Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overcoming the Writing Overwhelm by Cindy Sproles

This is the time of year when things can really get overwhelming: shopping, Thanksgiving, shopping, cooking, shopping, relatives,  - oh, yes, and shopping. Where does your writing fit in to your schedule during the holidays? Cindy Sproles, of christiandevotions.us has some wonderful thoughts for us to help us overcome the "overwhelm."
~ Angie

Life does have a way of happening. As much as I make the effort to control the things around me the truth is, I’m not in control at all. Publishers and professionals tell me, “You must blog. Facebook is an asset to your writing career. And oh, chirp, warble…uh no, it’s tweet, tweet, TWEET .”

When I gazed across my to-do list and see its length, my stomach churned. Worse yet, none of the work is my personal writing. It’s writing for others, reading submissions and editing. In the back of my head my own novel flailed, bobbing up and down through the river of “stuff” that called my hand of attention. My work was floating but I was personally drowning.

How do we manage to write when we’re overwhelmed? It begins when we re-examine the reason we write. The reason we write is from a love, a passion that burns deep inside us—that gift God has placed within us to nurture and develop so He is able to use our talent. When we allow the world to overwhelm us with earthly junk, God won’t work through us. We shove God to the bottom of the slush pile when it’s His calling that has ignited the desire to write.

I sat in front of my computer screen in a fog. Tweets popped up in the corner of the screen and instant messages lined the bottom. Who do I answer first? I slowly inched the cursor over the x and closed out Tweetdeck. One by one, I closed the instant messages and marked myself … off-line in Gmail. My heart knew I needed quiet.

I turned in my Bible to Isaiah and his words of encouragement … but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Just reading these words gave me a renewed strength.

Mental and physical overload is a worldly thing that sends me into a frenzy where the unimportant clouds the words God speaks to me to write.

It seems clich√© to say “Pray,” but God wants us to bring every need, every thought to Him. When we offer up our plate filled with “things,” it’s His pleasure to scrap it clean.

Fighting overload begins at the feet of Christ—where we release the unnecessary and regain the necessary.

The work is too much to handle alone. Be quiet. Lift your weariness to the one who can manage it. Give the work to God. Renew your strength. Then, will you find the strength to fight the overwhelming junk of the world.

I get it God, I thought. So I slammed my Bible closed and grinned as a Twitter feather floated to the floor.

You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Exodus 18:18

Cindy Sproles is Editor and co-founder of Mountain Breeze Ministries and co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries. She has contributed to Novel Journey, Novel Reviews, and contributes to the Times-News.net. She co-writes the He Said, She Said devotions with Eddie Jones, which are featured on Christian Devotions Ministries and in Common Ground Christian Newspaper. Cindy is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and has a BA in Business.


  1. Thanks! I needed to start my day with this.

  2. Thanks. I've finally cleaned up the feathers (smile)

  3. Wow! Ditto! I just came off a whirlwind weekend with my youngest daughter getting married. Put the last visiting relative on the plane yesterday. The wedding was amazing and such a blessing. But now I'm exhausted and looking at a very large to-do list. So, I definitely needed to read this today. Thanks, Cindy!

  4. I am ashamed to say I often find it difficult to do what He tells me, after I have asked Him what to do. For me, it is WIP, first, before I even check on mail. He knows how easily I get distracted with good things (yes, they are all good, but it is humanly impossible to do them all). The days I obey, I am energized from my work (when you do what you love it gives you energy instead of runs you down). In the time that's left, I even seem to have a clearer perspective of what things I should get involved with, and which I should pass by, simply because I can't put one more thing in my basket without something more important falling out.

    I'm not even going to describe what happens on the days I don't listen, except the first picture that comes to mind is what Pinocchio looked like after his visit to Pleasure Island. However, the thing that has been most helpful, considering my particular personality, has been to create an entirely new desktop on my computer that is just for writing. Only my work is there. Now, I find that I immediately kick over into an enthusiastic "working mode" the minute I go there. Even the wallpaper helps because that's different, too: something stimulating to whatever setting my current WIP is in. With such success, you would think there wouldn't be the slightest temptation anymore. Except "Pleasure Island" has a way of popping up in front of you, instead of staying put where you left it last.

    So, I'm still working on that.

  5. Cindy,Thanks for sharing. It always amazes me how the Lord renews our strength when we take the time to wait upon Him. When I take the time to seek Him and to remember this is for Him, then the "burden" to write becomes a blessing as once more He puts the words to write into my mind. I love it when the words pour from my pen and spill onto the paper.
    Grace and peace to you,
    Glenda Mills


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