Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Writer's Anxiety

Cross in Needle Dress

I've been culling my year-long Secret Place journal, pulling out images and thoughts, as I prepare to write my next book. Today, I found this entry from last winter, which I really like, because it reminds me that the beginning of a writing project is always an anxious time...

I am like my children, with the sun umbrella, but it is night and I am in the woods... with the rain pop-pop-popping and fff-fffing onto my pants (cold drops that melt into the cloth with a wet slur). I lie here, a night beachcomber, combing the mass of pine branches for some treasure, some insight on what I will eventually write.

How will I get it all down? My brain is a bound Ezekiel, watching the feet of people scuffling by. I think of Psalm 139, "how vast are your thoughts...I come to the end, I am still with you." I pray a half-baked sort of prayer for God's vast thoughts to hold all this together, to shake it up and pour it out in some design, to replace what I'm holding in my palm right now... a jumble of senseless marbles, shells, musings on pine trees and night beaches.

And so it goes. My writer's anxiety, my hope that a Mind bigger than mine will guide me in and onward.

Cross in Needle Dress photo, by L.L. Barkat. (Sometimes it takes a moment for us to see it, but then we do see... a design in the mess.)

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Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Back to read later - just wanted you to know the books arrived safely last afternoon. I cried in the acknowledgments and had to make myself stop after chapter two to go to sleep!

Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful words - can't wait for the others to read their copies too. I am now baiting myself and using reading more of the book, a chapter at a time, to get some work done that is shortly due!!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Well said. I feel that way about everything--how am I going to get it all done? how am I going to teach my children all they need to know? how am I going to give my husband all he needs from me?

On and on.

Thankfully I trust the Mind as well. The Psalms say--

"Teach me to number my days aright that I may gain a heart of wisdom."

2:40 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Secret place journal, eh? I like that. I think I have too many journals - I seem to scribble stuff everywhere. Do you think that's a problem?!!

I love the picture and yes, a beautiful mess!

4:40 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

yes...that pressure
then ideas
they come
they begin to softly drop
they are seen
watched floating by
gathered in
this enjoyed
the work a pleasure
comes back
with full arms

5:30 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

I always wonder if the words will actually come when I need them, will they fit together for me this time. Like all things, looking to God's provision in the past gives me hope for the present and the future. The words will come, dear friend.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous a.anjeanette said...

Wait...all this and personal journal too! You must control time. :-)

3:39 AM  
OpenID spaghettipie said...

Like the new profile picture.

If I enjoy your next book half as much as I am enjoying Stone Crossings, then I can't wait for you to write it! Hope the anxiety soon dissipates, leaving a renewed and deeper trust in Him.

3:58 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Susan... so glad you received it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Jennifer... Oh, good, yes. This applies more broadly to life!

Dianne... never too many journals. Just not enough time. ;-)

Nancy... I'm honored by your lovely poem (you are the blogosphere's traveling bard!)

Charity... isn't it a strange thing? It always seems such a miracle when the words finally take shape.

A.An... or maybe just stay up too late and get up too early and miss a little cleaning and, and, and...

Spaghetti... glad you are enjoying Stone Crossings. I am liking this next one even better, but maybe that's because I've only read Stone Crossings, oh... I don't know.. a few hundred times? :)

9:22 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. I read it a couple Saurdays ago and plan to blog on it weekly chapter by chapter beginning Wednesday.

Sometimes it comes hard for me as well, where I just seem to be running on empty with nothing to say. Other times it just flows in my own simple way, of course having to edit it.

But it would be different if I was under the gun of having to get going and working on an actual book.

You're blessed in your opportunithy and giftedness. Keep on writing, and we'll keep on reading!

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

A writer's anxiety.

I'm feelin' it. At this moment.

And your reliance on a Mind greater than your own...I've been feelin' that, too.

My mind, on its own, suffers many moments when it malfunctions, sputters, wheezes, and spits out dust.

"But we have the mind of Christ."

I hope every writer on her knees today who is humbly exploring truth in a blog or a magazine article or a book will receive revelation and inspiration from the mind of Christ, the mind of her Maker.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Writer's anxiety - oh my gosh - you have described it perfectly for me, whether the task at hand be writing scientific papers or grant applications or an important project I must write up for church. I feel as though I have a million pieces in my head and am trying to hold them all in until they somehow come into an ordered format - some great theme that I have yet to discover. The biggest problem for me is that until they "self-assimilate" in my head, I don't seem to be able to get anything down on paper!

10:14 AM  

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