November Challenge

No, not NaNo. I’ll admit I’ve never done it, but this doesn’t feel like the year. I don’t have any stories that I’m feeling passionate enough about to write about for 50,000 words or a month (or, frankly, an hour). Lately, though, I’ve been loving how some bloggers chronicle their personal goals. I love following along, and it’s been inspiring me to get out of my box and challenge myself more. [shout out especially to Beth at The Quiet People and Brittany at Where My Soul Belongs]

So I’m starting a personal challenge. I’d like to write at least one hour every day in November. Because I’ve been having a lot of trouble writing, a lot of trouble finding times where writing feels “right,” I need a way to hold myself accountable. I need a way to encourage myself to write, even if that mostly involves going tentatively and slowly at first, because this won’t feel better if I don’t start and try and stumble through it.

And, if I succeed, I will buy myself a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a new book. (Sweet! I am excited about this already)

So, here we go. I hope you’ll join me and follow along on this journey.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo? Something else?

Change and Rain

I’m finally back to taking part in Five Minute Friday, a link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. She posts a word, which we then write about for five minutes. Head on over to see what everyone else has written or to link up yourself!

This week’s prompt: Park

GO

Hm. Noun or verb? There’s a wonderful park right by my house, full of trees and good paths, but I haven’t been there in ages. That sums up how I’ve been lately, I suppose. Knowing there are good things out there, but not necessarily taking advantage of them. I’m content to sit in my same-old place, which may be comfortable in its familiarity but not the best there is, not the best I can do. 

I’ve been working to move, to do things differently and better, and to see the good things around me and revel in them. Change is hard–you’d think I’d remember this, but every time it takes me by surprise. Change is hard work, long days of choosing the new and the difficult-in-unfamiliarity over and over. Good work, but hard. I keep forgetting.

Now I want to go to the park, but it’s rainy and gray and gorgeous today. I love rainy days. They make colors more alive, and the sound of rain is so soothing, and then I can sit inside and read or write or clean or just drink a cup of tea. Those things are worth doing, too, and yesterday I walked to work and prayed and saw the autumn flowers covered in bumblebees and honey bees. Today I’ll savor the rain.

STOP

Writing

Writing has been hard lately–so, so difficult, like pulling weeds, like coming up against a stone wall repeatedly and unexpectedly. 

Finding words has been like looking for needles in the dark, like looking for a landmark in a thick, suffocating fog.

Nurturing ideas has been like the most delicate work with a micropipette or tweezers or a scalpel–tricky, dangerous work that’s easily destroyed by one wrong choice.

Mustering up the courage to write has been like searching for the mythic white whale or white stag or unicorn. I forget, sometimes, how very much courage it takes to write well and honestly and truly. 

I hate that writing has become a battle, with myself and with the words. 

I miss trusting the words and trusting God so effortlessly that the words flowed without stopping up, with barely a ripple.

Now I’m just glorifying the past. Writing has always been difficult. 

I expected it to become practiced, habitual, easy. I had visions of sitting in a beautiful room, at a wonderful, tidy desk, writing steadily and well for hours at a time. Someday.

Funny, the things I find when I really look at myself. I would have always said that, Of course writing will always be hard work. Of course writing well and honestly will always be difficult, because the tasks worth doing are always difficult. Of course. Funny how I expected older me to somehow have perfected the art of writing into a science. 

Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on here. Partly I’ve been reveling in not having anything to do, taking advantage of it to read and check out new shows; partly I’ve been figuring out how to work and live without deadlines looming. It’s essentially the first time in conscious memory that I haven’t been in school. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.

So, yes. My internship is all done. I’m officially able to look for a church to pastor. I moved into more permanent rooms. I’ve been preaching in local churches, since I finished my church job.

And I still don’t quite know what to do with myself. 

I know what I’d like to do: Find a church. Write, and publish. Clean and organize. Craft. Pray. Read. Figure myself out some more. Just use this time. Instead, I’ve been in a funk. I haven’t been using time so much as finding ways to fill it. 

So, this is another step in using time and living well. I’m writing again, at least here. It’s good to be back!