Happy Tuesday. In my notebook this read Happy Monday, but alas, I didn’t get this done yesterday, so here it is. I hope you are all able to find something joyful about this day that is before you and if you aren’t reading this until the end of your day. I hope you have things that you can give thanks for and be joyful about today.

My weekend was super busy but in a beautiful kind of way. I had the greatest joy and privilege to be able to attend if Gathering 2023, at my church Friday night and all-day Saturday. If Gathering is a women’s conference inspired by the question, “if God is real…then what?” More on that later! After the conference finished up, I went home to see my people and get my hubby so we could go to a retirement party. I had to pep talk myself a bunch for this as I was pretty wiped out. But I was able to muster up the energy and we had a nice evening out. I got a chance to talk with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and she asked me how my writing was going, how my blog is, what I am working on, and how do I find time to write? Similar to how a food journal makes you more aware of what you are eating, other people asking you about your writing makes you more aware of your writing or lack thereof. The short answer to each of these questions is as follows… I’ve been uninspired and therefore absent from my blog. The writing itself is slow at best and some weeks nonexistent. I’m working on poetry and songwriting mostly (though I have no musical talent), but I’ve also written a few short stories. The question that hits me in the face with a 2×4 is, “where do you find the time?” You all know by now that I struggle with time management, and I know that I am not alone in this area. My self-discipline isn’t great and writing, well writing is just hard! I just finished a book that was gifted to me a bit ago by Andrew Peterson titled Adorning the Dark, Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making. This book spoke to me, don’t you love when a book does that? One part spoke about how hard it is to be a writer and I thought, this is me! How many times have I thought, “I’m quitting!” or “I don’t want to do this anymore.” But every time I decided I was going to quit, the heavy burden of it all came back to me because I can’t not write. I have a thought and I need to write it down because it could be the first line to a poem or a song or something so crazy happens and I want to make it into a short story or I get an idea for a children’s book or I’m struggling or have overcome a struggle and want to blog or write an article about it to perhaps touch someone’s heart and help someone else through a similar struggle. A creative brain carries and extra burden. Sometimes I am blessed by it and sometimes I am frustrated by it. I think the frustration comes from a mixture of the struggle with time management and self-discipline. I don’t think I shared this previously, but about 6 months or so ago I decided I wanted to work part time(at least). I was trying my hardest to write part time but it wasn’t generating a regular income and you all know that times today are tough. I suddenly understood why someone penned the phrase, starving artist, because as an artist you usually need a side hustle. Funny, I never thought of myself as an artist until this point. And so, I embarked(pun intended) into the world of pet sitting which somehow, thanks to friends on social media looking out for me, turned into dog walking, and I now find myself so busy that my writing has been slow at best. While that might be ok for someone with a hobby, it’s not ok for me because writing isn’t just a hobby for me. I am blessed/burdened with many hobbies as well(reading, running, crafting, etc). The difference is that my soul doesn’t burn with a burning passion for my hobbies like it does for writing. In Peterson’s book he quotes Roald Dahl, as he wrote about what it was like in the years that he worked as a businessman in his book, Boy: Tales of my Childhood. I enjoyed it, I really did. I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope, and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer.

YES! Just like that, I felt justified in my feelings about writing, sans whisky(gross!) So now what? Now I pray. Now I put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. Now I put writing on my calendar, and I honor that time even if I get a text or a phone call or an email, even if my people are home, even if I don’t want to, because like running-I usually don’t want to but I always feel better afterwards. Now I put fear aside, fear of rejection, fear that my words are meaningless, fear that I am wasting my time, fear that I won’t get any comments or likes, fear of judgement. Now I commit myself to self-discipline. Now I set goals for myself and create deadlines. Now I continue to submit work. Now I find fellow writers to commiserate with. Now I stop procrastinating. Now I trust God. Now I stop making excuses. Now I stop waiting for the right time-it is now. Now I take chances. Now I honor God by using the gift, talent, and ability he has given me.

In my journal, this is about two pages longer and started going in a different direction. I titled this Voices because it is mostly about my inner dialogue. Next time I will be writing about the voices of others and how they can drown out our voice or the voice of God.

If you are a writer, drop me a note so I can pray for you. If you aren’t a writer but feel like you are missing out on a passion because of time or self-discipline, drop me me a note so I can pray for you. Let’s do one thing differently today to work towards our goals for the future.