Bed and Breakfast, St Charles Ave, New Orleans
Two years ago my husband and I visited friends in New Orleans that we’ve known for over 40 years. (That’s a picture of where we stayed.) Our history goes way back to the 70’s when we helped start a church in a little house off Canal St. Our son was born here during that time; yes there is some history for us in NOLA.
I’m back in Louisiana with our gracious friends again, typing beneath a fan in the quiet peace of the countryside with the sound of birds outside the window. The Bogue Falaya river runs nearby and tho’ this is the first time I’ve been to their newest dwelling, it feels again like coming home.
Reading a good blog post is like that.
Before I packed my bags for this trip I spent a morning at my desk, asking the Lord about this whole blogging thing, agonizing/wondering about the tension I feel between being ‘just me’ and becoming a household name in the Christian online world. You know, ’cause I think like that.
I’d downloaded and read the ebooks, blog posts and the how-to’s of memoir writing and creativity.
Underlined and highlighted the ‘7 Steps to This or That.’ But most of the how to be a success tips just didn’t make sense in my world.
Here’s rule(-ish) Number One–
Write every day.
Not gonna happen, just not.
Once or twice a week–that I can do.
Write in the morning.
No can do–my brain is churning over bills to pay and letters to write and laundry that awaits.
Writing in the afternoons works much better for me, when my mind is clear and words can pour out.
Find a quiet place.
Ummmm, my husband has taken all the interior doors off at our house while he paints and trims molding and installs new doors. ‘Quiet’ is non-existent right now.
(OH, and did I mention that we have relatives coming to stay at our house for 3 weeks?)
It’s impossible to be consistently brilliant with so many distractions. Yes, the advice and how-to’s just don’t fit my life right now.
What I heard God say (as I literally sat shaking my confused head) was this: share about the small and close, the true and simple life-as-you-know-it. Those are the words that connect the most when you write.
It’s most often the smallest truths that have the biggest impact.
It is not the grand effort of the Magnum Opus that I need to aim for. It is the sharing of the small, honest pieces of my life with Jesus that people respond to.
“Write that,” I hear Him say.
While I was praying, I pulled out a copy of Beth Moore’s ‘To New Writers with Love’ from Living Proof Ministries blog November 2012. Her words touched me, made me say, “Aha, now there’s a formula (if that’s the word) for success.”
My favorite lines were this:
“Perfectionism will snuff the flame. Period. Give it up.
We don’t have to strive for fabulous. Purely doing some good can be really great.“
The Holy Spirit underlined them with this thought, “Stop looking over your shoulder when you write, looking elsewhere for advice. Keep your eyes off the everybody else’s. Keep your eyes on me.”
Beth also underlined emphatically–‘meditate on God’s word, spend time in quiet, spend time listening, thinking, processing, asking HIM what to write.’
For me that made sense–my Creator has a way of showing his creativity through me if I ask.
I know there are some disciplines and there are good reasons for consistency, good grammar and so on, but He reminded me to write what’s true for me now, not what’s trending. That’s a trap.
When I focus my attention on the ‘out there’, I lose touch with the ‘right here,’ the world at my feet and in front of my face.
I want to talk to you eye to eye, like friends across the table or side by side on your comfy couch.
I don’t want to have my eyes off in the distance, looking for somebody else to walk in. I want to write from what is real, right here, right now.
Those are the words that ring true.