by Laurie Alice Eakes
Once upon a time, I believed the time, mood, and environment had to be just right for me to find the creative energy within me. Without this perfect setting, the “muse” would never pay me a visit. The words would not flow.
Then my first truly serious deadline hit.
Three months to finish a 50,000 word novel was plenty of time-except my husband had emergency eye surgery, he graduated from law school and a host of relatives arrived, and we moved 1,800 miles away. Time to get the atmosphere exactly right vanished like cotton candy on the tongue. The right environment became nothing more than a dream. Yet the deadline didn’t change.
I had to change.
Writers frequently ask people what music they like to write by, what their office space looks like, what time of day they like to work in. If a writer can meet all her conditions, I hope she considers herself blessed. For many writers, writing happens when it can. I’m in an accountability group where one woman clocks in late at night once her baby is asleep. Sometimes she has hours, and sometimes she has minutes. What she isn’t getting accomplished is sleep. What she is getting is published. Another friend spent the day taking care of her ill mother-in-law, then went home and wrote her daily word count goal.
How many times have we heard, “I’d write a book if I had the time.”
You’ll write a book when you make the time.
During those three months of insanity, I not only managed to write my novel and meet my deadline, I wrote a proposal that sold three more books, and edited another book under contract. Since then, I have more than once found myself writing under extreme circumstances like at my sister’s dining room table while she home schooled in a room on one side, and my niece taught piano lessons in a room on the other side. Situations like having a week to move 1,500 miles away and editing a book while sitting on the sofa in a hotel room because I didn’t have a house yet. Super-human power? No. Dedication. Will. Drive to write and serve the Lord through that work regardless of circumstances–yes.
Sometimes we can get our environment just write to call in the “muse” and the creative waters flow. More often, we cannot, yet we have no choice but to allow creativity pour forth. This is where dedication, will, and the drive to serve the Lord through our writing regardless of the circumstances steps into the mix.
Being a writer isn’t about the right music or view from your office window, or even having an office. It’s about answering the call to write and putting the words in the notebook, on the screen of your cranky old computer, or into that new iPad you got for Christmas. Writing is about accepting God’s grace to grant you five minutes or five hours in which to work. Writing is about dedication, will, and the drive to serve the Lord through your creativity.
Author of eleven books and two novellas, Laurie Alice Eakes has won the National Readers Choice Award and has been a Carol finalist. She is an experienced writing teacher and speaker and has her master’s degree in writing.