Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tuning Out Distractions

Ever feel like you keep chasing down the time to write? Just whenever you get a brilliant idea, your toddler interrupts, or maybe you glance up at the clock and realize you're late for something.

There's probably little you can do about the amount of time you currently have available for writing. But there's probably a lot you can do about the quality of that time. Let me explain.

I've got a Lularoe addition. 😀  I'm kidding... erm... sort of. 😀   But for real, I was just telling the Alley Cats the other day that whenever I get free time, I'm so bad about consignment shopping on apps like Poshmark. Leggings and secondhand Anthropologie are my weakness, y'all! And while there's nothing wrong with the occasional distraction, if I'm not careful, browsing pretty things can become my go-to stress reliever.

Distractions can take on some really surprising forms. Maybe for you, it's sports. Or a television show. The Design Home app (can I get an "amen"?). I don't mean "distractions" in the nefarious super sinful sense here... although those clearly apply as well. I mean distractions that are just that. Distractions. From our calling.

We get pulled in so many directions on a daily basis. We wake up daily to a new promise of God's grace and provision for our day, but everything from news headlines to dead car batteries can pull from our emotional reserves. And before we know it, we may find ourselves with the time to write but with nothing to actually write about.

Can I just encourage you today to guard your heart? As Proverbs says, it's the wellspring of life. If you've allowed yourself to become depleted by the distractions that abound, it's time for a tuneup. Are you giving your emotional resources to the things that matter, or are you waisting your energy on time-suckers and Facebook headlines?

But you guys-- may God give us a vision to see how meaningful, and how vast, and how holy the call to write really is. May we take it seriously, even in its ministry to ourselves. Maybe you've been asking God for emotional healing or hope or a promise from Him... have you considered investing that energy into your story? I know I've written some books that were solely for God to teach me what the heroine was discovering.

The Lord has a tendency to whisper. Have you noticed it? Let me ask you... how loud is the rest of your life? If you practice tuning out those other voices clamoring for your attention, you may just find what you've been looking for... a new sense of depth in your story, and in your life.


Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.


kaybee said...

Ashley, this hit home for me today. I am semi-retired and was so looking forward to having more time to work on Christian fiction, even set up a five-day-a-week schedule to begin in January. Well, I have been able to "work" the schedule to its fullness exactly one day, due to burst pipes, snow emergencies and other fun factoids about life in the Northeast. I've gone back to fitting writing around the edges of everything else. Which I can do, I've done it all my life, but it's disappointing not to be able to do it more, and give it the attention it deserves. Needless to say, this point hit home. I am grateful for the Writers Alley.
Kathy Bailey
Making it work in New Hampshire (of all places)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I just quit my job and the past 2 weeks home have been spent reading and binging on Netflix. My daughter says after 15 years of working stressful jobs, it's okay to relax for a bit. But I feel so guilty not taking advantage of all my free time now! I need to get over that and just write. Write for me. Write for God.

Bryan J. Fagan said...

I was probably your age back in the 1980's. I was distracted back than but I can only imagine being that age in today's world. I'm amazed that all of you kids can breath, let alone write a book. Today's world is tough given all the fun stuff screaming for our attention.

As I get older I seem to have fallen into my grandfather's advice and his key to success: Time Management. The man was a master at it. Every hour meant something. It was not a random number. If it worked for him it works for me and so far its done pretty well.

Excellent article. Thank you!