In January I set a goal to write one blog post a month. My schedule has consistently increased in activity over the last several months and I knew anything more rigorous would, in the words of a lady at church, “not be wisdom.”
Once a month. I could do that. I wanted do it. I savor the process of writing. Taking the things in my head and turning them into (hopefully) coherent words on paper helps me better understand and remember the things God is teaching me. It is a great blessing to write.
This month I’ve had several topics whirling around in my mind, waiting for a moment to jot them down. The moment never came. In between the doctors appointments, work, classes, homework, church events, and family activities, the time to properly write out and re-work a blog post just didn’t come.
Each day when I scratched off another block on my calendar I felt the weight of guilt sink in. “Writers write.” I whispered to myself as I promised to get up earlier the next day in order to make time. When I did crawl out of bed in the dark, station myself at my desk, and sip the strong coffee, I would suddenly remember the homework assignment that needed editing. Or the friend whose email needed to be answered. Or the hurting church member I wanted to write card for. “Later, I’ll write,” I told myself as I closed the document on my computer and turned to other things demanding my attention.
It’s true. Writers do indeed write. But writers also live, and sometimes those lives don’t leave the room we may want for writing.
March came and went. I never finished any of the ideas I’d started. They still sit in my mind, eager for the time and attention necessary to be fleshed out and shared. This morning as I looked at my calendar, with only one box left to cross through, I felt the guilt sink in again. “Writers write, Madelyn. And you failed to write anything.”
Failure is my biggest fear. Whether it arrives in a mediocre grade, a forgotten appointment, a rejected submission, or the inability to make time to do what I think should be done, I dread it’s unwelcome appearance. It’s potential looms over me with every endeavor. Writing is no exception.
This morning I scraped my brain for something I could write with ease and clarity in just an hour or so. I didn’t want the calendar page to turn without me having written something. I said I’d write once a month. I wasn’t going to fail. After all, writer’s write, and I’m a writer.
None of my ideas were ready though. None of them had been fleshed out enough, edited enough, or even finished enough to share. I didn’t have anything to say. I wanted words to write, but didn’t have any. I finally accepted the dreaded truth. This month, I’d failed.
Or had I?
Maybe I failed to accomplish my plans, but what about God’s? Had I failed to do the things He had for me to do? As I look back over the course of this busy month I can see His hand at work in ordaining every schedule change, every homework assignment, every phone call, every church gathering, and even every load of laundry that kept me from writing. His plans for me were accomplished, even when my own plans were left undone.
It’s true. Writers write. But as Christian writers, we must guard ourselves from thinking writers only write.
Before I am a writer, I’m a follower of Christ. That means that though writing is a priority, my highest priority is obedience to Him. I’m a church member. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m a granddaughter. I’m a college student. I’m a music teacher. I’m a neighbor. I’m a friend. These are the roles He has very clearly given me. Faithfulness in each of them is my calling. And then when time and energy allow, I’m a writer.
I’m a writer. I love to write. I write a lot. But when I don’t have time to write, it’s okay. It isn’t failure. It’s a blessed reminder that before I am a writer, I am so many other things. If I weren’t, what in the world would I write about?
Dear writer who doesn’t have the time to write, please don’t beat yourself up. Writers write. Sometimes, writers don’t write. Let Him change your plans. Embrace the days that are too full to sit down and type away. Love the people that steal your energy. Praise Him for the local believers asking for your participation. Thank Him for the job that sends you to bed exhausted at night. Then, when a few precious moments in your schedule allow, write about His goodness in giving you so many time-consuming, energy-zapping, joy-giving, and like-gold-refining things.
Because you and I are more than just writers. Praise the Lord.