m trying to work out. I have given up on things way too often when they got hard. I need to get over the fact that most things worth doing are going to be hard and require a lot of work. Writing is one of them. Most of the time, writing comes slow for me. Sometimes I simply think too much, rather than just letting the words come.

Great writers learn by doing things outside of the act of writing.

Here are a four tasks that accompany writers, aside from writing itself.

Reading

Writers benefit from plenty of reading in order to spark imagination, creativity, and inspiration. By reading the language of other writers, we fine tune our own. We learn to say things in new ways. Not necessarily through adopting someone else’s writing style, but by adapting their ideas.

Reading isn’t limited to only the type of writing one prefers. For example, just because I prefer to write non-fiction, does not mean I will not benefit as a writer by reading fiction. All genre’s should be explored to some extent. It allows for a well rounded writer. But, choosing at least a few different genres to explore consistently, is a good idea.

Research

It’s not uncommon for writers to research topics in order to gain new ideas or confirm information is accurate. Sometimes this can be a tedious process. But often, it can spark new ideas we hadn’t thought of before. Just because there is nothing new under the sun, doesn’t mean we know it all. There is always something more to learn; in greater depth, from a different angle, through different eyes.

Live

This may be the most challenging work of all for a writer. It’s not hard to get lost in our own thoughts, trying to organize them and pen them out.

The best way to write well, is to live well. Live fully. Breathe in everything around you. The best words are written from experience. How better to connect with your readers than to understand how it feels or tastes or smells? We can only accurately articulate these senses by experiencing them ourselves.

Rest

The body and mind require rest in order to work at it’s peak. Unfortunately, it’s not something many writers take seriously (myself included). Especially being a mom of young children, often the only time we can squeeze writing in is by keeping the midnight oil burning or rising before the dawn breaks. Not necessarily bad once in a while, but it’s important for the brain to rest physically and emotionally, so it can work optimally.

Writing is a discipline. It may come easier for some than others. But I don’t think that makes it less enjoyable for those who have to work harder at it. I just believe that it’s something many of us need to accept in order to allow ourself permission to actually write. A little hard work never killed anyone. If you’re holding back because writing is work, embrace it. It is work. But it’s rewarding work. 

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