Friday, February 22, 2008

Read, Study, Write!

This week I've been marking my calendar to plan ahead for conferences and writer's meetings coming up in the next few months. March 1 is the deadline for the Genesis Contest through ACFW. More deadlines are coming to a close for another multitude of contests looming on the horizon.

Last year I entered about four or five contests and obtained some really good, useful feedback.

This year I find myself struggling to find time to write, much less have a good idea of what to write.

I'm still planning to attend two conferences this fall. But I'm wondering if I should worry myself with trying to pitch to an editor or agent. If I'm not writing, I don't have anything to pitch. If I'm not writing I'm not growing as a writer.

This, my friends, is what I reluctantly tell myself sometimes.

But that's just not true. Yesterday Missy posted about our TBR - "to be read" pile.

Even if I'm not writing, I can become a voracious reader. Every word I read is exercising my mind. Images and scenes flow through as I read each paragraph. My vocabulary will grow the more I read and finally, when I do start writing again, I may be a better writer for it.

I can study my favorite stories and figure out how an author made me cry, or laugh, with certain twists of words through dialogue and character's actions.

Lindi posted on Monday about "Simply Write." One key thing I took away from that post is we need to know our characters. No matter how many subplots we dream up, how much conflict we throw at our characters, or how many twists we weave within the story, if we don't know our characters, the story could fall flat.

I could go on and on, but duty calls and I must get to work - my real job.

If you're like me and haven't written for many months, don't despair. Use this time for reading, studying, and developing the characters of your heart. The writing will come. Your time of study will never be time wasted.


  1. We all have seasons in our writing. And you're getting back into the workplace right now. You'll know when it's time to start up writing again. And like you said, reading lots is priming the well.


  2. Yes, this work thing kind of gets in the way, doesn't it? But we have to do what we have to do. (sigh)

    As you know, I took three years off from writing, but I was growing in my spiritual life during that time. I just finished writing a book that was on my heart for 13 years, and as I finished the last chapter, I realized I couldn't have written the ending I wrote without experiencing those three years of not writing. My ending was going to be different, and now I think it is better. I couldn't have done it without that spiritual walk with God--that closeness that I didn't have before--a deeper understanding of Him and His Word.

    Believe me, God is doing a work in you right now. Just relax and go with the flow and soak up every ounce of what He is depositing in you. He may be giving you your breakout novel during this time.

  3. I've also heard that we may be "ruminating" (cousin Wendy, there's my word again :)). God and our subconscious may be helping us work out a plot point. Don't rush it.

    I'm feeling that way right now. I stopped writing yesterday afternoon and have just been walking around thinking--what next? Something needs to happen, but I don't know what. I'm hoping it will come to me soon!


  4. I'm writing, but I'm suddenly writing 3 non-fiction books. What happened?! The stories on my heart are still there, but I feel so strongly about the non-fiction books. My head is reeling.