Writer in training

15 Comments

My good friend, Mike, over at A ‘Mike’ for Christ revealed his writing process in the post, “The Most Persnickety Writer You Might Know” . He asked me to discuss my own writing process.

Let me start by telling you I don’t really have a process. I’m what they call in the writing world, a “pantser”. That means, I write by the seat of my pants. No plan. No outline. Just go-with-the-flow writing. This doesn’t always work well when it comes to production. That’s obvious from how infrequently I post. Probably why I never finished those thriller novels I started, either…

I have noticed though, that as my relationship with my Father grows, He is developing a process of sorts in me. He is showing me how He works in my life, how He encourages the unleashing of my creative tiger, that voice of authenticity that sounds its “Yawp” from the rooftops.

OfΒ  Seeds and Happy Dances

God plants a seed. It usually takes a few times before I realize I need to pay attention. Sometimes I can almost hear Him happy-dancing His way across Heaven, calling out, “She finally got it!”

Before proceeding, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I love words. OK, OK, it’s not a secret. But words are to a writer what art supplies are to a painter. I love stuffing myself on all-you-can-read buffets. I read incessantly. My hubby says I have a sickness and should seek help (is there a Book Lovers Anonymous?) because I salivate when I see a bookstore. He’s joking. Kinda… I think he just doesn’t want to have to build me any more bookcases.

I have notebooks overflowing with new words and their definitions or words used in unique ways (Don’t get me started on my notebooks! I also salivate in office supply stores. Sigh.). Pages and pages of word pairings from a game I force, er, urge friends and family to play (Adjective/Noun game…oh how I miss you!) fill random spirals and restaurant napkins. Not to mention the thousands of pages stuffed with thoughts, ideas, journal entries, Bible studies, and the random things that pop into my head. Perhaps I am a word scavenger, subsisting on consonants and vowels. God created me that way, after all.

God plants His word-seeds through:

  • a whisper
  • an advertisement
  • a blog post
  • a book
  • a conversation
  • a song
  • an article
  • the nooks and crannies where words linger

It’s About Time!

My “process” for blogging is quite different than my process for writing my novel. So for now, I’ll focus on blogging.

Once God plants the word-seed, and I feel it nestled in the soil of my heart, I start the feeding. I spend time reading, researching, praying, and having a lot of conversations. I love talking out my thoughts with Lady Di and Cori over a cuppa coffee and an open Bible in our booth.

I don’t like to write the word-seed right away because I need time to work out the kinks. Not the word’s kinks. MY kinks. I still consider myself a “new” Christian. So I want to make sure I “get” what God is sharing with me before I share it with my readers. I want to be true to Him, true to His Word, and true to who He created me to be.

All Systems Are Go

It can take days of feeding the seed before I post. Sometimes weeks or months will pass before I am ready. I know that God’s timing is not my timing. His plans are bigger and better than mine. So I wait. I remain. I still the chaos around me or the excited kid inside me. I listen. I hope.

And then, I feel God tap me on the shoulder, and badda-bing, badda-boast out pops a post.

Sometimes I look back over my posts and I can’t remember writing them. Those are the ones that I know I followed God’s process and not my own. Because when I try it my way, I force the words, I fret over the smallest details, I try too hard.

But I’m learning to listen to Him. I learning to wait for the tap.

Thanks,Β  Mike, for inviting me to share my process.

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15 thoughts on “Writer in training

  1. Pingback: The Most Persnickety Writer You Might Know | A 'Mike' For Christ

  2. “Badda-bing, badda-boast…”–I gotta use that one! Man! I think the books, bookstore, office supply store thing is just a given for word lovers. People who don’t like words or reading don’t realize how much intelligence they give up; and I’m not trying to be ugly. Further, I appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you take to hear God. Do you find that your own words, or lessons from the Lord, become your strength at times? I do. Thanks for sharing this and participating!

    • I have people in my life who aren’t readers or writers or word lovers, so they just don’t get my obsession. I get enjoyment from feeding my brain. Sure, there are times when I need a rest from thinking or learning new things, so I pop in a cheesy movie. But my favorite days are those spent steeped in words, especially God’s Word. And I know what you mean about what people are giving up. Richness thrives in words. They truly are missing so much.

      I definitely find strength in those lessons from the Lord when He speaks through my words. I look back and say, “Huh…it wasn’t until I wrote it out that I finally got it!” He uses those things He knows we need to get us to see Him more clearly. I am grateful He gave me words.

      Blessings to you, Mike. Thank YOU for wanting me to participate. I am blessed. πŸ™‚

  3. With all that drooling – if you have any books spare, let me buy my own – please!! πŸ™‚

    And once again I am left in awe. Some of the things your write here shine a spotlight in your posts AND you comments. Your word play, your ping and nestling, your synch-link word pairings, your LOVE of the Lord with capitals (“process” not doing that any sort of justice at all).

    What is just “you” is what I love the most. It is your sheer abandon, absolute passion, uncounting generosity, excitement and fireworks! WOW does that blow my brain, my word count and my own heart time after time after time.

    Heather, I have one ever so affectionate thought. The label of New Christian. I am also a New Christian. Every Christian must be “new” if they have a real realtionship with their Lord. Only because He changes from the inside and oustide and every other side. Always. Right up to my final breath and your final breath. If I ever meet a “old Christian” I will let you know – because they will need to read your blogs, your words, your passion and your relationship. And if that doesn’t make them feel young again – God help them!

    Love you lady.

    πŸ™‚

    • Heh-heh. My hubby says I got my Master’s in Library Science just so I could learn how to catalog all my books. He’s such a kidder.

      Paul, your words have warmed my heart and have flitted in and out of my mind since you wrote them to me yesterday. That thought of “how can I respond to such a beautifully profound comment?” kept creeping in my head. I cherish what you said and feel honored to be a part of this circle of believers. There is a family-ness here. A Christian brotherhood and sisterhood that I rarely see. We are dirt siblings, a family where we all have a place.

      I have wrestled with this “new” Christian “label”, almost feeling like my voice/opinion/understanding did not “fit” in this community, especially when there are so many scholars, pastors, and lifelong believers. I am so completely humbled and encouraged by your words. I see just how powerful “new” is now. New means that every day I am a new creation in Christ. That I take my relationship with my Father to new places, watching it reach new depths, learning new things, having new insights. Each time I read your posts, I gain new perspectives, and have a new (and better) understanding. It is, as you say, about having a real relationship with the Lord. I shall forevermore embrace the “new” and pray I never remain in the “old”.

      Thank you so much, Paul, for your words and your relationship. Thank you for seeing “me” and seeing how God is working in me. Love to you, too, sir.

      • Talk about synergy! Your comment has been rattling here. Your words prompted a bit of homework … And then He grabbed the whole bunch of notes and brought them to today’s post. Just wanted you know how much your relationship and sharing bring me closer in mine.

        With thanks –

        Your dirt brother

    • Thanks, Cori. You know just how God works on me and how it takes me awhile before I come around. But when I do, He always opens my eyes to something so amazing, so breathtaking and profound. He feeds me words and has blessed me with friends who feed me, too. I love you, sis.

  4. “Pantser?” Is that what I am? Thanks for clearing that up for me. I thought I was aimless but pantser sounds a bit better, like it I am determined about what I’m doing. Our writing styles are very similar. I think I’m writing one thing, look it over and well, guess not!

    Lovely blog you have here. Thanks for stopping by on Blessed, I look forward to reading more πŸ™‚

    • We “pantsers” have to stick together! There are way more “planners” than pantsers. I find when I plan too much, I overthink and put too much of myself in a piece. When I write by the seat of my pants, I let God have more control. I don’t stifle Him or the words.

      Your blog is wonderful and I found you through Paul’s blog. I’m glad we are connected now! Blessings to you. πŸ™‚

  5. Heather, we are so much alike in our writing style and process. OMGosh!

    I, too, consider myself a “new” Christian. I came to the faith a mere eight years ago. I have this passion for loving and knowing Him and I pray that He harvests this seed, this hunger in me. As for words, bookstores and books – oh, my! I know where of you speak. I love the idea of keeping a word journal – I have them all on halves of 3×5 cards. I’m getting a journal today and tabbing it with the alphabet so I can write all my newfound words with their definitions – a word wall book. Love it!

    God’s voice comes to me in many ways as well, and I’ve received writing pieces that seem to come only from the Spirit. His Word comes alive each time I read it and gives me new insight into His love. It humbles me and amazes me the ways He uses this ordinary vessel to build His kingdom.

    Heather, I cannot believe I have not been following your blog; I thought I had been, but thankfully, have finally clicked that little follow button. While I may be outside your head, I will be inside your heart, another sister in Christ.

    • Oh Susan, I’m so glad we have connected! It sounds like we are sisters for sure. πŸ™‚

      From the posts I’ve read of yours, God is doing wonderful work in you, and we, your faithful readers, are reaping the benefits of your fruit. I am still in awe of your “dirt brother” comment. That has carried me deep into scripture and has made me see with clarity some things God was revealing to me in my life.

      Paulfg pointed out how truly beautiful it is to be a “new” Christian. It means we embrace our relationship with our Father daily and learn from Him anew each day. So I am grateful I am a “new” Christian and a new creation in Christ.

      I am a journal nut. I have notebooks filled with so much randomness. The only problem with my random “method” is it makes it hard for me to find something specific. However, it also gives me a reason to read through my thoughts and to see my spiritual growth. I’d love to see (or read about) your journaling experiences. There is something cathartic about putting a pen to paper and scribbling away whatever God and life feed you. The visceral connection supersedes, for me anyway, the connection I feel when I am typing a Word document (by Word, I mean Microsoft…not God’s Word). I pray you find loads of words to fill your spiral, your wall, and your heart.

      Blessings to you my “dirt” sister in Christ.

      • Hah! Official dirt-sisterdom! ❀

        I have a prayer journal I write in every morning. It's the way I begin my day. Bible reading, devotionals, then writing to God. He usually speaks to me somewhere between the time I open my eyes to the time I complete journaling. Every once in a while, He actually wakes me up full on with a thought – one of those you seeds you mentioned. I find if I don't meet Him in my prayer corner, it just doesn't set my day in the right direction.

        Of course, I'm also a morning person – one of those folks who wakes up by 6:30am raring to go. I'm usually written out and brain dead by 3:00pm unless I get a second wind with poetry. My computer is shut down by 5-5:30 and I'm asleep between 9 and 10pm. Pretty much my day. Other than the occasional break for meals. πŸ˜‰

        And, yes, I agree about putting pencil to paper. I do that with poetry writing, too. It's just not the same as clicking keys. There's somehow an essence to the sound of a pencil sliding across a blank sheet of paper, and the sound of pages turning. It the sound of – creation – that doesn't come with a keyboard and a screen.

        Maybe it's the lead and eraser shards that causes the dirt under our fingernails and on the sides of our palms that makes the connection – the dirt we have to abide in that envelopes us in the godliness of writing. The thing that makes us dirt daughters and sons of God.

        We'll have to tell Paul about this. πŸ™‚

      • Wow! Just wow!! And I LOVE keeping a prayer journal. My dear friend Lady Di says it’s a great way to see if we keep praying for the same things over and over or to see where God answered our prayers…even if it meant “Not right now”.

        I LOVE this: “the dirt we have to abide in that envelopes us in the godliness of writing. The thing that makes us dirt daughters and sons of God.”

        I am seeing that word “abide” everywhere today. He must really want me to explore that…

        I am overwhelmed and thrilled to have you as my dirt sister. Blessings!

  6. Pingback: My first award! Thanks Ellie! | descerning the heart of God

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