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.
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