I really enjoyed updating you on how much writing I’ve done. It was a nice way to feel accountable and inspire myself to keep going, which is why I decided to continue doing updates.
Here are my totals for the past two weeks:
I kept the same goal of writing one hour a day. As you can see, I’ve been more successful this month at reaching at least an hour of writing in a day, which always feels like the big mile marker. Actually reaching it is such a rush!
It’s funny that I’ve reached an hour more this month, because my focus has shifted. I started focusing more on the every day part of my goal, and just being excited when I wrote every day. If I only wrote ten minutes–well, I wrote. If I didn’t write anything for publication–well, I wrote. Taking the pressure of reaching sixty minutes off of myself was so helpful and freeing, because then I could just focus on writing. Once I took that pressure off, I started to write more days and to reach an hour of writing more often.
I always forget how important it is to give myself grace and be kind to myself, but I learned that lesson again these past few weeks.
Here’s to learning it again as we go forward!
What have you been writing and learning?
One of the reasons I haven’t been writing much lately is because I want everything to be just right. I want to feel that sweet spot of confidence and inspiration; I want to be somewhere that’s exactly the right mix of quiet, comfortable, and interesting but not distracting; I want to be sure what I’ll be writing while also knowing I’ll be flexible enough to accept if the piece doesn’t go exactly as I’d planned; I want to feel surrounded by God and loved enough that I know I’ll be able to trust myself and trust God. I want everything to be just so when I sit down to write.
And some days, I really am not ready to write, or something else really does come up. And that’s fine.
Most days, however, when all of those factors don’t line up exactly, it’s also fine. It doesn’t feel like it; I feel unsettled enough that it’s harder to sit down to write, or I use it as an excuse for not writing. I can’t do it just so today, so I just won’t do it. I don’t feel capable of perfection, or my best, or the impossible standard that I perceive as my best, or even something that’s ‘good enough.’
Like I said, some days I really can’t write well. There’s nothing wrong with that. But most days when I don’t feel ‘ready’ to write, don’t feel like I’ll be good enough–it’s not true. What I write may not be perfect (well–I hate to break it to myself, but duh), but editing exists. There’s value in writing anyway, in listening to the words and to God and sitting in that space of ‘I don’t know what to write’ and ‘Can I really write?’ and ‘What am I doing?’ There’s value in writing anyway.
Sometimes I just needed to start, just needed to reassure myself that I still remember how to write. Sometimes the words really aren’t ready, or I’m not ready to write them. Sometimes I really just wasn’t ready to write.
But there’s value in writing anyway.
That’s what I’m learning, and relearning, and relearning, in this season.
Here’s a wrap up of my November writing challenge:
Tuesday (November 22): 0 minutes
Wednesday: 35 minutes
Thursday: 0 minutes
Friday: 0 minutes
Saturday: 55 minutes
Sunday: 55 minutes
Monday: 30 minutes
Tuesday (November 29): 0 minutes
Wednesday: 0 minutes
Yes, I’m disappointed that I didn’t write more (although not during Thanksgiving. I went to visit family that I hardly ever see and it was wonderful. It’s such a rare occurrence that it was worth not writing for those few days). Not being able to write consistently has been a huge theme of this challenge.
But I’m very glad I challenged myself like this. Recording how much I’ve been writing has helped me to see what I’m doing well and what I need to improve on. The challenge has encouraged me to write more. An hour a day may be unrealistic at this point, but it’s the minimum amount of writing I’d like to work towards and eventually reach. It’s been helpful to have a goal and accountability.
I’ve continued the challenge into December with a few tweaks. These update posts seem to be popular, so I’ll keep posting them every few weeks!
I linked to my blog on my resume.
It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time–look, all of my writings and sermon clips, all in one place!–but the first time I sat down to write a post after that, I blanched. Somehow the idea of sending out words into the anonymous internet is WAY different than sending out words into the internet that is now full of people who are considering you for a job. A job as a pastor, no less.
What should I post now? What if they didn’t like it? What if I revealed something about myself, and they decided I was too imperfect for their church? What if they saw the flaws I struggle with and talk about here, and decided to take themselves far away from that?
So I posted something, so no one would think I wasn’t regular about posting (although anyone who scrolled to the next blog post would notice that there was a gap of a month and a half), but it wasn’t too revealing. Big news, but nothing too personal. And after that, every time I sat down to write a post, I would freeze up. What could I write that wouldn’t show churches that I’m a human being with flaws and problems??
Then I had the brilliant idea to ask Off the Page if I could write a hugely personal piece for them, and they said yes. Whoops.
So, I’m being personal and vulnerable. To the Internet. Including all those people who might end up here because they’re considering hiring me as their pastor. Here it is: my problems, my human-ness, my sinfulness and struggles. And I know I just spent a while saying I don’t like being vulnerable, but please go check it out. Being vulnerable is important. I wrote something true and something that I love–and even if it’s also the scariest piece I’ve ever written for the Internet, I’d love if you went and checked it out. Please join me in my vulnerability.
The Secret Place is a devotional magazine that I stumbled onto one morning because there was a whole stack of them sitting on the living room table in my seminary dorm. It’s a devotional full of every day moments, and I’m so honored to be a part of the most recent issue. I’m talking about perfection, because everyone needs to hear about it sometime, and my devotion is slotted for January 29.
Go check it out!