As a writer I need structure, whether or not I want it at any given time. So I have a morning routine that is supposed to give me a good start to my day, energizing me for the segue into my “office” hours.
I start with a leisurely breakfast, complete with coffee and newspaper. Gotta work that Sudoku puzzle. Then I hop up, eager to get writing on my novel.
Oh, wait… I haven’t opened my Bible yet this morning. So I curl up on the sofa with Bible, journal, pen and another cup of coffee. Well, sometimes I do that. Many days I get sidetracked by anything from a load of stinky cycling clothes that need washing, to a stray piece of junk mail which engrosses me. Then I wander past the office, notice the computer, and sit down to untangle that character glitch or finish that half-done dramatic argument scene. Before I know it, it’s nearly lunch time, my Bible remains unread, and I have no idea what I’ve done with my coffee cup.
Yes, I get sidetracked and sort of forget about Bible study and prayer, but deep inside, a little part of me is actually… stalling. It makes no sense. If I want to write “Truth in Fiction,” my private motto, why am I so reluctant to settle down long enough to immerse myself in that Truth?
I suspect I’m not alone in my impatience to “get on with it.” I forget about the proverbial guy who has two hours to chop down a tree–heard about him?–He needs to spend the first hour sharpening his axe. So when I finally march myself over to my Bible and stuff, I may or may not really engage with my God. Often I feel more like a kid who begrudges having to finish her homework before she can play outside.
And when that happens, the writing that I was so eager to get to… um, let’s just say it doesn’t go too well.
The other day I was thinking about this and asked God how I could change my attitude. I asked the question more out of frustration than because I expected an answer. Nothing audible, anyway. Sure enough, everything remained quiet. But a phrase dropped into my mind, settling into place like a rose petal drifting down to float on a pool of water.
Huh? Then memory stirred–a pleasant memory, of my years on the support staff at our church. One morning each week we would meet with the pastors to discuss upcoming events, assign tasks and pray for each other and for our church members. It was cool. I always enjoyed being in on this behind-the-scenes preparation. Often our actions were pretty routine–Yes, I’ll design the flyers and print them, but don’t ask me to hang any in the men’s rooms–that sort of thing. But I always found it refreshing to hear the pastors’ dreams and goals, to see them brainstorm the challenges that faced us. Besides the camaraderie we all shared, these sessions generally gave me a sense of renewed purpose that I could take back to my desk.
The staff meeting never felt like an interruption to my work. Instead it was an important part of it.
Aha, I think I’m catching on. If I want to write fiction that conveys the truth and humor and wonder that life holds, fiction that blesses those who read it, then I am working for God. How can I work effectively if I don’t meet with the Boss? How would I know what to write? He sees the big picture; my random opinions add no value to the conversation.
And so this morning I ate, dashed off the Sudoku puzzle (Monday’s is the easiest one of the week) and headed straight for the sofa with my coffee. I read from God’s word, prayed for some folks, including myself, and thought about the story I am writing. Then I went into the office.
Most productive day in the last three or four weeks, thank you.
Long story short, it’s never a waste of time to sharpen your axe.
Thanks for reading,
I’m linking up with Jen for the Soli Deo Gloria blog party.