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photo: canva
graphic: Martha G. Brady

Can you believe this is the last day of August? This summer flew by! Proof that even if you’re not always having fun, time still flies. After a summer of rehab, doctor appointments, and very little fun mostly our fault for not planning it! the summer flew past anyway.

Today is the 5th in the series at Kate Motaung’s blog titled On Being a Writer by Anne Koeker and Charity Singleton Craig. The book is also available at the website. This is week threeShe has links to all these links and earlier posts on her site. Here are the links to my earlier posts: IdentifyArrangeSurround, Notice.

Now, to writing! I loved how Charity put it so bluntly. Get on with it!

Now, to writing! I loved how Charity put it so bluntly this week. Get on with it! Share on X

It’s another of those things that needs to be managed well. Time, rabbit trails, distractions, even responsibilities…in order to have a balanced writing life.

And therein lies one of my problems. Balance. It is not a virtue that is native to me.

So how has my writing life developed?

FiveMinuteFriday (FMF) has been very helpful. I’m not sure I would ever have hit “publish” on my posts if it hadn’t been for that forum. Before FMF, my tendency was to write and edit as I went along. I could barely complete a thought before I would be dissatisfied with a sentence and feel the need to rewrite. To say writing was no fun then, is an understatement.

It was a bit like running in a forest and tripping over the roots that stick up along the path. By the time I had a sentence that sounded ok, I had forgotten my main points completely!

Writing became fun and enriching for me…for my readers as well.

With FMF came a fun way to write. I found my voice that showed itself in memories I hadn’t thought of in years blending with words that seems so innocuous and mundane. How did this memory pop up from such a simple word? Or that painful event from such a mundane concept? I had no idea!

I did discover that very few of my FMF’s lasted only five minutes. But that wasn’t always the point. The point was to write unedited (mostly) and to find out what was lying just below the surface where most of my feelings were sitting, bubbling away.

Discovering what was beneath the surface showed up early on! It often opened up windows to my soul that needed exploration into areas I discussed in later blogs… both factual and emotional.

For sure, that unedited writing of my first draft stayed with me in my other writing processes. It helped me get the ideas down on paper. Then I could slash and dissect…often paragraphs at a time!

Now my writing and speaking voices were sounding more alike

Now my writing voice sounded much more like my speaking voice, made more colorful from my life growing up in south Florida in the sun, living in the tropics, and being a nurse! The influence of living later in Texas with a different kind of colorful was added to the color and emotion that filled my life.

Despite a more sterile period early in life when I was discouraged from listening to my emotions, even considering their voice to be suspect, I learned in mid-life that both had value, especially in my writing. Not everything about my emotions was bad and evil. They just weren’t always dependable. But ignoring them totalling was not healthy either.

So this is where I struggle: my hot emotions that can often get me in trouble when spouting unedited from my mouth and my cold logic that can be very rigid, even brittle!

Maturity has brought the realization that I need to step back and use my logical side warmed by my emotions and empathy that the Holy Spirit has grown in me. It is the fight that goes on in my temperament as well as my faith!

I am an oldest child who was very compliant outwardly. I’m  tempted to think I’m holier than I really am…like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. I can be cold and aloof like he was, and proud of my works…not realizing I am more like the Prodigal than I want to believe in my heart of hearts.

In my blog, there are times I sound too logical…and those posts just sit there…cold as ice. Other times, I make myself much more vulnerable as I had to do in real life in our churches as I grew in my faith along with everyone else.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth

It is what we see so perfectly embodied in Christ, the Word that John talks about in John 1:14.

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 

and we have seen his glory,

glory as of the only Son from the Father,

full of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. Share on X

I must admit pain and questions, grief and struggle. Those are the ones that often receive a response…no, not in the thousands. I’m not the kind of writer that attracts 1000’s. But by ones’s and two’s, women stop and say, “I’m glad you mentioned that. I’ve never thought about it that way.” or “I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”

This is the most painful thing I hear women say in churches…that holds them back from reaching out to other women and coming closer to the Christ. Everyone else looks well put together. They assume they are the only ones who struggle.

...Everyone else looks well put together. We assume we are the only ones who struggle, never them. Share on X

I often am moved when I hear those words because I know GOD might be able to use the words I write…to encourage, convict, refresh, renew not only those who hear them, but this writer!

So often as I write, I am convicted of not living up to what I write, not extending the grace I have received to others, not running to Jesus for my need that is so glaring!

The words must be written but there has to be some balance of grace AND truth. Too much of one comes across as cold and hypocritical, uncaring and unkind. Too much of other other is false. It waters down the truth of GOD’s Word to us. It takes away the truth that is meant to give hope.

So I write…about 3 times a week. Sometimes it sounds more lofty and others more mundane…as it should.

That’s how life is. But I do what I need to. I write!