“It’s just that season of life.”
Man, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said or heard that phrase! As a mom, this is often a conversation starter.
Each age of our children brings a new season for moms—the infant season, the terrible twos … and threes … and …, school battles, friend issues.
Work brings other seasons—starting a business, searching for clients, too many clients to handle.
And then there are the seasons of life in general: sick parents, moves, natural disasters, tragedies, illnesses.
As humans, we’ve got no choice but to accept the season we’re in and press on through.
[I mean, there is chocolate and whisky and a dark corner somewhere, but apparently escaping for an extended period of time is frowned upon.]
Writers face seasons as well. There’s:
Not to mention:
- Screen staring
and my favorite …
- Chocolate consuming
And, because none of us only deals with one type of season at a time, we face the added task of handling a sick kid/huge work project/revision deadline season. [Can I get a #writermomlife?]
It’s enough to make a person want to run away, screaming!
Now, this post isn’t about juggling everything in our lives. It is about embracing the seasons of writing.
So, how do we do that?
Well, I suggest we start with a little PEP!
Prioritize and Plan
Of course, I do have to mention it because it’s reality. We all juggle multiple responsibilities in various seasons. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know this topic pops up from time to time, so just hang on to those two commands and prioritize your tasks and plan your time accordingly to block off the time you need for each.
Often, the best first step when we’re feeling overwhelmed or facing a new season is to step back, pause and evaluate what’s going on.
When it came time for my fourth round of revisions, I wanted to plunge right in and get it done. The problem with that was, I hadn’t evaluated all the feedback I’d received or the further research I’d done.
So, when I tried to “hop right in,” I sank like an anvil. When I stepped back and evaluated the task, I was able to do three invaluable things:
- Absorb the feedback I received and process what it meant for me and my novel overall. I got to see the forest and determine which trees may need to go and which spots were a little bare.
- Identify steps to accomplish my goal. I made a plan to take it a tree at a time.
- Breathe in the beauty around me as I hiked through my forest of words.
Process the Purpose
Finally, with each season of life, parenthood or writing, we have to process the purpose.
No matter how dark and stormy the season we’re in, it has a purpose. Instead of bemoaning the hardship, we need to ask ourselves what the purpose of this season may be.
Writers have it a little easier in their seasons of writing than we do in regular life seasons, I think. We don’t always know the purpose in losing a loved one or battling a giant illness.
We do, however, know exactly why we’re bleeding red on the pages of a novel—to make it better for our readers. We can go even deeper with our purposes, especially with revisions.
For me, Round 1 was, “Is it a good story?”
Round 2 was pulling up all the weeds I noticed in my first read through.
Round 3 was correcting a few errors in my research.
Round 4 was taking the outstanding critique of my great writer friend, Mea Smith, and digging deeper into my characters and plot and theme.
And, now, Round 5 is about correcting any more errors in facts that I can and trimming off the unnecessary fat as I zero in on the most important motivations and the best scenes that get us from beginning to end.
It also helps me to look back and see how far I’ve come.
“Now I know why Jack responds to this situation this way!”
“Now I understand why this character is invaluable and this one’s expendable!”
And, tiny glimpses forward help me process why each round is important. “My expert readers shouldn’t have to slog through 20,000 words that I know now need to go.” And, “My medical expert reader doesn’t need to read it now because I’ll have more corrections from my military expert readers that could affect the medical issues.”
While the purposes in our seasons of writing are generally easier to understand than life seasons, we have some tricky ones as well.
- A scathing review that makes us question our ability and worth as a creator.
- The five hundredth rejection.
- The life issues—financial or time wise—that delay publication for yet another year.
For these instances, I’ve got two responses to aid in processing the purpose.
- We will get negative reactions and rejections. Instead of allowing them to define us, we have to embrace the parts that can make us better and ignore the bits that may not fit us and our overall purpose—or that may have come from jealousy or ignorance.
- Timing is everything. That’s a pretty common saying, but one that may be less common is one that’s far more important. God’s timing is perfect. I may not understand entirely why I let doubt and fear keep me from pursuing authorship seven years ago, and I may mourn how much further along I could be in this process of establishing myself; however, I know God knew I wasn’t ready yet. It wasn’t his time then. And, I may not understand why financial hardships have delayed my publication now by at least a year, but God does. And, his timing is perfect. My books will launch “for such a time as this”—exactly when He’s already planned them to for some purpose I may never know.
So, with our PEP in embracing all the seasons of writing, we’ve got to also have faith.
What season are you in right now—in life, in family, in work, in writing? Are you enjoying the blossoming springtime or slogging through the dull gray of winter? Have all these seasons spun together to create a “perfect storm” in your life?
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