Friday, February 1, 2019

Juggling the Author Life by Melinda V Inman

Melinda V Inman

Juggling the Author Life

Many of us envisioned idyllic times of writing in quiet rooms with little interruption. We would work as long as the inspiration gripped us, pounding out words and emotions onto our laptops. We imagined Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott in attics or secluded locations. We would record our thoughts with the modern equivalent of their parchment and ink-stained fingers.

Rarely is it like this. Rather, it’s more like juggling.

Many of us rise at 4 or 5 a.m. to grab an hour of writing before we get our family up and off to school, and then we head to work ourselves. Some of us forego sleep, squeezing in our hours of writing long after everyone else in the house slumbers. These are the only hours available.

Some write on the run, driving our kids, watching their activities, perhaps schooling them, and then quickly pounding words onto the laptops we drag along. We hold onto that emotion or that next sentence as we drive from one location to another, chatting with kids and enjoying their stories, all the while hoping we don't lose the inspired thought before the next stop.

Some are full-timers, our entire day circling our writing. But life still happens, bringing repairmen, illnesses, company, emergencies, and cherished interactions with loved ones right into the climax of the novel, pushing us also to be midnight writers and carriers of ideas scribbled into notebooks crammed into our purses.

As with Austen and Alcott in their era, this is the time period in which God had us born. Therefore, we’re writing precisely where he desires.

So, what do we do?

First, we recognize that this tension has always existed for writers. Life happens to every Christian author. Consider, for instance, the apostle Paul. For about three months, he holed up as a houseguest in Corinth. There, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he penned a masterpiece. He also dealt with all the messy problems expressed in the letters to the Corinthians.

There were meetings, meals, disagreements, local church politics, conversations with repentant sinners, sessions with church leaders, and the urgent pressing of the Holy Spirit, all while Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, an organized theological argument filled with powerful doctrine. Three months. Miraculous. With all of those “interruptions,” imagine how he felt as he wrote.

Obviously, we’re not writing Scripture, but we are penning what the Lord has given us for his purposes and the advancement of the Gospel in today’s wider world. That means our words are important. It also means that those “interruptions” are necessary.

When the Lord allows a pause to enter the composition, there’s a real-life person or situation that takes precedence at that time. He pries us away, giving a lesson he wants us to ponder, a point he wants to make. A so-called interruption is, therefore, more like Selah, a term used in the Psalms, a call to pause and to reflect.

This is God’s way of giving us time to interact with him about what comes next and the impact of that particular portion of the story. Rather than merely pounding it into reality, we’re instead forced to step away, stow it in our brains, talk to the Lord about it, and maybe even sleep on it. This produces a sense of writerly frustration, but it’s coupled with our recognition of deeper truths, which are revealed during the wait.

God leads us. Remember that.

The events of our lives are significant and are used by God to shape the piece of writing. Take time to listen to the Lord, to consider the whys of the events that take us from our laptops, and, most importantly, to consult the Lord himself.

Rely on the Holy Spirit. Give the story into his hands. Let him lead.





The Shadows Come

The sequel to No Longer Alone is ready! You can help publish this story. I'm giving away free copies to everyone who does! I'll put your name right inside the book. Come and join me @Patreon


Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at http://MelindaInman.com/blog/. To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at http://bit.ly/MelindasBooks/.

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45 comments:

  1. "A so-called interruption is, therefore, more like Selah." Oh, may I adopt this attitude!
    Thanks Melinda!

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    1. Understanding this took years of repeating this to myself over and over again. I must be a slow learner. :)

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  2. Super helpful post as I’ve been trying to figure out a way to not feel like a pinball with writing and blogging! This was encouraging that I’m not alone!

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    1. A pinball! What a vivid word picture! Yes, that's exactly what it's like, and yet, somehow this tension is used powerfully by God to keep us relying on him and pondering and praying over the project.

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  3. It's amazing what authors can get done amidst the norm of day to day life, and I love the example of Paul!

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    1. Yes, Paul! If Paul can write Romans under those conditions, we can certainly rely on the Lord to give us the content for our story or article.

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  4. Yes, being a writer has a lot of challenges, but God...

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  5. I just read this morning about the disappointments, the interruptions, the heartaches are God's doing (I Kings...forgot the scripture reference), meant to turn our distracted little hearts back to Him. My writing sure dries up the harder I try to write without spiritual fuel of quiet time with the Author. Great post, Melinda!

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    1. That's so true, Mary! Our little hearts are so often distracted and we need turning back. Thanks for adding this to the conversation!

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  6. Good thoughts. This is the reality of most of our lives. Thanks for the example of Paul.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful that God included all of these details in the Word that show us the real lives of the first-century Christians - people just like us! There's so much encouragement in the details of the Bible! Thanks for commenting, Joyce!

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  7. Ah, yes ... the many interruptions that we can't seem to avoid! Some days, it feels like I'm battling uphill to get anything done!

    Thanks for your encouraging post, Melinda!

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    1. My friend Brittany reminded me of a quote by Steven Furtick: "Sometimes the interruption is the assignment." The so-called interruptions shape the writing and provide the growth. Selah. I'm glad to be on the journey alongside you, Dawn!

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  8. I am so encouraged by these words, as I write in the middle of the living room with one sick child and one toddler playing. There are many pauses these days, to read, for snacks, and diapers, and whatever else comes up. Writing happens right here, in the middle of real life. I would say I long at times for a quiet space to hide away and write. God didn't place me in that place, and knew this introvert needs to be surrounded by people to stay connected to others, have compassion, and not just get focused on information. "we’re writing precisely where he desires." Amen. Thank you!

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    1. Elaine, that's such good insight. That was me in the years when my children were all young. Not much writing was accomplished, it didn't seem, but so much growth and learning to love unconditionally. Good lessons! Seasons of life come and go. Later, when they're older or grown, may yield more quiet time. For now, keep pressing on as the Lord gives you moments and tiny windows for writing. Keep prioritizing your family. Observe them. Love them. Serve them. God bless you!

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  9. Great thoughts. I am learning to schedule my writing time everyday. :-)

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    1. I think a daily schedule is important for a writer, along with the flexibility to let go of the schedule when the Lord allows the unexpected to "interrupt." I enjoy your writing, Melissa!

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  10. This wisdom applies in so many areas of life. As a parent, a spouse...learning to view 'interruptions' differently could really change so much! Jesus set us a wonderful example to follow for sure.

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    1. I agree! It really is a life lesson, Susan, especially for the goal-oriented and the task completers. We can become so frustrated by anything that blocks our progress, but the Lord allows those "interruptions" for a reason. Thanks for your comment.

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  11. I like to call those interruptions "divine appointments." I check with God to see what He has in mind when they happen.

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    1. A wonderful way to think of them, Linda! They are divine appointments, ordained by God for his own purposes. Our task is to go with it, teasing out the meaning and the lesson. Check with God is always a great strategy, I agree!

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  12. Great post, Melinda - - thank you for sharing this!
    So often it's easy for us to feel frustrated at interruptions or lack of writing time, but reading your nuggets of wisdom reminds us those interruptions serve a purpose!
    Blessings as you write for Him, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, bless you as you write for Jesus, facing whatever "interruptions" he allows to come your way and whatever squeezing of your writing time. God is in all of it. May your writing bless many as a result!

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  13. Oh wow, Melinda. This really takes some of the sting out of what feels like a harried writing life by doing what you do best--refocusing me back on Christ and relationship. Thank you.

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    1. That's what is always boils down to, isn't it! Great insight, Stephanie! Think of Jesus, how everything was about relationship with the Father, with his disciples, and with those in need of salvation. Yet, he had a purpose, a goal, a direction he was headed. In his wholeness and perfect relationship with God, Jesus always remained preoccupied with the Father. The Father's leading took care of the accomplishment of the goal in exactly the right time.

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  14. Praise the Lord for the interruptions that gove us time to pause and reflect on Him.

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    1. So very true! The longer I write, the more I recognize that. The Lord knows exactly what we need! Thanks for commenting, Deb. :)

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  15. I loved this! So encouraged by your words about Paul. There's no easy way to follow God's calling. I also love your reminder that interruptions are about perspective. I tend to get really frazzled, when I should instead be asking God what he's showing me - or simply stepping back to see what's really happening. Great post, dear writer.

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  16. Thank you for your kind words! Isn't the Bible wonderful, Peggy! We have the raw truth recorded. We see their struggles. We see their failures. We see their victories in Jesus. Paul's time crunch, his disagreement with Barnabas, Timothy's upset tummy, Epaphroditus' sickness ending his plans to serve with Paul, Jacob's wild sons, Abraham's taking matters into his own hands, Peter's denial, etc., etc. I could go on. I love the tiny glimpses into their humanity. Then we see clearly that we're just like them. Flawed people. Weak. Needy. Exactly the kind of people Jesus loves. And, if God can use them for his glorious purposes, he can use us, even when we're time crunched and flustered because of the "interruptions." God is so good!

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  17. Sister, I NEEDED to read this today. Thank you!! 😊

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    1. Praise the Lord for the timely post! I pray over my posts, trusting the Lord to give me what others need for encouragement. God is good!

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  18. “A so-called interruption is, therefore, more like Selah, a term used in the Psalms, a call to pause and to reflect.“. Words I’m taking with me...Jesus allowed Himself to be interrupted many meaningful moments were in fact “interruptions” but nothing is a surprise to God. To set aside “my” agenda for what He arranges. A Selah. Thank you for a meaningful post.

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    1. Yes! Thank you for adding that to the conversation, Liz. He was interrupted countless times, and he dealt with each one in the order ordained by God, including the little girl who died while he was attending to another who was in line first. Upon arriving, he raised the little girl from the dead. Never did he get rattled. Always, he was calm. Without fail, his eyes were on the Father and his perfect timing. The lesson of his behavior, words, and actions is our model. Thanks for commenting, Liz.

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  19. Great post and I can relate in some ways because for the last past year our Daughter and Grandson have been living with us, I am a Disabled Veteran and love writing and making inspirational videos but have found that I need to figure out a schedule so I can still be Dad and Pop Pop and Husband as well. Praying for God to help me figure my schedule out so I can still serve online and minister to others. Thanks for this post!!! God Bless

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  20. Brother, that’s the essence of those “interruptions.” There’s usually important work to be done, lessons to be learned, and people to be loved. And the Lord calls you to that task, too, while granting space for reflection. May the Lord bless both your work and the other tasks the Lord brings your way.

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  21. Good insight, Melinda. I've been writing for almost five years, so not terribly long. Yet, I understand the frustration when I'm trying to get writing complete or work on a piece or my book, and life just happens. I agree that the Lord will use the pauses to influence our writing. I'm often writing in my subconscious when I'm not at my laptop.

    And the pause often brings a needed refreshment. Thank you!

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    1. We all have to deal with at one time or another, often frequently, especially if our main gig is writing. The big projects that are in the hundreds of pages seems to always have these challenges. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, Karen!

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  22. Is this ever timely for me! I feel that tension. I am hardly doing the writing I enjoy... honestly it feels like it's 10% writing 30% editing and 70% promoting, packaging, etc as it is.. not to mention life.

    And yes - especially w/ younger kids, especially a baby, I need to let life in and let it happen and be OK with surrendering my agenda.

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    1. The percentages you gave are one of the greatest frustrations for most of us, unknown writer. When we started we had no idea. Getting the message out takes a significant part of our time. It is THE major “interruption”! Yet, this is the time in history when the Lord has us writing, and this is what our time in history requires. We wrestle with this daily. Give this over to the Lord. Only he can provide the readers and the results. The discipline of yielding the way we wish it was and accepting the way it is requires grace.

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  23. Thank you for the reminder... It gave me permission to stop judging myself for lack of progress.

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    1. Well said! We so easily slide into that, especially when we’re task or completion oriented. I can relate. It’s all in the Lord’s hands. Seek his face in the Selah.

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  24. I'm sure you have heard this over and over in the comments: This is me! I am a very irregular typist as life happens around me, but my writing happens throughout every day. Yes, I have seen the interruptions give me pause to, then, later type something different only because of reflection or perspective. I devoured every word of this post, Melinda. Thank you.

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