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 -
How To Deal With Writer’s Block
Writer’s block. Is there ever such a thing?
I realized there is a valid reason when it comes. And I also realized that fighting it can be frustrating, futile, and even counterproductive.
Why waste time staring at a blinking cursor when you can cook your family a wonderful dinner? Why bang your head against a wall of a blank page when you can run outside, smell the scent of freshly mowed grass, and be fit?
I have learned to listen to my character, Dr. Tony Sparker who said, “Stop. Look. And listen.” I had quite an argument with this guy. I asked him, “Why can’t I edit you?” after getting stuck at Chapter 10. He stared at me point blank and said, “Because I am about to edit you.”
My struggle is not much about self-doubt, although I have tons of that lately. Will I ever be good enough? Will this manuscript be ever perfect enough? But it’s about looking deep into my heart and asking myself, “What’s aching right now?”
Psychoanalyzing myself is probably the one thing I should have done early on. It was all about coping mechanism. You may wonder, "Coping from what and how?" (Read here on "My Adopted Pets: How I Coped When My Firstborn Moved to College. And it's not your usual kind of pet).
So as the home front grew quiet and my life returned to almost normal, I started to pick up the pieces… pieces of papers left on the floor from a hurried packing (that firstborn who went to college is a self-confessed procrastinator and she thought she could do the same with packing). Being the last to move into her college Residential Learning Community (as how Santa Clara University would call their dormitories because it offers so much more than a living quarter) gave her the reason to lay back and relax for weeks and weeks, so that when the day came for her to fly out, things were literally scattered on the floor and on her bed. It was like the remains of a tornado. She’s lucky though that these past few days, all I wanted was to cherish loving moments with her so the urge to nag and scold this eighteen-year-old baby is put on a leash.
Back to my writer’s block, I knew there was something going on within my mental recesses because I was still able to write my daily devotionals.
Why were my stories put on hold?
As a writer, who’s new to the craft, it was amazing to discover that these characters of mine have minds of their own. The more I talk to them, the more I see how they have been planted in my subconscious and unconscious by a Creative Spirit that longs to inspire me, and perhaps the world around me.
When finally, I wrote the blog on "My Adopted Pets" the dam opened, and it revealed what was hidden in my heart.
The stories that I'm writing are stories from my heart, veiled in the parables of contemporary and epic fantasies.
The best way to deal with it is to do what the heart dictates.
So, I heeded and immersed myself in the experience of motherhood and separation anxiety and half-empty nesting.
I found other avenues for my creative spirit.
The daily devotional, for one, kept me attuned to the Father’s greater will, which is to love and love and love. And if that means putting aside my writing craft to pour my love and devotion to my daughter, so be it.
And it was not always easy.
Part of me felt guilty that I have neglected my craft, and even resisted this. Yet whenever I tried to pull myself to writing, greater guilt ensued for neglecting my daughter. The greater love won and fell into a conspiracy with Mr. Writer’s Block.
So here I am now with my new reality, determined to get back on track, at the same time discerning on which track to follow.
With my daughter’s departure, the primary reason for my sabbatical from work is gone (Read My Story on why I quit my job as a nurse in 2015).
Where is the Lord leading me? His will always resides in the voice of the needy.
Who needs me now?
My 13-year-old daughter, for sure. The three years I spent at home showed me that this is where I belong. Yet my husband also needs me, to alleviate the burden and stress of being a sole provider with the increasing expense of private education for my two daughters. He wants me to keep my nursing license active and it has been active for the majority of the states in the US.
Ever heard of the compact state license for nurses in Texas? And with my Ohio and California nursing licenses still active, I can literally work in more than half of the states in the US.
And here I am a stay-at-home mom.
No wonder I’ve been doing experiments in my kitchen. (Read my blog on How To Dehydrate and Activate a Dehydrated Sourdough Starter).
That’s what happens when you leave a double-degree holder (BSN and MD) at home. I did miss the intellectual challenge that these professions had given me in the past. I feel like cobwebs had crept inside my synapses, causing a delay in neuronal transmission of information. But what I didn’t miss were the on-call duties, weekend and evening shifts, and the stress that went with it.
At this point in my life, I want something more than a career that gives me money. I'm nearing my golden years and now I can honestly say, I know what I want to become when I grow that old.
I want to be a published novelist and a health professional specializing in the holistic care of body, mind, and spirit. That’s my dream life. I don’t need to retire if I can do that until I die.
They say your purpose and vocation is the point of intersection between what you love to do, what you are good at, and what the world needs.
Writing, my love for cooking healthy food, and my passion for healthy living (yoga, meditation, running) spur me to be more and do more for my family and my community.
I’ve preached and ingrained that in my firstborn’s mind as she discerned her path to college. I wished I learned that early on. Yet, would I have decided differently?
They say God uses clues from your past to lead you to your future destiny.
As I look back, there's nothing from my past, beginning from the moment I answered God’s call to go and follow Him, that I regret.
I am where I’m supposed to be. And this gives me much consolation.
A saint was once asked what he would do if God would take his life that very moment. And he said, “I’d keep doing what I’m doing.” This is the beauty of living in God’s present moment. You know you will meet Him as a friend should He decide to take you.
No regrets and what ifs.
If the end of my earthly life should happen, and I have not published my book, perhaps, it’s meant to be published by someone other than me. But if by God’s grace and mercy, He should want me to see the work in published form, then I shall see it in my lifetime. My duty is to say “yes” to the present moment.
So, is there ever a perfect moment to write?
The moment comes when the heart is pounding and longs to spill the inspiration to draw others to God. And when that comes, one must heed, without waiting for the perfect writing implement. Any blank page would do. Or the perfect moment. The here and now would do. Or the perfect words. The rambling thoughts can be snipped later into a more disciplined prose.
Write from the heart. Love from the heart. Live with all your heart.
And that’s how I dealt with writer’s block.
By living the perfect present moment.
5/26/2020 12:45:03 pm
Great blog post, I think it's so true that writer's block is your heart telling you that you are needed elsewhere, on other writing projects, or with other people, or simply to get outside and enjoy where we are in life. As a Christian writer, I relate strongly to this beautifully written piece, and I am struggling similarly with what type of writing God is calling me to do! I will think about those hints and clues He has placed in my past! Thank you!
Thanks, Zack. Finding our niche is a long journey that requires a lot of trust and patience. God can sometimes appear slow, and that's when I realize I'm running at an unsustainable pace. If I want this for the long haul, I need to maintain that perfect balance that only the Spirit can determine. Silence is the key. Good luck with your discernment. May He whisper loud enough for you to hear above the worldly noise.
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