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Today I Wrote

Today I wrote.

I wrote 1,000 words in my first book.

I’ve been writing this book for a few months. I began by just getting the story out of my head and onto paper, a very sloppy rough draft. Now I am going back through it and adding in all the details of the stories, adding flesh to the bones that exist. 

Each day when I sit down to write, I am never quite sure how I will feel when I’m done. Writing is easy some days, and other days requires great discipline. Not just writing, but also certain parts of the editing process can have an effect on my mood.

For example, when I write about the difficult parts of my life, I often leave feeling depleted. It’s tiring to relive painful details even though that’s what I’ve set out to do in this book. Even when I’m sharing experiences that I can talk openly and freely about since I have seen God redeem them for his glory, sitting down to recount the specific events, feelings, and outcomes of the pain takes a lot of my energy. I leave these writing sessions satisfied, yet tired. 

When I write about the joys of my life like these “Today I” posts, devotionals, or theology, I often leave feeling peaceful. I feel calm, though my husband may not think so. I love theology, including the complexities of it and asking questions, so I’m always in a good mood after writing about these topics. 

Because writing can lead to different outcomes, it can be difficult for me to practice the discipline on a daily basis. When I have a lot packed into a day that I need energy for, I rarely spend time writing my book. 

Through the encouragement of Spiritual Direction for Writers, I set out to complete a summer writing challenge where I would write 1,000 words each day for two weeks. It’s a simple enough challenge and it would culminate in a finished book. After about 2 days of writing, I realized that I could not spend my energy this way every day for two weeks. I would be too tired, too grumpy, and honestly not a very good writer. So I expanded my goal to just be writing – write a “Today I” post, edit my upcoming gratitude devotional, or write an article for submission. I still have the goal of finishing my book, but realized that it is going to take just a bit longer than I thought. 

The lesson here is not a new one for me: stay committed to the goal but not the process. Be flexible with the how. A friend and mentor of mine, Amy Kemp,  says it this way: be clear on your purpose but flexible with your process

I’ve learned this lesson many times, and am grateful God is still teaching it to me. He’s the best teacher, slowly repeating the lesson until his students really understand it, not raising his voice or losing patience with us. He doesn’t give out grades. Our homework is never overdue. I’ve always been a good student – some might even say teacher’s pet. Now that I am no longer in school, I’m grateful to have a Teacher who is still willing to help me learn. The lessons are not about math, science, and language anymore, but about life. 

Today I wrote.

I wrote 1,000 words and felt tired. I learned flexibility. I learned patience. And in these two lessons, I found gratitude for my God-given limits. 

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
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2 Responses

  1. We are in the midst of God, teaching us that he is in control with this move. What we think is going to happen and what does happen it is often very different. It throws you for a loop and then you are reminded that it is God who has things in his hands. Unfortunately for me I am a hard learner, but what a blessing it is to see the end results!

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