Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Discipline of Writing - Derksen

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my feet want to go for a walk...a rare occurrence for my feet. However, writing is a discipline so I look out the window...marvel at the glories of God's creation but sit down at the computer anyway.
Life is full of distractions. When my children were in elementary school, the powers that be chose to build schools that had no distractions. They were holed up in their caves all day...except for recess...and never saw what I see when I look out my window beside my computer. They never learned to deal with distractions. Distractions can come in the form of sleep interuptus, or it can cause a writer's mind to go blank just when her characters are at a crucial, pivotal point in their life. I leave them hanging, just stepping through a doorway with some members of the criminal element watching their every move, ready to do bodily harm at a moment's notice.

At writer's conferences, we are told to write every day and if you have a complex story going on, it needs to be kept fresh. Deciding not to write today could, and I use the term loosely, cause me to forget where they are and who's doing what to whom. As a writer I do find it hard to forget them, though, since they sneak around the corners of my brain meeting new people, and getting into situations that I never intended them to experience. Putting their story down on paper is the only way I can stop them from doing the same thing over and over again in this head of mine. Does it sound like I am too involved with my characters? I guess they do control my life somewhat and can prove to be a distraction when I am involved with another project of the non-writing variety.

Distracting phone calls can interrupt an otherwise clear train of thought when a writer is in the midst of putting some words on paper or computer. And yet, a phone call can also give a writer another avenue to travel with her give them a more human appeal to her writers. So I don't turn off my phone. It's business as usual and my hope is that what I write is intelligent enough to hold my reader's draw them forward to the next page and the page after that.

At writer's conferences, we rub shoulders with the published as well as the non-published. All are writer's, some just a little more polished than others. We mingle with editors, agents, and such who all want to find the next New York Times best seller but in this electronic age, virtual books are taking a hit. Even libraries are lending eBooks now but whatever form a book takes, it still has to be written.

When the scholars, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to put down on papyrus, or whatever material they used in those long ago days of writing, they had to be disciplined. They had to stick to their task, be accurate, and spend the time to sit there each day when the sun shone and the birds sang. Where would we be today if they had bent under the yoke of distraction? Where would our readers be if we give in? We are writing Christian material that, for some of us, inspires our readers to a closer walk with the Lord, aren't we. What if I'm the only Christian writer that someone reads? What if the Lord wants to use me to touch a heart that otherwise is closed to His gospel?

I would hate to enter heaven's gates only to find that someone else is not there because, a bird distracted me, or the sun was shining too brightly, or my feet needed to go for a God has placed a gift in all of gift just happens to be writing.  It's not a treasure to keep buried but a gift to share with whomever He places smack dap in the middle of my path. Knowing that, I wonder where all these distractions come from.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Barbara Ann,
Thank you for sharing this very true-to-a-writer's-life piece. Working amidst and through distractions and sometimes drawing inspiration from them in pursuit of presenting something written to shed divine light on the reader's way, is in part our calling, isn't it?

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