Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The reasons you write

Have you ever struggled with the daily commitment to writing?

Image by m_bartosch,

Perhaps you started out strong, but the middle has become a hard slog, and you feel like you’ve lost your way. Perhaps you’ve received negative feedback from people whose opinions you value, and you wonder if the whole thing is a waste of time. Maybe your characters have fallen down a plot hole and you can’t see any way for them to climb out. Perhaps your life circumstances have changed (new job? New baby? Elderly parent to care for? Fill in the blank) and your writing routine has been thrown so badly out of kilter that you’re scrambling to make any time to write at all.

I could put my hand up for all of these things. I’ll be honest: the book I’m working on right now has become a struggle. A mental, emotional, physical, spiritual struggle.
Recently I’ve been reading “Platform” by Michael Hyatt. Great book. Hyatt suggests writing down seven reasons for why you write, and reviewing these daily.

I did this. I actually came up with eight. Today I’d like to be completely transparent, and share them with you. These are very personal, very intimate reasons, and while it makes me feel quite vulnerable to share them, I hope my honesty might help someone else who may be struggling just as I am.

Eight reasons why I need to finish my novel.

1. To finish what I started. “I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do… Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now.” (2 Cor 8:10-11, TLB) Finishing when it’s tough takes character. I CHOOSE to be a woman of character, no matter how I feel.

2. To experience pride in my accomplishment. The results of not writing? I feel defeated, useless, inadequate. The results of writing? I feel energised, completed, purposeful. This state of mind flows out to every other area of my life.

3. God wants me to finish this book. A pastor once stopped me after a service and spoke this word over me: “You’ve sometimes thought that writing is your dream and your desire. But God wants you to know, it’s His desire.” I love him so much, and writing for God is my expression of love to him. It’s my daily sacrifice of praise.

4. Writing is my purpose in life. If I want to live a life that’s purpose-driven and meaningful, I need to walk within my purpose. To walk outside my purpose is to live a half-life, an incomplete life that doesn’t fulfil my potential.

5. I want to impact others. My biggest prayer has always been that I might produce fruit for God’s kingdom. God has given me a voice, and writing is my platform. Through the power of the written word, my sphere of influence will expand to reach countless more people than I could ever reach alone. My greatest privilege and joy in life would be to impact many others for God. 

6. I am a better mother when I follow my dreams. Following my dreams feeds my spirit. Do I want to feel begrudging and resentful that I don’t have time for myself, or do I want to make that time, and then mother with generosity and joy, out of an overflowingly abundant heart?

7. I believe in this book. I love my story. I love my characters. Those who’ve read it so far have found it gripping and compelling. I believe this story has the potential to be a success.

8. I choose to live my dream. Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a little girl. The dream will not happen on its own. I alone have the power to make it happen through my daily choices.

The power of a reason
I’ve begun a practice of reading over my eight reasons at the start of every writing session. It centers me on the purpose behind the task. Gives me a bigger perspective. Inspires me to continue when it’s tough.

What are the reasons YOU write?

28-Day Challenge check-in:
For those participating, how is your new habit coming along? Don’t forget – double entries for the Amazon gift card in two weeks’ time if you’ve stuck with your habit every day!

Karen Schravemade lives Downunder and likes to confuse her American friends by using weird Australian figures of speech. When she's not chasing after two small boys or cuddling her baby girl, she spends her spare minutes daydreaming about the intricate lives of characters who don't actually exist. Find her on her website and Twitter.


Charity Schilb said...

Thank you for sharing that! It is really encouraging to see how we all struggle with similar feelings.

I have been trying hard with the 28 day challenge. It really is a challenge! I wish I could say I stuck to it everyday so far, but I have slacked a little. I am not going to give up though; I am going to try a little harder this next week.

Thanks again for posting such an encouraging message today!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Charity, good for you!! I haven't stuck with it perfectly either, but the main thing is to get back up and keep on going! So glad this post was an encouragement to you. We're all in this together. :-)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh, Karen, I love this and I so appreciate your transparency. I can honestly resonate with each of your reasons. Especially number 6... It's like you camped out in my head for that one. Thank you for this perspective!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Karen, I love this post. Thank you for sharing your reasons. They validate some of my own, which I've been nervous about putting words to. :) Your #8 spoke to me--I've dreamed of writing for years, but only began pursuing it a few years ago. I AM the only one who can write the stories God has given me. Nuff said. Thank you.

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

Great post, Karen.
How encouraging, supportive, and stimulating.
As for me #5 is mine. The best words I could hear would be that my work helped someone else.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great post, Karen. All of your reasons spoke to me. Another for me personally is that its therapeutic. It really helps my mood and sometimes helps me deal with spiritual and emotional issues in my life, so I feel like it is a tool God is using for my sanctification.

As for my habit of making time to homeschool my son, last week I did pretty good. This week not so good. I haven't homeschooled Noah much this week and Liz its just been intermittent assignments. I've been feeling very exhausted hanging around the hospital.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Oh, and Karen. I'm so glad you gave the 28 day challenge. I've made it all but 2 (maybe 3) days. So happy. :)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Amy, oh yes, fellow mom-of-littlies, this is a big one for us! Mwah!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Jeanne, I'm glad this gave you a sense of validation! I hoped that would be the case. Our ideas don't seem so silly when we realise that other people are thinking the same things. And WELL DONE YOU on the challenge! Way to go, Jeanne!!! Two weeks down, two to go - you're nailing it! :-)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Thank you, Mary! Yep, #5 is very close to my heart! I'm sure you WILL help many others through your writing!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Julia, that's a great reason - thanks for adding that! A lot of writers use words to process difficult events and bring healing. And I love how God teaches us and shapes our character through the process of writing.

You've done great on the challenge - circumstances can throw everything out, but tomorrow is a new day! From one fellow perfectionist to another, I'd say, don't give up if you can't do it perfectly. Just do the best you can and keep on going. Love you! x

Megan Sayer said...

Karen I just read this. Wow. So, so true. Thanks so much for the encouragement in this, it's just what I needed to read right now!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Thanks, Megan - so glad it means something to you! Hugs! x