Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Harvesting Life Experiences for Writing by Emily Conrad

Tomato Harvest


I’m growing tomatoes this year, but the process hasn’t been completely smooth. Thanks to squirrels, bugs, and my own errors in judging when a tomato is ripe, some fruit isn’t fit for human consumption.

I sometimes run into similar problems when I go to harvest life experiences by writing about them.

Generally, writing helps me process and draws me back to faith again and again. When I share about tough situations in a way that might encourage others, I feel like good has come from a situation. In a way, that event has been redeemed.

However, when I try to pick certain experiences for writing, I find them unfit for sharing—spoiled. Perhaps the event isn’t my story to tell, the telling would hurt someone, or I don’t yet have perspective to write about the experience in a helpful way.

Like those tomatoes, these experiences seem like a waste.

However, before I abandoned all the spoiled tomatoes to nature, I realized even a damaged tomato holds great potential: seeds.

tomato seed packet


I can gather the seeds, wait for them to dry, and then use them to start my garden next year—and for a lot less than I paid for seeds this year! I’ll have enough to share seeds or seedlings with friends for their gardens, too. And all from something I thought was a loss.

Likewise, none of our experiences are losses. God can use them all, even if first, we must wait. Maybe it’ll take longer than one winter, but someday, in some way, God can use the perspective we gain from our trials to bless someone else.

As writers, when we gather the seeds of inspiration by taking notes we can’t use yet, we’re storing up for a purposeful planting in the future. We can grow a bountiful garden--a whole variety of written works--from our experiences, as long as we wait until the timing is right. Until the pain, questions, or even wonder has matured into perspective.

Would you believe there’s even a biblical example of this?

When the shepherds got Jesus’s birth announcement from the angels and went and saw the new little family, "they related what they had been told about this child [...] But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean." Luke 2:17, 19, NET

What a contrast. The shepherds spread the word while Mary gathered the seeds of an experience that must’ve seemed far too big and wonderful and confusing and even dangerous for her. She waited and she watched.

Did she later share her testimony? Is that how her part of the story came to be included in the Gospel of Luke? I don’t know. Certainly, God could’ve revealed it another way. But in that little sentence where Mary quietly stores up all that is happening, I see a heart willing to wait on God’s direction and timing.
tomato seeds

It’s not our job to redeem our experiences. We’re called to be witnesses for our Heavenly Father, telling others about what He’s done when and where He directs us to. Sometimes, we get to harvest our experiences by writing about them immediately. Other times, God may ask us to spend time gathering seeds, waiting, planting, and growing.

Regardless, with God, nothing is lost. Nothing is wasted. All our experiences are part of His plan for the good of His people. He—not our own writing—is our Redeemer.

_____________________

I find some life experiences unfit for sharing. Perhaps the event isn’t my story to tell or I don’t yet have perspective to write about the experience in a helpful way. Are these experiences wasted? @emilyrconrad for #seriouslywrite #writetip

We can grow a bountiful garden--a whole variety of written works--from our experiences, as long as we wait until the timing is right. @emilyrconrad on #writing about real life #seriouslywrite

With God, nothing is lost. Nothing is wasted. All our experiences are part of His plan for the good of His people. @emilyrconrad on writing about real life #seriouslywrite #writetip


Photo credits
Tomato and seed photos by Emily Conrad
Graphics created on Canva.com


Emily Conrad headshotEmily Conrad writes Christian romance and a blog to encourage women of faith. Her debut novel, Justice, released from Pelican Book Group in 2018. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence Justice is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.

www.emilyconradauthor.com
Facebook.com/emilyconradauthor
Instagram.com/emilyrconrad
Twitter.com/emilyrconrad

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN/JUSTICE

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God's love and in each other?


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4 comments:

  1. I believe that through our experiences, we have opportunities to share God's love with others. Great message Emily.

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    1. Yes, I believe that, too! Thanks so much for reading, Melissa!

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  2. "Regardless, with God, nothing is lost. Nothing is wasted. All our experiences are part of His plan for the good of His people." Amen!! Love the analogy to our writing, Emily

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary! I'm grateful for the way God uses gardening to inspire writing for me--otherwise, I don't know what I'd write about half the time ;)

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