Thursday, November 30, 2017

Running Ahead OR One Step Behind?

First Day of Nanowrimo! Oh, I am pumped. My pantser instincts are gung ho. Fifteen hundred words under my belt in less than two hours. Budgeting three hours a day on this project should work well.
My story’s ambitious. Women’s fiction, complicated relationships, moving back and forth in the times of their lives. Fifty thousand words should be a snap.

Second week of Nanowrimo begins. The story is unfolding nicely. I have notes all over the place. Now to find that one detail I wrote down…
Life keeps getting in the way. I need a new phone. I have three blogs to get done this week. My husband would appreciate a home-cooked dinner. I absolutely must clean the bathrooms.
I’m tired.

This story stinks. I’m stuck. What should my main character do next? Any conversation that comes to mind sounds boring. Not worth the time to type it.
I’ll try again tomorrow.

11/30/17 I won! 51,251 words toward my new novel!

Those of you who have tried National Novel Writing Month, does any of this sound familiar? This is my seventh Nanowrimo, and I follow the same pattern every time.
Week One: rarin’ to go.
Week Two: slowin’ down.
Week Three: dead in the water.
Week Four: the grand push forward.

I’ve succeeded at fifty thousand words twice. Would the year I completed forty-four thousand count as an honorary runner-up?

Here’ s what I've discovered. 

I must ask the Holy Spirit to lead. I’ll follow, one short step behind. By checking with Him first before I initiate anything, He can arrange my day in the best sequence for tasks to be accomplished. That includes my ability to get words from my mind into a written form, an obvious necessity during the frantic month of November.

If I will only walk with the Holy Spirit as He sends me on paths of discovery in my plot and getting to know my characters, I always have plenty of words to type that are satisfactory. 

Those other four years when I didn’t finish? I knew what to write. I dictated where the story was going, and I didn’t bother to ask for guidance when sitting down at the computer. I ran ahead of the Spirit. And galloped off in the wrong direction.

In spite of knowing how much I need His guidance, I still tend to drift down my own path. It takes purposeful reminders to wait for direction. This week I’ll get back on track. I know my story has promise. It’s worth the write, and it’s worth a prayer of seeking God’s inspiration before placing fingertips on the keyboard.

Whether we participate in Nanowrimo or not, everything we write can only improve as we choose to follow Him, one step behind.

I don’t think I’m alone in my tendency to run ahead. Do you have a story to share about your own writing journey with the Lord, a confession of when you wandered off and dead-stopped in quicksand? Or a celebration of a project where every step was in sync with the Spirit? I’d enjoy  reading about it! 

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. When she's not involved with Nanowrimo, she concentrates on the middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft. She still visits the school and teaches creative writing workshops.
Where Linda can be found on the web:


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