Thursday, March 3, 2011

Writing and Groups and Critiques

I know that a good critique group is beneficial.

I know that a good writing group is beneficial.

But I don’t really have either.

I have a circle of encouraging friends whom I love dearly.

And I have some lovely online friends who I communicate with.

I know the benefits I’m missing out on.

But, I am in a season which leaves me time poor.

The writing group I joined meet a fair distance away on a day that is nearly impossible for me to negotiate to get there. Every other writing group I’ve looked into has virtually the same scenario – I just can’t see myself committing to get there.

I write. I love to write. I know I’m not the best. But I have a humble confidence that I am gifted to create worthwhile stories that could really speak to people.

I recently challenged a friend who is often running late. Her response was, ‘walk a day in my shoes.’ My thoughts were … ‘Walk a day in mine!’ but I held my tongue and remembered that we all have our ‘lot’ to deal with.

Perhaps I need to focus more on my family, my friends and everything else that is going on in my world. But then I remember that writing brings joy to my soul. When I write I feel alive. Why would these stories keep coming to my mind, if it wasn’t my calling in life to write them down?

Recently, I heard the full story of an amazing family. I have known about their miraculous story for a couple of years, but to hear the story from beginning to end has inspired yet another book.

It left me pulling myself away from the computer all day. All I wanted to do was plot out my new storyline.

Right now these things are pressing for my time and energy… a court case, kids schooling, workbooks (kids) that need to be checked, college – reading, assignments etc. And outside of that I have hubby, family, friends, church etc. I have had a cold for over a month. I feel like I am finally getting over it – but I also feel completely behind in other things that need to be done – housework, mail, tidying etc.

So what do you do when you are time poor?

What do you do when you know what you need to do, but you can’t negotiate your way through your season to fit everything in?

I know this season is short. I must be patient.

Images via Google images


  1. Take care of your health. A cold lasting a month might be something else. We have all our time issues and I think each person needs to find their own way through it. You can only do so much.

  2. Michelle, when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, I write a list.

    This is a list of all the things that are causing me stress in that particular moment. Then I look at each item and try to do something to alleviate the stress that each item causes. So for example, if I am stressed out because of a looming assignment deadline, that is the thing I will focus most on. The other things on my list are probably not giving me as much stress as that assignment so they can wait or at least only be given a bit of my attention. Once that assignment is completed I move on to the next big thing on my list.

    Even the act of acknowledging what is causing me stress and making steps to alleviate it, reduces my stress even further--like a snowball effect.

    Regarding your love of writing, I really liked it when you said, "...writing brings joy to my soul. When I write I feel alive. Why would these stories keep coming to my mind, if it wasn’t my calling in life to write them down?"

    I know you are time poor, but this little talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love was very interesting:

    Hope you find some time to do the things you enjoy most.

    Shelly xo

  3. It's a balancing act, definitely. And I so agree with Shelly, lists really help sort through things and see the whole picture. If you'll focus better on your writing by first tending to other matters, I'd direct my attention that way, and take it from there.

  4. I'm with Susan, I would be getting to the doctor, a cold lasting a month might signal something, and at the very least it signals that you're run down.

    When I'm run off my feet, I sort by priorities. If you have a second (well, I know you don't, but I think this is worth it), google Covey's quadrants. It's a way of sorting your work that makes sure that the 'urgent' doesn't crowd out the 'important'. Then, once I've got my priorities sorted, I sit down with my diary and block in everything, including--and this is the key--overflow time, for dealing with the unexpected, or tasks that take longer than they should.

  5. Michelle I know exactly how you feel! I know that different seasons require a pulling back in other areas, but I always call those seasons a drawing near. It is in these times that i feel God is drawing me near to Him, and He wants to teach me something. So I usually have to give up the thing I love for a season and find 'myself' in the midst of the chaos through hearing His sweet voice.... at these times it seems that I am not moving forward and feel like my feet are stuvk in cement, but when I emerge from these season I run faster than I could pre-season, because of what He has done in me. Be patient my darling, you wil emerge with this with a renewed strength and able tow rite far more effectively than ever!! xx

  6. It's hard when you can't find the time to write and I know exactly what you mean by 'writing brings joy to my soul'. I think most writers bumble through these struggles at some point.

  7. Hi Michelle, just popping in to say hi. What a lovely place you have. And you sure do write well. I've been scrolling down and reading a few posts. You're funny and I can imagine you write like you talk! It's fantastic to have friends who support your journey to writing and a network of other writers sure helps too! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I think I might just visit you again I'm officially stalking you now ;) xx

  8. It's hard, isn't it? I make lists, too. That helps me put everything in perespective and prioritise. Good luck and take care of yourself.

  9. A lot of times when I'm time poor I make like a turtle, pull my head into my shell and disappear. I sometimes get so panicked that I can't do anything. But then I just start and resolve to take baby steps. If all you can write in a day is one sentence, it's better than no sentence.

    And there just are times where you'll be more productive than others and that's okay too.

  10. I wish I had some answers.
    You've always been a busy person, you like to do a lot.
    And like you said, it is all on your priority list. You can only do what you can do. You'll know when something gets too much.

  11. Time is always short here too. It's hard. I try to prioritize - family comes first always. Job 2nd. Everything else falls into place somewhere. And sometimes the dust bunnies get kinda big. But we catch them eventually :) Good luck and take care!

  12. It's probably the busiest time of your life so you have accomplished an amazing amount. I gave up trying to write when my kids were small; just read acres of books instead. But home schooling as well. As a teacher I know what a workload you have.

    Go Michelle!


  13. Hope you're cold goes away soon and try to shield yourself from the comparison game. Make sure you get lots of time outside, even if its in short bursts. I did loads more writing than reading last year, and this year I decided to tip the balance and it works really well. Even amongst chaos. Take care.


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