My Journey as a Writer
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
Forming Good Writing Habits
I cherish the Lenten Season because the 40 days in the desert enable me to get rid of bad habits and form new ones.
Last year, I formed the habit of exercising 30 minutes a day for 5-7 days a week.
At first, it was a struggle. I dragged my feet to walk, run or cycle. But God’s grace came in the form of writing inspirations. Whenever I exercise, plot scenes jump out, creative ideas spurt, and my writing never suffered dryness nor block.
After Lent, exercise became a habit. My body craved for it. It primed my creative spirit to write. When writer’s block threatened to overpower me, I turned to exercise. It never failed to combat the writer’s nemesis: writer’s
This year, the Lord lead me to form a new habit.
Weave writing seamlessly into my daily routine.
This was a struggle. I had carved hours for writing and when family chores and obligations violated those sacred hours, my writing goals fell apart.
I sensed the Lord wanting me to enjoy a balanced life. He did not want me to trade my relationship with Him and with my family for the writing craft. But He also wanted me to fulfill my mission of writing for His glory.
How to do the seamless weaving became my Lenten task.
Whereas other people gave up chocolates, bad habits, pleasures, and the like, I gave up my will.
I allowed the Lord to show me how to weave my writing seamlessly into my routine.
First task was to look at my priorities and my existing routine.
I had decided that God would always come first, then my husband next, and then the children, before the ministry of writing for the community and for myself.
I usually wake up at around 5-5:30am for my daily prayer, so God made me share my daily reflections and inspirations from my spiritual journal. As He nourished and guided me, I wrote and testified to God’s movements in my life.
The result: a daily devotional in this blog site and a forty-day desert retreat for Lent for my subscribers. It increased my readership more than 100% without clear intent on my part.
Next task was to work outside my routine.
Shoulds and musts became my enemy. I had to let go of all these notions that I cannot write or edit my novel unless all the ingredients for my writing recipe were fulfilled:
• that I sat on a particular place,
• use a particular tool (laptop, software, etc)
• write at a particular time (between this hour to that hour)
• fulfilled specific steps to prime inspiration
When I allowed God’s spirit to take me to the road less traveled by most authors who swore to these routines, I experienced God’s infinite ways of evoking writing inspirations.
When I immersed myself in the daily routines of household chores, exercise, driving for the kids, talking to them, and being with my family in their struggles and triumphs, the creative spirit inspired me to transpose and transcend everything to become writing prompts, parables and inspirations.
I wrote using my iphone and almost anywhere. When scenes and dialogues appeared while I drove, I wrote those in the garage, as soon as I parked the car. I wrote while on my stationary bike or on the treadmill (walking at 2.8-3mph with an incline of 10 for 45-60min), or even in the car line.
When place and time became a non-issue, I became more productive.
The result: I wrote from the heart and my novel became more meaningful and realistic. It resonated more to me. The characters spoke and made me laugh and cry.
If no one else would read this book, it would not matter. The book already affected and changed my life.
Last task was to allow God to set my deadlines.
These past year, I was a pendulum that swung from the stressed-out-must-finish-this-page writer to the it-can-wait-the-world-is-not-ending-tomorrow writer.
This is the area of my greatest struggle: reading God’s timeline.
I came to understand the reason for this from the two verses below.
2 Peter 3:8
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.
“Lord… a thousand years in your eyes
are merely a day gone by.”
My mind opened to the possibility that God’s Day One in Genesis is equivalent to a thousand years for man, which makes science and religion compatible (be it the concept of Big Bang Theory or Darwinian Evolution or Ice Age).
I came to understand why the saints, like St. Paul would announce apocalyptic messages. “The end of time is near.”
For God, Year 2500 is near and can happen in a blink of His eye. But for man, his own mortal end is nearer and he would be long gone by then.
I have always feared that my end would come before I have fulfilled my purpose.
With this understanding came the wisdom to allow the Lord to give me my daily bread.
As long as I adhered faithfully to my priorities, He fulfilled His writing goals in me.
I have yet to see the long-term result. So far, the short-term outcome is a more joyous, peaceful, loving, harmonious, and fulfilling existence with my Lord and with the people around me.
Should I fail to publish this book in my lifetime, may my life become God’s story to be written in the hearts of the people I touch.
So that at the end of my life, even though I come empty handed of these so-called earthly achievements, my heart is full of the love of God and He would recognize me as His.
That is God’s greater purpose for me—to love Him and to love the people He sends my way.
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