As a parent I had to learn to recognize when my children needed a time out. I’m not talking about a disciplinary action to give them time to consider their actions and consequences. The times I’m talking about are those times when a child’s activity and input has been so constant or exciting that their senses become overloaded. If I failed to recognize those times, we were headed for meltdowns of epic proportions. If I caught them in time, a time of quiet activity and solitude worked like a reset button to their emotions and self-control.
As a writer I have to learn to recognize this same need in myself. You do too. Our writing is often done in solitude. We come together in community with other writers for support, encouragement, and constructive criticism. However, when it is time to put fingers to the keyboard, we seek a place of solitude to do our work. Because of this, we may adopt the mistaken idea that we have plenty of alone time and don’t need a time out. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Writing is our occupation and, for those who write faith-based works, ministry. It is a pouring out of ourselves onto the page. It takes solitude to put words on paper, but it also requires mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. It isn’t a reset, and it can be a drain on our personal resources even though we enjoy what we’re doing.
Add to this outpouring of self the personal demands we face. We are spouses, parents, ministers to the body of Christ in our local churches, and often, employees outside of the writing arena. As I write this, I find myself pausing to check on my grandmother. She has Alzheimer’s, and I am her day time caregiver. We’ve had a rough last couple of days. It takes more physical, mental, and emotional energy on these days than I would have if not for the grace of God. Other writers I know are dealing with sick children, job losses, local ministry concerns, family deaths, and new additions to their families. Joys and struggles can each demand everything a writer has to give.
Together the personal and professional demands quickly sap the writer’s creativity and drive. Like the small child, everything escalates until we near a place of overload. If we reach that place we can be faced with frustration, depression, apathy, and discontent. Our ability to write well and minister to others in the way God has called us to suffer. But what can we do?
We can take a time out. We can find a place of peace and quiet, not to write but to simply be. Maybe your place is filled with scripture or quiet praise music. It could be a place of natural beauty that speaks peace into your soul. A relaxing bath with fragrant steam rising around you may help you, or you may need a cool, dark room with a comfortable bed and silence. We’re all different. Find the things that will help you hit reset. Take time to refill and refresh so you can come back to your writing, your ministry with passion and focus. Schedule these times regularly because we all need a time out.
Connecting with Heather:
Heather Greer grew up as a pastor’s kid in rural southern Illinois. Though completely unexpected, she became a pastor’s wife thirteen years ago, when her husband answered the call to preach. Heather has had the opportunity to minister to all age groups, but teens and women tend to be where God most often leads her. When she isn’t writing or working with various ministries, Heather loves to bake and spend time with her husband, children, and grandson. Of course, she’s always willing to sit down with a cup of cocoa and watch the latest Hallmark channel movie too!
Social Media Links:
Website and blog: www.heathergreer.com
Heather writes women’s fiction/contemporary romance. Her books, Faith’s Journey and Grasping Hope, follow the story of Katie McGowan. Join with Katie on her journey to find what it means to have faith and hope in the middle of the messes of life. Faith’s Journey and Grasping Hope are available in e-book and paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.