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Fallow Fields, Winnowing Piles

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There are piles everyone around me. Piles of clean laundry. Piles of dirty. Piles of dishes waiting to be washed, or put away. Piles of papers from piles of children. Piles of bills and notices and reminders and piles of reading. I’ve got piles of notes on a new project I can’t wait to start. Piles of agents from whom I await their multitudinous clamors for more, more! Piles of deadlines and piles of emails regarding those deadlines. I’ve got piles of promises to call my mother and ship the packages and rip the seams of the dress that needs altering.

I’m surrounded by piles. Piles of things I want and need to do. Things that bring my life and joy and peace. Really. A clean sink is more valuable than rubies; who can find one?

My mind is just as cluttered. It turns out, this Super Woman doesn’t exist. I can’t. I can’t homeschool and bake homemade bread and write a perfect paragraph and shop for groceries and plan a week’s worth of meals and meet a friend for coffee and run five miles and take five minutes to read. Not all in one day. And I hate that. I was raised by Yoda. There is no try. There is only do.

My ego is piled up with junk, too. I’ve been distracted by various dynamic friendships in the internetz, ones that don’t include me. I’ve been distracted by the success of others to achieve their writing goals. I’ve been lolling down the platform building river in a rapidly deflating inner tube. I need to get out of the stream.

I need to winnow out the piles. I need to quiet the voices of doubt and abuse (they sound like my own voice). I need to remember why I started blogging, and I need to craft a plan for my writing career for the next five years. I need time, and space, and I need to breathe.

This summer, I plant to take an intentional blog hiatus. Other women bloggers will join me. We’re shutting down or minimizing our blog posts for a time so we can focus. Our conversations have been about changing the way things are done, about rediscovering our voices, about experimenting with different writings styles and techniques. I get all warm and fuzzy and rested feeling when I think about it.

Intentional breaks are good. Saying no is empowering. Refusing to play the comparison game reminds us that we are enough.

I do have one really fun idea for the summer, though, so stayed tuned for that. And when I get my agent and novel contract, you’ll be the first to know.   

How do you winnow? Are you comfortable with letting things lie fallow? How do you take a break when you need one, even if you feel like you can’t afford it?

3 Comment

  1. Oh, girl. You’ve got my number. The only way I am comfortable (but not fully comfortable) with things lying fallow is if God has told me. Because I really hate being disobedient to God. It’s an act of trust — to lay down means to trust God more than I trust myself.

  2. Jen, I have been struggling with this so much lately. I can’t do it all. I really can’t! Yet I hear a hundred voices that sound like other people. (Mom: “If you would just do a load or two of laundry everyday, it wouldn’t pile up so much. And if you vacuumed more often the Mia’s allergies would get better.” Church members: “So-and-so is having a hard time and needs a home visit.” Mentors: “You should scrap your sermon manuscript and preach from memory.” Super-moms: “Well my kids are playing baseball and taking art lessons and gymnastics and just won every award the school offers. And what activities are your kids doing?” Multiple bloggers: “I just got an agent/multiple book contract/invitation to speak at mega-conference/book tour lined up. Life couldn’t be better!” Internet experts: “If you post on your blog everyday, tweak your SEO, send at least 379 varying tweet a day, Instagram, pin more on Pinterest, and have at least 7895 followers on Facebook, then you will have the perfect platform.”) I know these are all my voice playing ventriloquist, trying to make me feel like a total loser. I feel like everything is just spinning out of control some days. There has to be a better way.

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