I have something of an addictive personality. And I really love writing. I don’t like leaving projects I care about half-finished (though projects I don’t care about, well, that’s a different story. One of my flaws that I’m working on). Of course, when you’re talking about a project the size of a novel, whether you’re drafting it, revising it, or outlining it, or something in between, there is no getting through that in one sitting.
Now that “The Crimson League” is back from my editor and I’m going through her suggestions, I’m feeling that addictive tug start a bit, the sense of hurry and anxiety that I’m far too familiar with. Which is fine. That’s normal. The faith I’ve developed over the last few years, and most especially, the prayer life I’ve cultivated through nothing but grace, has helped me recognize it and combat it.
Because let’s be honest: there are TONS more important things in life than writing! So, what steps am I taking to not invest too much time my writing when I have other things to work on as well, like relationships? Like translation projections? Like prayer?
- PRAYER FIRST. That simply has become a non-negotiable. My personal prayer life involves the Divine Office (a holdover from my time in religious formation, as I get SO much out of it) and time daily, first thing each morning, praying over Scripture. (Google lectio divina if you’re interested, or watch this video). Everything else in my day flows from that, because I’ve learned that prioritizing God is not an emotion thing. It’s a priority thing.
- RESOLUTION. I have always been taught to end prayer with making a resolution for the day. Ideally, based on the biblical passage I read and how God spoke to me, I make a resolution for the day to act in a certain way, or to do a certain thing, or to remind myself periodically of this or that light God gave me. Am I perfect in making and keeping my resolutions? Definitely not. But I’m trying to develop consistency there. It’s a great goal and great motivation.
- REACHING OUT. A lot of times my resolution will end up being something like, “I will call my grandfather today and catch up with him.” “I will talk to my niece and my sister.” “I will reach out to this friend who I know is going through a difficulty.”
- TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS. Some days my resolution is something more like, “I will make sure I devote time to working on my translation project. I’m letting that slip more than I should.” “I need to sweep and dust my apartment.” “I have this chore that needs to be done.”
These small resolutions, and following through (I do them before I start writing after work when that’s possible) prevents that addictive strain of my personality from getting too strong.
I also let God simply remind in prayer time that I am a work in progress, just like my trilogy. I won’t be sanctified or fulfill my purpose in a day. And it’s perfectly ok if this project of my fiction takes time as well. It doesn’t have to be finish NOW. It will be done in God’s time. He will take care of it. He knows what his plans are for it.
If you liked this post, or are curious about my journey in religious life, you might like the following posts: the best edit I made to my approach to writing (my most liked post), starting anew, life imitating art