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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bottom in Chair & Fingers on Keys

Yesterday I told my youngest sons they had to write for 15 minutes or one decent paragraph, whichever came first. (Yes, I'm one of those crazy women who thinks God said, "Homeschool your children," and eventually, after peeling her hands off her ears, began a journey that has been going on for the last 13 years.)

Son #1 lamented the assignment. Nothing he had to say was interesting. He didn't want to write some old, boring stuff. It just wouldn't turn well. (Reminds me of Evangeline's post. (See below.) I'm thinking there was some serious negative self-talk going on there.)

Son #2 suddenly lit up, grabbed his pencil and wrote in his best handwriting about his favorite subject: how sharks are innocent, beautiful creatures of God and constantly misunderstood because us land lubbers (including marine biologists) are just to "pansy" (his word not mine) to get close enough to sharks to really understand them.

Now Son #1 came up with a very decent paragraph about how much hard work it's going to take him to earn enough money to get to the Bahama's with his scout troop. Son #2 wrote a few pages of impassioned words which would have continued indefinitely if I hadn't insisted math was also a subject for the day.

I'm rattling on like this because, frankly, my attitude as I sat down to write this blog was exactly like Son #1. I have nothing brilliant to say today. I don't want to waste my time writing trivial slop. I don't want to bore my readers. Why do I have to do this?

The thing is . . . once I sat down and started writing, I could feel this thing shaping up. I could feel a message in this blog that I hadn't thought about before putting my finger to the keyboard. That message sounds an awful lot like a phrase I've heard kicked around ACFW circles for years now--something like "put your bottom in chair and write." Now depending on the cultural upbringing in the particular Godly women who said this to me, the word "bottom" has been replaced with every extreme thought that is probably coming to your mind right now. But whatever your cultural sensibilities, the point is clear. Sit down. Put your fingers on the keyboard. Write.

Sometimes you'll get a decent paragraph. Other times you'll get pages of impassioned words. You might even have a few days of . . . "uh . . . I really don't know what to write today, but the sky is sure a pretty blue . . . " But unless you put that backside down and turn toward your computer screen what you'll accomplish in your writing is . . . well, nothing.

Fingers on keys ladies and gentlemen! Let's do this thing!

(And now I'm off to my laptop where there is no Internet, no enticing facebook comments, no emails from long lost friends to entice me away from my latest novel. Happy writing!)

9 comments:

tonya said...

Great post, Paula! Procrastination, distraction, or a low regard of what you have to say, can keep you away from your writing. I am guilty of all three.

Mary said...

Paula, I must confess I'd been procrastinating for months and then when I put my bottom in the chair, the words did flow. Great message today.

Candee Fick said...

Ouch. Now, why did you have to ruin my happy surfing to remind me why I booted up my computer in the first place? :P Properly chastened, I'm retreating back to my WIP.

Seriously, thanks for the reminder to write.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

I can't wait to do that too. Right now, I'm also one of those crazy homeschool moms sitting next to my sons who are doing Math-reluctantly so writing anything longer than a facebook post is not possible.LOL. Happy Writing. I plan to do mine tonight while everyone else sleeps.

Robbie Iobst said...

Paula, I clicked on Facebook because I don't want to write. Tonya posted that Paula had written something wonderful about writing. I clicked on it and read your post. I'm a little teary. See I've been praying that God would give me some oomph today to write. And here you are. Oomph personified! :0) Thank you! It is wonderful to sit and let the Spirit fill me as I pour out on the keyboard. You reminded me of Truth!

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Also a crazy writing homeschool mother, I've clued my daughter in to how I "trick" myself into writing by telling my weary self that all I have to do is write one excellent sentence. Once I open the file and hit the keyboard, I'm usually off to the races. Great to hear your perspective and your experience with your sons!

Niki said...

Wise words indeed. I'm an expert at finding the distraction in every writing situation. How is it possible to be a writer and not want to write? That is my struggle at the moment. I owe this blog a post from last week. Guess I'd better get to it. :) Thanks Paula!

Evangeline Denmark said...

Good post Paula and good reminder. My excuse is that I don't have my laptop and these big fat keyboard keys don't feel right. Therefore, how could I possibly be creative?
Yeah, I'm a pansy.
Thanks for the chocolate, btw. Yummy!

Need More Words said...

Paula, My problem is the Internet.
"Oh, I'll just check my emails, and then see what everyone is doing on Facebook and then I have all these blogs I follow." This does not leave time for writing. I am sitting, and my hands are on the keys, it what I am doing in that position that needs adjusting.
Thanks for the post.
Diane

 
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