Tag Archives: Thoughts

Writing Time

I have been writing for almost as long as I can remember. I think, in my own way, I was writing before I even came to learn about letters and words. There are times I can recall from my earliest days of childhood where I would think up stories in my head and either talk or play them out in my room. Letters and words were only the tools I needed to call what I was doing “writing”.

One of my favorite assignments in school was when we would have to take all of our spelling words and use them in a story. I remember one story I wrote from 1st grade about an Orca whale who read the Bible. Never mind the fact that whales cannot read and that paper turns to mush under water. If I could write it, I always felt like it made it real somehow. Words and stories open up possibilities that can exist nowhere else – not even in the movies.

As I grew older – I am not sure if I have ever grown up – no matter how often my dream career changed, I always thought writing was a given. After all, one can write regardless of what one does to pay the bills. But here is where I have discovered the limits of writing: you cannot write time.

All throughout my life and all throughout my education, I was always able to find time to pursue my enthusiasm for putting words onto an empty page. I was perusing through an old thumb drive the other day and was a bit surprised by just how much I had written: short stories, poems, incomplete novels, and more. There was a time I was blogging fairly regularly and enjoying it immensely. I even managed to complete a novella. But then life happened.

Life happening does not mean “bad things” in any way. It just means that I got busier with other, more important things. Back in 2013, my life changed pretty dramatically in just a couple of months. In September I got married. In October I began pastoring a church. It would be fair to say that writing was no longer a top priority. I suppose that would be okay if that were only for a season – but it’s safe to say that five and a half years is a little more than a season.

That is not to say I have not written in the last five years! Actually, I write every week: a sermon manuscript. Of course, writing sermons is a significantly different kind of writing in my opinion. But I have also dabbed a bit in some creative writing. There have been the occasional blog posts and stories (most of which never got completed). But it has never been how I always imagined it would be. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day.

My life is once again about to change significantly: My wife and I our expecting our first child this July! Just as I was writing this, my wife called me over to feel her tummy and I was able to feel our little baby (“Spud”) kick for the first time. Anticipating this baby is like nothing else I have every experienced.

But I have come to a realization over the past couple of months – it’s now or never. If I do not make the decision to make writing a priority now then it will never happen. I will lose this hobby that I once dearly love. Life will always be in flux. There will always be other things that need to be done. And the reality is, there are not looking to be any more hours added to the day anytime soon. I am stuck with the same measly 24 hours as everyone else. Boo!

I cannot write time any more than I can make time. What I can do is find time. Over the past few weeks – thanks largely to the encouragement of my wife – I have taken just 30 minutes to an hour each evening to practice my writing. It is not much but it is more than I have been doing for the last five years. What I have found is that there is actually more time available than I have ever known. In our day and age of social media and endless information in which to scroll, it can be frightening to realize how much time we waste.

We all only have the same 24 hours a day. What we do with that time reflects our priorities. I can say that writing is a priority – but unless I can demonstrate that with my time, I am full of bologna.

Time is seemingly becoming a more valuable resource by the day. After five years in ministry now, I have discovered that time is one of the last things people are willing to give. Many people will write a check long before they will contribute their time. Time is a resource. But unlike money, we are all pretty much on the same playing field. 24 hours is 24 hours.

Looking at my future, I realize that I do not have a clue how much my life is going to change once we have this baby. But what I do know is that I love this baby, my wife, Jesus, my ministry, and myself far too much to lose something that I have loved for so long. The last thing I want is to allow resentment to gain a hold of my heart to where I start blaming the people that I love for taking away from me something that I love doing when the only person I could really blame would be myself.

So I am beginning the habit now of writing every day (or just about every day, at least). I am frustrated with how rusty I am! But at this point, it does not really matter if what I write is worth two cents. I am finding life and energy that I had not even realized I had been missing over the last few years. And with a baby on the way, I need as much life and energy as I can get!

Putting a Book Down

I hate not finishing something that I have started — especially when it’s a book. I very rarely ever start a book that I fail to finish. There are some books that I trudge through for weeks even though they are pointless drivel and struggle to hold my attention.

When I pick up a book to read, I’m making an investment of sorts. There are millions of books that I could be reading at any given time; yet, at that moment I have decided, for whatever reason, that a certain book is worth my efforts. Maybe I like the writer. Maybe the cover grabs my attention. Maybe the storyline seems interesting. Whatever the case may be, I have decided to give this writer a few hours of my life for him or her to tell me a story.

Putting a book down and failing to pick it back up feels like I’m telling the writer that I am no longer interested in what they have to say and that they might as well be quiet now.

As a writer, I find this offensive and I hate the idea of doing such a thing to a fellow writer.

Yet, there are times, I must admit, that I have done this. In fact, very recently I picked up a book that I simply could not finish — it was not worth my time. There were other books and stories that were waiting to be read and I could not bring myself to finish a story that was more or less garbage. Out of respect for the writer, I will not tell you what that book was.

I really wanted to like this book — I really want to like every book that I read. Yet, the storyline of this book was ridiculously unbelievable (and believe me, I have a very strong ability to suspend disbelief). Further, the writer obviously skimped on the research which involved subjects that, unfortunately in this case, I have studied enough to know just how far off the writer was. Now, normally I could forgive these things; yet, even if it weren’t for these major flaws, the story would have been second-rate. Thus, I did the terrible thing that I never like to do…

I told the writer I wasn’t interested anymore and that he could just go ahead and be quiet.

I fear someday that someone will read one of my stories or books and tell me, “Andrew, I’m really not interested anymore”, and put my story down — which is why I find it such a horrible thing that I would do this to another writer.

But, perhaps, putting a book down isn’t such a loathsome crime. There are so many good books out there that maybe we could spend more time reading the good one’s if we just put away the garbage once we realize that the story will never get any better. Not every story will be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. Sure, I wasn’t crazy about this last book I attempted to read — but I’m sure that there were many who love the book! And maybe someday someone will tell me that they are no longer interested in my story — if that is the case, then more power to them to read a book that suits them. Hopefully, I’ll find as many readers that find my stories intriguing.

It’s thoughts like these that challenge me to be a better writer. When someone read’s one of my stories, I understand that they are making an investment. They are taking time out of their lives to allow me a chance to tell them a story. When that time comes, I hope and pray that I do not disappoint.

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