Monday, February 11, 2013

From Seed to Sprout, Part 2 by Sharlene MacLaren

Sharlene MacLaren
It's the beginning of another writing week, friends. Sharlene MacLaren is here to encourage us as she continues her relatable series on the writer's journey. For the first post in the series, click here. I don't know about you, but God has been speaking to me lately about my dreams and about claiming that special territory at home to write. Shar covers these topics and more this week. Enjoy! ~ Annette

From Seed to Sprout, Part 2*
by Sharlene MacLaren

Truly, my writing did begin with a dream. I had no idea what it meant at first, this dream that I’d written a novel, and only years down the road did it finally make complete sense to me. I knew I was drawing near to retirement from teaching, and I prayed, rather, pled with God to give me a new direction for my life, something that would not only fulfill me, but would hopefully impact others. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I knew I wanted to complete my final years on earth making a difference in others’ lives.

Well, one night in the summer of 2000, I dreamt I’d written a novel. At first, I tossed it aside as perhaps one of the silliest dreams I’d ever had. But when it recurred three or four more times over the course of the next several nights I began to wonder if the dream had credibility. I don’t normally take much stock in dreams. They’re usually disjointed and nonsensical, but this one kept repeating itself, and when I recalled having asked God to give me a plan and a purpose and to lead me into something fulfilling for the second chapter of my life, I started taking the dream seriously.

God never directs us to do something without first equipping us. Listen to what 2 Chronicles 20:12 says. “Oh, our God . . . we are powerless . . . nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” Keep your eyes on Christ. If you’re feeling a call to write, then act upon that calling, start! Don’t just sit on it. Do something. Yes, there are times you and I feel utterly inept, worthless, incapable, even inferior, but we can do all things through Christ who not only gives us the strength, but provides inspiration, clarity of thought, guidance, encouragement, and support—everything we need to fulfill the task He has set before us. Pray about your plot line, your characters, your theme, the scriptures you can weave into your story, and what you want your readers to walk away with after having read your story. Don’t necessarily write to publish, because what you’re writing might not be the book that goes before an editor’s eyes, but write for God’s eyes—always God’s eyes. He will see to it your book reaches the right publisher at the PRECISE right time—when HE sees fit.

Even if it's just a little corner of the house, let it be known to your family that this is your spot for writing then warn them what will happen if they cross over into your territory! For instance, I’m fortunate enough to have my own office – with a door! And on the outside of my door is this sign: WARNING! NOVELIST AT WORK. BYSTANDERS MAY BE WRITTEN INTO THE STORY.

Of course, everyone knows it’s a joke, but it’s my subtle way of saying, “Hey, I’m a real live author, and I have a job to do, so please take me seriously and realize that I need time and space so that I can accomplish the goals set before me.” In time, your family and friends will begin to catch on that this ‘writing thing’ is more than just a hobby. I remember the day very well when shortly after starting to write I said to my husband, “This is not one of those things that I’m going to delight in for a while but then grow tired of doing. Nope. This is here to stay, and if I live to be 90, and God sees fit to bless me with a sound mind all the way up to the end, I will sit my little old wrinkled behind on a chair and write — crippled fingers and all!”

When creating your space, whether it’s an office or just a little corner somewhere remote, make sure it’s big enough to house a desk then try to surround yourself with things that inspire, a vase of flowers, a candle, familiar photos, your favorite mug, and all the supplies you will need so that you don’t have to keep getting up and running through the house in search of it. Then put a “Hands Off” sign on your desk—with a smiley face so people won’t start thinking of you as the grump of the household. 

*This series originally appeared on Sharlene's blog in October, 2012. Used by permission.


Sofia's Secret by Sharlene MacLaren
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. She traveled married one of her childhood friends and together they raised two lovely daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, "Shar" enjoys reading, writing, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and precious grandson. Shar is a regular speaker for her local MOPS organization, is involved in KIDS' HOPE USA, a mentoring program for at–risk children, counsels young women in the Apples of Gold program, and is active in two weekly Bible studies. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan with their lovable collie, Dakota, and Mocha, their lazy fat cat.

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