Part of living in the freedom that Christ died for me to have is learning to enjoy my writing process instead of stressing out about it. I've been learning this for a long time, and stressing out about it longer. Over and over, again and again. I am a slow learner. But then, there are many forces arrayed against my learning this lesson, and, as I'm discovering, no lesson, no substantial and lasting change is made except by baby steps.
Which is kind of what this post is going to be about, but from a different angle. As I was faced with a stuck point last week in chapter 21 (formerly 16) (I'm now working through Enclave's second major plot thread, which means I had to go back to the beginning and pick up those chapters I'd skipped on my previous run through) I found myself doing all the usual things I do when stuck. When I considered the material I saw only that there were problems -- lots of them -- and that much was going to have to be rewritten, but I had no idea how, in what way, or anything. My mind was blank and dead. Worse, it kept flitting around, distracted by everything, thinking of all manner of other things I could be doing. hmmm. I think I've described this before. I pulled down my Overcoming Writing Blocks book, and read that exact description for being blocked.
Except, for the first time I realized I wasn't really "blocked." When you consider the principle that waiting is the main state of living, and the open doors are few, then really I'm not blocked, I'm just waiting. Waiting is, as I think I've said before, also the main state of writing. Most of the time I'm not writing. I'm either thinking and researching, or I'm... dinking around, flitting from thing to thing, wanting to do anything but write and then condemning myself for it and getting more and more impatient with myself.
But... if waiting is the main part of writing, if the long-established pattern is that there will be this time when my mind is blank and the stage is empty and nothing seems to be happening, why can't I just accept that? And not as a bad thing, as part of it. Like accepting sleep. We have to sleep. If we don't, strange things happen at best and at worst we get sick or go insane. I actually enjoy sleep. I don't begrudge it. I embrace it.
So... why not embrace these empty times? Just part of the process.
Good idea, I thought. I'll go do a nonstop. As I was writing the nonstop, which was sheer blither, it suddenly occurred to me to look up patience on the Internet. I don't think that suggestion originated from me, because what I found has been... well it remains to be seen if this is a key, but it seems like it.
This definition showed up on a website called Coping.org: "Patience is the ability to sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension, or frustraton."
Whoa! That's Faith Rest in a nutshell.
Patience is the ability to sit back (as in take your hands and nose out of the work and just observe) and wait for an expected outcome... An expected outcome. As in, God is going to come through and show me where I'm to go with this portion of the story in His time. It will come. I've been through this countless times before and it always comes, so why, why, why should I get all flustered and bothered by it? It's part of the process. Like cells after they divide, they have to rest. There is no activity. They rest for most of the cell division period and then they divide again.
Patience is the ability to sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension or frustration. So if Iam experiencing anxiety, tension or frustration, well then I am not focused on the fact that there is an expected outcome, which will occur and that that occurance doesn't really depend on me.
It depends on God. Who is all powerful, faithful, who loves me beyond my capacity to understand or really appreciate, who has already chosen every thing that is to happen in my life for my benefit and blessing and often pleasure.
If I'll just do things His way and stop worrying about the future, stop bothering about the past and stop getting all caught up in my timetable but remember that I'm His servant, on His timetable and He will release the story in His time and in His way and not mine. His plan is about Him bringing glory to Himself through us, and it will go forward, unfolding as He has decreed and all my little breaks in concentration and flitting about will do nothing to stop that plan. He knows I'm a silly, stupid, sheep, easily distracted, easily frightened by shadows, pieces of paper and other inconsequential things. And He can handle it in spite of all that.