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I know it’s been awhile. But a lot has been happening. Allow me to update you (because I know you are all completely fascinated by my life).

  1. I got to spend a WHOLE FIVE DAYS with my Gibson Girl friends! We weren’t all always there at the same time, but for the most part we got to catch up on a lot, and it was so much fun. We watched movies, and read books, and went for walks, and talked or didn’t talk as we pleased, and did nails, and in general just got girl time in, which was sooo overdue. Speaking of which, we also all decided it was time to run a joint blog with random life updates, so feel free to head over to inglesidewriters.home.blog – come on, you know you want to listen to a bunch of girls ramble about their lives!! For you Anne of Green Gable lovers, yes we stole Ingleside from Anne.
  2. I FINALLY signed up for another course for my master’s degree. After the one last August, Daniel and I basically had PTSD, and it took us this long (and the holidays) to determine we were ready to give it another go. Okay, AND I switched jobs, so we were also waiting for my benefits to fully kick in so they would pay for it. Which is reasonable. While still keeping us fairly tied up, we are enjoying this one a lot more – it is on Strategic Intelligence, was which our major in college, so needless to say, it is far more interesting than the research one last time.
  3. I went to MY FIRST REAL WRITER’S CONFERENCE! And when I say my first real one, I mean I did go to the sort-of one a couple years ago, but this one was actually focused completely and absolutely on improving your writing and submitting to a publisher. Since my lunch break is about up, I’ll leave you with the quote that most impressed me from Chuck Sambuchino about writing every day: “You need to stop doing something you like, so that you can do something you love.”

Copy-of-Write-every-day-promo-thumbnail-940x705

(http://www.hannahbraime.com/create-daily-writing-habit/)

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I went to a Bible camp when I was . . . mm, probably like 16. It was a week-long of chapels, seminars, prayer time, etc. There is one thing that sticks out in my mind from that time over 15 years ago. It is a seminar called Redeeming the Time. He spoke on how to better use your time. The only thing I actually remember him saying is that you shouldn’t use alarm clocks because if you were woken by an alarm clock then you weren’t getting enough sleep. He obviously works for himself. I still use an alarm clock. I could never get to work on time without one, no matter what he says. I don’t remember anything else he said, except that I was mesmerized by the idea of redeeming the time. Using my time wisely, better, and doing more.

I apparently still have a fascination for time, because lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research into the subject of being overwhelmed lately. And by research, I mean when I have a moment and a thought occurs to me, I’ll do google searches, and I (sort of) read a book called “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.” And I occasionally go on spurts of reading articles on related subjects. Anyone who has been reading my blog longer than this post is probably currently tilting their head wondering why. After all, I am a career woman with a hobby of writing, living in the city with a 10-20 minute commute, and it’s just me and my husband – no children, no yard work, not even family in the area, and, yes, I even have maids come in to clean my apartment on a biweekly basis (courtesy of my new job/raise). Why on earth would I, of all people, need to read about being overwhelmed?

Well, let me tell you. Because despite the fact that there is no earthly reason for me to be one of the rat race runners who feel like they never have a chance to breathe, I feel like I am. I feel like I am always rushing to the next thing, like I don’t have time for work, writing, exercising, hobbies, seeing people, cleaning, laundry. I write and re-write to-do lists and schedules and yet, I can’t figure out how to fit it all in. How on earth do moms do it? People with families in the area? Those who have sports, or classes, or church commitments, or any of the other numerous obligations that most people in America do and I don’t? So, I figured I was going about something terribly wrong.

I think I really started looking into this when I happened upon an article that mentioned how, every time you asked how someone was, it was almost guaranteed they would answer in some synonym of the word, “Busy.” Which, struck me right at the heart – because, I’m pretty sure that is my automatic response too. Anyway, I’ll tell you the conclusions to my ramblings first – what I now believe are the primary reasons for the “rushed” feeling that I always feel.

  1. Phone addiction
  2. Trying to live up to specific, usually unrealistic standards (whether your own or someone else’s)

I’m going to take the next few days to go a little bit more in depth into what I’ve taken away from my research. This was going to be a single blog post, but when I copied it into a word document at it registered at 4 (now up to 8) pages, I realized my husband was right when he suggested making it a series. You can read the rest of the posts as you so choose, but don’t feel like you have to, since I’m pretty sure it’s just me brain dumping everything to better think through it all.

Busy

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I read it over and over again. 15 minutes a day. Write at least 15 minutes a day. To the extent that I half roll my eyes when I read it now. I know, I know. Okay? It’s not my fault that I had to . . . [insert whatever I am busy with that day]. Then there is the plaguing thought that maybe I’m not a real writer. Maybe I don’t care as much as I should. Maybe I am just a failure all around. Maybe if I truly cared enough I would make the time. That’s what everyone says. If you really care about something you make the time for it. But I do care about it, I know that in my heart. I just – shy away from it sometimes. I consider it extraneous and feel like I am neglecting other duties when I spend too much time on it. I am trying to refocus that – yes, again. This will be a constant subject, I’m telling you!

So, anyway – yesterday I went to the Library of Congress. ALL DAY. It was epic. I had a day off because I put in so many work hours last week, and decided to take advantage of my living situation and go do research for my book. I was thinking that I would spend a few hours there at the most. Nope. I spent over an hour in the geography and maps room, looking over maps of the Oregon trail from the 1800s, about as long in the newspaper room looking at newspapers from the 1800s to get a good idea of what the general news/headlines were back then, and then a few hours in the reading room looking at fashion from the 1800s and at a Writer’s Digest Publishing book to get tips. I got home around 5:00, feeling like I’d gotten a full days work in and surprisingly content, satisfied, and thinking about quitting my day job (jokingly, of course). And ready to move forward in the book, whereas I’d felt rather stuck the last few months editing-wise.

This morning I woke up surprisingly early for how little sleep I’ve gotten over the last week – early as in 9:30 – and in a reading/researching/writing mood again. So, I grabbed a writer’s digest and started reading it. And I ran across an article talking again about the whole “write 15 minutes a day” thing. Whereupon I immediately felt my normal guilt that I didn’t make a point to do that, and a little resentful. But there was a follow-up comment that really resonated with me. It was “You have to stay in the story.” Or something along those lines. The basic idea is, if you force yourself to work on a story for 15 minutes a day, you will continue to know what it is you were in the middle of, how the characters were feeling, what you were trying to figure out, and all that. And I was like – hmm. That is a good point. It isn’t just about the discipline. It is about staying with your story. And I do have that trouble when I go back to a story after awhile, getting back in the heads of the characters and what I was trying to do with that particular section that makes no sense.

So. I have decided to make a goal. I am going to aim to write for 15 minutes a day for a week solid. And to blog every day about how it went on my attempt-to-become-a-social-media-writer-guru-blog-that-isn’t-going-well-at-all blog Once Upon a Story, if you care to check in. Starting tomorrow. 😛

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First things first – head over to my other blog (http://storyidyls.blogspot.com/) and check out my most recent post on fear of failure! Because you all know that is my favorite subject, so I couldn’t resist posting about it on there too and am currently working hard not to regret it.

Second things second: I love you , my readers. Mostly because I don’t know any of you and you still take the time to read my stuff and I don’t have to feel self-conscious because I know if you like it, it is because you actually like it because you aren’t going to have to face me at any point and pretend to anyway. Which means I can be myself around you.

Third things third. I read a lovely little piece in A Lamp for My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot that I am pretty sure God was directly telling me. as many of you know – I have a constant need and impulse to insert my witness in conversations in any way possible – partially because (speaking of fear) I am afraid not doing so constitutes as denying Christ. I’ve been trying to figure out lately the correct balance between being a good witness and allowing people to just talk without my preaching at them. I think this insight has really helped me be at more peace:

The Necessity to Cover

There are things which it is our duty to cover in silence. We are told nowadays that everything ought to be expressed if we are truly “honest” and “open.” Proverbs 11:13 says, “He who goes abroad as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing hidden.” Jesus sometimes refused to reveal the truth about Himself, even when it would have seemed to us an opportunity to witness. He did not always answer questions. He did not always say who He was. He told some of those He healed to tell no one about it. “For every activity under heaven its time . . . a time for silence and a time for speech” (Eccl 3:1, 7), “A man of understanding remains silent” (Prv 11:12). Lord, deliver me from the urge to open my mouth when I should shut it. Give me the wisdom to keep silence when silence is wise. Remind me that not everything needs to be said, and that there are very few things that need to be said by me.

 

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