Archive for the ‘procrastination’ Tag

The Real Problem   2 comments

I had an epiphany.

I’ve had this project I wanted to work on, for over a year. But every time I had a chunk of space, I couldn’t get into it. And not even just couldn’t get into it. I mean I had this feeling like I shouldn’t even be thinking about it even though it’s a project that I love and can get fired up about and can be turned into a vehicle to get more of my writing out there. All of the positives of this project meant nothing, when the feeling came up to make me feel bad about the project. Now, some people might say “That’s God telling you not to do it.” Those people would be wrong. In fact, I’ve very clearly received a kick in the pants from God on this very issue. It surprised me, because I hadn’t realized until that moment that God had anything to do with it. The writing didn’t seem particularly godly, and the person I’d be working closely with is not a Christian, so it never dawned on me that it was of interest to God beyond the principle that all things should be done as if for the Lord.

So it wasn’t God holding me back. What was it? It would seem like something God wanted me to do, once I knew was something He wanted, would be pretty high up in the priorities, right? But still that feeling nagged at me. And finally, I figured out what it was. And once I really truly figured out what it was, I was able to unpack it and examine it and put it away. But just in case it should plague other Christian writers, I wanted to speak about it here.

BookshelfI was a writer before I was a Christian. Whether you count from my childhood decision to follow Christ or from my adult decision that led me back to God, the fact remains that I was a writer first. I learned to read, so that I could write. I have a vivid memory of being about five and I was writing something, but I didn’t know a lot of words, so I had to ask my mother how to spell just about every single word that I wanted to write. How she was so patient, I will never know. What I was writing, I have no idea. But I remember the incident very clearly.

All that to say that many of the stories locked in my head are not “Christian” stories. I would estimate that about 90% of my characters are not Christian. Do I love Christian fiction? As long as it’s good, yes. I have a great appreciation for Christian romance novels because I feel like I’m getting two love stories for the price of one. There’s the love story between the two individuals and the love story between God and Man. They are often very beautifully written and I love the way the chosen Scriptures speak to the conflict. But I cannot write Christian romance. I have tried. It is not what God has gifted me with. It is not inside me to produce. And that is the real problem I’ve been having.

Several years ago, a member of our church was asking about my writing and asked if all my stories had the Gospel in them. I said no, because that’s the truth and their response was to ask “Why not?” And the unspoken part of that question, the part that I heard, though it wasn’t said, was what kind of Christian writes stories that don’t contain the Gospel? What kind of Christian writes stories where the express purpose isn’t to convert the masses? What is the point of writing, as a Christian, if it’s not to bring others into a greater understanding of God’s desire to be in their lives?

And all of that unspoken junk has kept me from really seriously writing since then. I was in a lull at the time and even when I’ve attempted to break from that lull, that sense of shame, of not measuring up, has pulled me back. So, here, for others who may struggle with this, or for me, if I should need to hear it again in the future, I answer those questions.

All of Heaven and Earth proclaim the glory of God to those who have ears to hear. Everything beautiful points to God. He does not have to sign his name at the bottom of the painting for us to know the strokes of the Master who created it. I do not have to shout to those around me for them to see Him at work in my life. In fact, many won’t listen unless you speak softly. Christian literature is for Christians. Atheists and agnostics do not purchase the latest Love Inspired titles. They do not read Karen Kingsbury books. Christians do. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a place for those works.

There is also a place for the works of Christians that do not keep to those tight restrictions of content. There is a place for works by Christians that are relatable for non-Christians. There is a place for Middle Earth and Narnia, worlds where perhaps the Gospel is there, but it isn’t obvious and it doesn’t beat you about the head. That place is where my foul-mouthed, gypsy-cursed Hungarians belong. That is the place where my timid, pyrokinetic redhead belongs. That is the place where my genetically-altered government assassin belongs. That is where my writing belongs. It belongs on a shelf not labeled Christian, where someone might pick it up, and believe that it is beautiful and be interested in the soul that it came from. And when they go looking for that soul, they will find this place. This little spot on the internet where I have poured out my heart about what God is doing in my life. And I have been vulnerable and imperfect and I’ve shown a true face to the world. And maybe, on that day, they’ll believe.

And maybe they won’t.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that all things beautiful show God’s face to the world. And I want to write beautiful things. And no matter what I think a Christian should be writing doesn’t matter. Because a Christian should be writing what is inside them to be written. Especially when God tells them to.

Posted February 18, 2015 by Maidenfine in God, Writing

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Thrifty Gift Exchange (Link Up)   Leave a comment

A couple years ago, in my first or second year as an ML for NaNoWriMo, I participated in an online secret santa among the MLs. I never received a gift, and for a long time, I was worried that my gift didn’t make it to the intended recipient. UPS said they’d left it on the front porch, but it just so happened to be a year with big snows. I was worried it may have disappeared in a snowdrift. Months later, I received a thank you card, along with a beautiful bookmark and was greatly relieved. However, it left me with a little bit of a bad taste for online gift exchanges.

I’ve seen mention of several blogger gift exchanges and thought they sounded cool, but there was always that experience of the previous exchange looming. Plus, some of them I’d only read about after the fact. And really, it’s not an issue of “If I get a gift, I better get one back.” It’s more of a, “I don’t know if I can really spare the money for a gift, so it’s a sacrifice and maybe I’ll get ignored in return.” Most of my issue with the ML Secret Santa thing was that, because of all the snow, I was worried that they really had sent me something and it got buried in a snowdrift. And then there’s also the fact that I hate when someone commits to do something and then doesn’t follow through.

But I decided to be brave. When I saw mention of a Thrifty Gift Exchange ($10 or less), and it was actually early enough to sign up, I decided to give it a go. The $10 or less thing made me feel better about buying a stranger a gift, and honestly, I’ve been meaning to interact more with other bloggers. Blogging is supposed to be about community, right? So I signed up. And while I don’t regret it, I definitely learned some things.

1) If it doesn’t go in my phone, I don’t remember it. I could have been way ahead of the game on this one, but instead, I was only a few days from the mailing deadline when I realized I’d forgotten all about it and emailed my partner to get her info and look at her blog. I really should have determined before I even got her info when and where I was going to shop for her.

2) Thrift stores in this town suck. I went to three. And I ended up buying my thrifty gift from the clearance section at a regular store because there was just nothing good at any of them. The first had jewelry and accessories. A lot of them actually. But none of them was even close to what I was looking for. So no-go. The second told me I couldn’t carry my backpack in their store. But as worried as they apparently were about being stolen from, I wasn’t about to leave my backpack (with my few expensive belongings) out in my car to be stolen. Plus, from the few minutes I was in their store, their jewelry and accessory pickings were slim. The third one, didn’t have any jewelry at all. So yeah. If I’m going to be shopping thrift stores for an exchange in the future, I’d better get clothing and shoe sizes. Otherwise, it’s not happening.

3) The post office likes to be closed on Mondays. I was already behind. Then I saw the perfect stuff, but when I went back for it, I misremembered the times and the event was over, so I couldn’t get it. Then all the thrift store hopping happened. So, basically, I was supposed to get my package in the mail by the 25th, and I hadn’t even found anything good yet. So I emailed my partner (because communication is big), and promised to have it in the mail the next Monday. And then the post office was closed. Curse them and their random holidays!

Anyway, the package made it off the next day. And I followed the monetary guidelines, even if I didn’t find anything in the thrift stores (which was supposed to be the thing – finding treasures for each other in thrift stores). Honestly, she got a much better gift from the clearance section than anything I even saw in the thrift stores. Everything just looked dirty to me. Worse than stuff I’ve found in garage sales. I was tempted to make her a gift out of duct tape, but I felt like the exchange was about finding treasures within a budget, not about creating something. My next gift exchange, I’ll try to go for a “create something” exchange. For now, I”m happy that I bit the bullet and participated. I got to meet a cool new lady, whose blog I’d never visited before (and that I plan to spend a lot more time exploring), and I got a good learning experience regarding what is and is not available in the thrift stores in my town. And also, which one to not shop in, because they’d make me leave my bag outside. Which is a little like my phone in its importance to me. I have everything in there, including stuff that I can’t afford to replace if it gets stolen.

It seems that I was partnered up with someone who is equally plagued by procrastination, since I haven’t received anything yet. I don’t really mind, since this time I at least got to talk to my partner. And I can always update this post when something does come. This will be linked up with the Thrifty Gift Exchange at a punk, a pumpkin, and a peanut.

 

Edit: I did get something just a few days after this post went up. It was a beautiful scarf and a lovely necklace. My partner was clearly a much better thrifter than I was. I apologize that I never got any pictures of what she sent me.

Posted August 6, 2012 by Maidenfine in Randomness

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