You know you’re a new author when you make statements like, “I’m going away for a week to write the first draft of my book.”
As if….. But God is so good; we just don’t know what we don’t know. Whether it’s, “Hey, let’s paint the living room this weekend,” “Honey, let’s take that hike. It’s totally easy.” Or, “Wow, I think I’ll go back to school/get a job now that my children are older,” and other idealistic statements.
I headed to a lovely retreat center three hours from my home in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, with high hopes but the experience has been eye-opening and recalibrating, to say the least. Yes, I had many plans, but what’s that Robert Burns quote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley?” Things definitely did not go as I had planned.
Here are seven things
I’ve learned I’m learning:
- Life and Jesus will get in the way (in a good way) of completing your project.
- You planned to write a rough draft of your book but you’re the rough draft.
- Never write in the same room you’re sleeping in. A table along one wall does not a study make.
- You will have to recalibrate your expectations several times using not GPS, but Jesus PS.
- Sometimes being productive means lots of prayers going up rather than print on the page.
- Trust the process.
- Give it time.
- God’s not in a hurry.
- The book idea was His anyway—all you have to do is give Him your pen.
- Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not God.
Lesson learned: sometimes staying home in a familiar place with room to move and think and cook and stop and start is the best way to write.
A writing retreat does not necessarily produce a first draft of a book, but it might refresh your perspective to attend to the task when you return.