Thursday, February 19, 2009

No, No and No

Well, I see again that I have let my blog posting languish. This is partly out of embarrassment, partly out of mental exhaustion.

No, I did not turn in the manuscript on the February 9, deadline, now some 10 days ago (really? Can it really already be 10 days? Alas...)

No, I did not turn in the 38 chapters of manuscript on the adjusted deadline of February 11. I turned in 34.

I did, however, assure my editor that I was confident that I would finish the manuscript by Mar 1. Ha. I am a slow learner. God has a plan here, and I don't have a clue what it is, but it sure doesn't seem to be "Help Karen meet her deadline." (I think it's something more along the lines of "Give Karen the opportunity to trust Me no matter what happens.") The very day after I turned in the 34 chapters, I went into blank mind mode. I could call it writer's block, but I don't think it is. Any more than the first 8 months of a pregnancy are "mother's block." Or maybe "baby's block". When the oranges are tiny and green early in the season is that "orange tree block"? No it's just a normal function of growth.

I have learned that in the cycle of cell division, by far the longest period of time is spent resting. Or at least, not dividing. Instead it is preparing to divide as it carries out its normal cellular functions, growing in size, reading its DNA, doing whatever it's supposed to be doing in the body. The time it actually spends in division is very brief.

So it is with me. In the creative process, I do spend more time thinking or even just being blank and trying to think than I do writing. Two days of nothing, trying to write, trying to think, trying to make something come, put two thoughts together, find the next portion... getting nowhere, getting distracted, getting frustrated and anxious when it starts to go on too long (although how I would know what "too long" is, is beyond me.). And then after all that, the next thing I know I find myself writing something, words are coming together to make sentences, I start seeing how the various elements can fit, this one here, that one there, this other one next... Sometimes within an hour it's all come out. But I can't force it. I have to wait for it.

So that's the process, and I'm getting used to it, and I know that I don't know what God's plan for my life looks like and that I have to accept His timing without complaint, frustration, anxiety... But...I wasn't expecting to have any more of those periods when I turned in the 34 chapters. So it was quite dismaying to promptly run into a 3-day incubation period. Then, having resolved that, to run into a 2 day incubation...

Right now, a week and a day after turning in the first portion of the manuscript I've got two chapters done and three close to done. And looking at what I have left, which is chaotic and incoherent (the living-color results of what happens when I just sit down and force myself to write) I suspect there are going to be a few more simmer periods before all that is done.

So, No, I no longer have confidence I will finish this thing by Mar 1. I have given up trying to predict. It will be done when God has decreed it to be done, and that's all I can do.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Milton Friedman -- Greed

Wow! Two posts in one day. Things are really getting strange here at Writing from The Edge...

But I wanted this to have its own post. I love what economist Milton Freidman has to say about Greed when it comes to politics and economics. (Is that Phil Donahue? He looks familiar but it's been so long, I'm not sure)


God's Sense of Humor?

This Wednesday I'm supposed to turn in to my editor all the chapters of The Enclave that I will have finished by that time. Last Thursday I told her I expected to have 38 chapters finished because I was very nearly there at that time. The very next day, as always happens when I make any sort of prediction with this book, I started working on chapter 31 -33, which are extremely mushy chapters and, as is also usual in this situation, found myself frozen and blank. Lost. Confused. Completely overwhelmed with puzzle pieces and ideas... all day.

Saturday our waterbed sprung a leak, but I refused to take ownership of that problem and left it to my husband to solve. Which he did. I continued to be frozen, lost in index cards, whiteboard circle-and-spoke outlines, scene and sequel models... and trying to keep my mind in the present and stay out of the future. Trying to fight my way through the jungle.

Today, after a wonderful Sunday morning lesson on how God puts us in difficult situations of suffering in order to break the power of the old man, (the flesh) in our lives, I came home and continued to be blank. I am waiting for God to enable me, to release the story; I'm praying for His help. And growing restive with His timing. But that, too, is part of breaking the power of the old man.

It's not our timing, it's His, and we have to be willing to fully trust Him even when it seems all wrong. Even when people tell you, you've got it all wrong and He's really trying to tell you that you've blown it by writing the wrong thing in the wrong way, and that's why there's all this delay... It's your fault. Your responsibility. Not His. And you need to do better!

But what about, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." Ro 4:16

Or "For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to execute for His good pleasure." Phil 2:13

Or "For the Lord God helps me, therefore I am not disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint and I know that I shall not be ashamed."

Or "He makes all things meaningful in His time."

Or "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts...'"

"Cease striving and know that I am God... I will cry to God most High; to God who accomplishes all things for me.

"If there is any man who respects the Lord, He shall be shown the path he should choose..."

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow..."

So I claimed all those. And then, sometime after 5pm, the hopeless muddle began to organize itself. Where before I would consider the material and nothing would happen (or at least nothing that led anywhere), now words formed into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and they kept on like that, as step by step I moved through ch 31.

Which, when I account for the chapters I've split but not renumbered, is actually ch 34. I might be able to make it through 32 and 33 (i.e., 35 and 36) and maybe even 34 (37) by Wednesday. But not 38. And I can't help wondering if that might just be part of God's sense of humor...