By Melissa Bennett
Greetings fellow Christian fiction writers!
The last time we met, I encouraged those of you having difficulty writing in these unsettling times to have grace with yourselves.
Well, times haven’t changed all that much in the last two months. We still need to be gentle with ourselves and others. But if you’ll allow me, I’d like to encourage you this time to press on. Be brave. Take hold of the calling you’ve received to reveal the character of God. Point, not only to a better way, but The Way. Now more than ever our voices and our stories are necessary!
Those of you who haven’t had trouble writing, or who have taken this opportunity to become even more prolific, I wholeheartedly applaud you! And I welcome any additional advice you have in the comments.
However, if you’re having difficulty resuming your regular disciplined writing time, or challenged to keep your backside in the chair, or frustrated because words seem to eke out rather than flow, this is for you!
I’ve struggled with all the above during the “Rona”. So, I conducted an (extremely) informal poll and tried a few things on my own that have helped. Let me start with my personal attempts:
First, I realized I’d lost sight of WHY and for WHOM I was writing. In this business, one can quickly become overwhelmed by the numbers game of publishing. I started to question if I should continue writing. Coupled with an ambiguous anxiety marked by the times, I grew numb. Yet, ultimately, my audience is one reader: the One who called and gifted me to write!
It is He that needs to be pleased with me and my work. So, before I even open my laptop, I stop and pray. I ask for focus, wisdom, vision, and clarity of purpose for myself and my characters. I ask that God write with me, that the story points to Him, and that He is glorified in it.
What a relief to know I/we are not in this alone!
Second, I’ve started wearing my fitness watch again as I’ve been walking to clear the cobwebs and recharge. If I sit still too long, the watch tells me I need to move! Unless I’m really in the flow, I use that reminder to take a quick break. It’s a good tool to keep me writing when my frustration would have me quit.
Lastly, I set a timer. I schedule a minimum amount of time that I must write. If I hit it, and I’m ready to stop, I can be satisfied with my effort.
When I asked some other writers for suggestions, these were a few of my favorite responses:
- Delete distractions wherever possible – silence your phone, shut the door, whatever it takes
- Do writing sprints, against the clock or with another author
- Set a minimum word goal or a time limit and strive for it. Timing and word count can be equally as valuable.
- Break up larger goals into chunks and …
- Reward yourself for milestones big and small!
These are only a few of the wonderful responses, but I think you get the idea. You know yourself. Do what works for you and get creative! One respondent created a bingo game for herself! With each task she completes, she fills in another spot on her board. When she gets a bingo, she rewards herself! Can you say pumpkin cold brew? LOL
The world needs more God stories, y’all! With Him, we can do this!
Prayers for and blessings to you all! ~ MelissaWriting strategies for the days of Corona – the virus. @mbennett6782 #ACFWBlogs #writetips #writingcommunity #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Melissa Bennett is a Christian author, wife, and mother of four grown children. She enjoys encapsulating the greatest love story of all, the Bible, into contemporary stories of romance. When she’s not writing or working at her church, you’ll find her engaging in some other crazy creative endeavor. Find Melissa at melissabennettauthor.com.