Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Practice of Writing With Intentional Consistency

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The title of this post may seem too obvious to merit mention, but I would beg you to stick with me. Life these days is incredibly busy. We’re subdividing our time into smaller and smaller portions, leaving us with just more details to keep track of.

Writing can easily fall between the cracks.


But I would propose that worked-in-between-the-insanity isn’t where our writing belongs. We have been given a gift and entrusted with a calling. I’ve come to believe it’s poor stewardship on my part to ignore that. So I’ve decided to begin the practice of writing with intentional consistency.

But all around, no matter my good intentions, life continues to loom and intrude.

So how am I putting intentional consistency into practice?

Determine your most creative hours of the day.
1.  I’ve determined my most creative hours of the day and blocked them off on my calendar. For me it’s the morning—anytime before noon. Truthfully, I’m not able to spend every single morning writing, but with the time blocked off, it makes me weigh other opportunities differently.

2. I set weekly goals. I prefer weekly over daily goals because they’re easier to meet. If I miss a day for some reason, I still have the rest of the week to meet the expectations I’ve set.  Sometimes I structure my goals around word count, but not always. Right now I’m working on a series of devotions, so I have a set number I want to finish editing each week.

3. I write regularly. No, I don’t always write something every day. I believe writers should have a Sabbath rest. But I write when I don’t feel like it, as well as when I feel like it. Hear my heart on this. We are all busy. We all have important things that need doing. But if we’re going to call ourselves writers then writing MUST be one of those things. We can’t just talk about writing, critique other writers, or plan to write when life slows down. If we choose that attitude then we’re no better than the rich man in Luke 12 who was planning to build bigger barns. We are not promised tomorrow and we’ve got to quit squandering today.

4. I respect my calling. This is an attitude change for me. Through prayer and study, I’ve determined that God expects me to be obedient. I know, not a huge revelation, but just wait. That obedience isn’t supposed to only be in regard to the hard or the difficult things in my life. Obedience is foundational to everything. You see, I love writing and because it’s fun, I had developed the idea that it wasn’t important. And by the way, this has nothing to do with whether or not I'm making money with my writing. It has to do with obedience only.

I'm willing to let God set my priorities.
5. I’m willing to let God set my priorities, even when it means saying no. I’m doing my best to model my life on Jesus. As I’ve studied His life, I’ve realized that He was not constrained by someone else’s agenda—even when it was urgent. He walked away from crowds who needed healing, those who were hurting, even disciples who were confused. Only God set His priorities. Everywhere around us are ministries that need workers, children who need babysitting, and loved ones who need help. I am not God. I cannot be everywhere at once. God is the only one who can make sense of all the needs surrounding me. When He says no, I go with it. When He says write, I sit down and write.

6. I’ve enlisted a team. Actually, I have a couple of them. I have a prayer team who pray specifically for me and my writing ministry. I also have a group of writers that I meet with regularly. Both groups hold me accountable and help me remember my priorities. They also give me the perspective I need to make wise choices.

7. I now take time off. I’ve tried to work every waking hour I can, and it just doesn’t work. I’m not capable of sustaining that time of schedule. It makes me cranky, tired, and generally difficult to live with. It’s also NOT fair to my family and friends. Relationships do matter. When my life is out of balance, my calling isn’t the only thing that suffers.

8. I nurture my relationship with God. This is foundational and without it, numbers 1 through 7 are meaningless. I make regular times of prayer and study a priority. I’ve discovered—the hard way—that the crazier life gets, the more time I need with God.

None of these eight things is earth shattering, in fact they’re fairly obvious unless we’re applying them to ourselves. For me though, they required a dramatic shift in thinking and acting. I’d love for you to share your thoughts on intentional consistency in your writing life. Be sure to share your comments in the section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

Writers write. Learning to practiceintentional consistency with #writing - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

20 comments:

  1. Clearly and distinctly stated. Intentionality is the starting point. Consistency in applying those intentions is the key to reaching the goals set. On this topic, I would recommend a book that has made all the difference in my writing practices: _The On-Purpose Person_ by Kevin McCarthy. It's short and succinctly written, but its message, like yours, is powerful and has the potential to revolutionize one's writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dennis, well stated. Thank you, too, for the book recommendation! Blessings, E

      Delete
  2. Edie, Thank you for your dedication to us. I learn so much from you. I must keep a schedule or I get anxious or lazy. I draw from the well of living water to sustain me. I have not set goals yet. I will do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherrilynn, great insight! Thanks & Blessings, E

      Delete
  3. Edie, as always, thanks for the wisdom expressed in this post. For me, I believe, the biggest shift was number 4; realizing my writing is important and God expects me to write in obedience to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandy, that was a biggie for me too. Blessings, E

      Delete
  4. Thank you Edie, for reminding me to prioritize and set goals. The number one goal, put God first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gail, that's an excellent goal for us all! Blessings, E

      Delete
  5. As I wrap up another book I vow not to be in this situation again--that of working against a deadline because time got away from me. I'm setting your plan in motion, working some each day so that the deadline doesn't slip up on me. Thanks for the reminder!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat, I have to do that or I just can't keep up! Blessings, E

      Delete
  6. Edie, it's amazing how often your posts speak to directly what I've been praying about. Today is a perfect example, so I want to say thank you for being intentionally consistent in your writing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martha, thank you for the encouragement! Blessings, E

      Delete
  7. two things i've heard / seen recently. i was in awe at meeting one of my favorite authors (she is now a precious friend) and my best friend said, simply, "You're one of them now." meaning a published author!
    second is a list of nuggets for new authors. on that list the blogger said to start calling / thinking of yourself AS an author / writer.
    it's a mental thing. i'm like you and love what i do—and sometimes find it hard to believe that something that is so FUN for me is actually Kingdom related and Father's purpose for me!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, those are great encouragement! Blessings, E

      Delete
  8. Edie, thank you for this encouragement. I am working to allow God to set my priorities. I think I've been getting in His way. You are so right. Writing is a gift from Him and should be stewarded back into His kingdom. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent article, Edie. Yes, God expects us to be obedient, even when it's fun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Encouraging article. Some one introduced me as a writer the other day. Because of you and the good folks at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference's I didn't feel like a fraud. Well, less like a fraud. Thank you for Intentional Consistency.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Girl. Such great stuff here. The Lord has been dealing with me in this very area. My nature is to bounce around, on-the-fly and off-the-cuff. Can a person procrastinate intentionality? Because I think I do that.

    Thanks for sharing this. I need to come back and read it again tomorrow. And then the next day. And then all of the other days.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you, Edie. This message is timely since I have difficulty balancing God, family and reading and writing this summer. I like your concept of weekly goals, as meeting daily goals has been challenging.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you, Edie. I have no problem being consistent during school but when my husband, a high school math teacher, is home for the summer schedules fall by the wayside. He may announce a trip to the beach or mountains when we awake expecting to be on the road within an hour or he may just want me to go shopping with him in another city. I try to be flexible but it is difficult to find quality time to write. Being reminded that I have a higher purpose than just writing to be writing helps me focus. Thank you for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete