March 29, 2017

Unfinished Masterpieces by Bob Jones




Did you know that some of the world’s greatest masterpieces are unfinished projects?

Scholars can’t agree whether Michelangelo’s sculptural creation is a David or an Apollo - but they all agree that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t finished. They’re not sure why.

Although it’s considered one of his best works, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael left sixteen sections of the painting Transfiguration unfinished when he died. Assistants had to finish some of the figures at the lower left.

The Cathedral of Saint John The Divine in upper Manhattan is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s complete. Construction began in 1892 and was on-again, off-again. It’s still missing its spires.




A watercolor portrait of President Roosevelt by Elizabeth Shoumatoff was painted on April 12, 1945 at Roosevelt’s Georgia retreat. The duo took a break for lunch, where the President complained, “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head.” He slumped in his chair and was soon declared dead from a stroke. Shoumatoff later finished a second version, but the original remains incomplete.

When I started this post there were eighty-nine draft posts awaiting my attention in my blogsite. The number comes up like a blue light special every time I look at my post list. 

* Most of the posts shouldn’t be finished. Some of those I trash after review but others get to live for
   another day.
* Some of them have potential.
* A few of them will become full-blown posts - masterpieces-in-waiting.

Here’s a way you can use your unfinished posts with potential. 

Take four or five of your best “undeveloped ideas” and offer them up in a post for someone else to finish for you. Write one or two paragraphs per idea. Adopt them out to others. Entitle the post - “Ideas Waiting To Grow Up” or “Posts That One Day Will See The Light.” Your unfinished work could become someone else’s symphony.

I riffle through all of my published posts that are over a year old at least once a month, keeping an eye out for ones that could be updated and re-posted.

One Friday a month I review the unpublished ones that should become full-blown posts. More than once I’ve been surprised to find a forgotten gem. I either complete it and publish it or make a simple edit and save it so that it moves to the top of my unpublished list as a reminder.

Now there are only eight-eight drafts as this writing exercise helped me make some tangible progress.

 
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.

March 28, 2017

Am I Not Worthy of My Hire? - Bruce Atchison


I often wonder why I bother with writing. It hasn't paid my bills in the past 21 years, though I tried my best to sell my articles and books. In this world, we work for our money so we can pay our bills. As Ecclesiastes 10:19 (KJV) points out, "A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things."

Is not our work worthy to be purchased? As Paul wrote regarding remuneration for the servants of the Gospel in 1 Timothy 5:18 (KJV)  "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

For most of us, there's more to the craft than money. Firstly, there's our love of the written word. Being able to craft a compelling story or poem is aesthetically pleasing. Even if no magazine or book compilation features what we wrote, we still can be proud of it.

We also bless others by what we've written. In my case, people have complemented me on blog posts which particularly inspired and edified them. No doubt the rest of us Christian writers have had the same experiences.

I've also found writing to be excellent therapy. My second and third memoirs didn't sell well but writing them helped my heart to heal. The pain of being sent off to a boarding school and having been lied to in a house church has largely abaited. God used those books to exorcise those painful memories from my life. Doubtless others have had the same experience.

Our writing is also a legacy to our children. In my case, my sister Linda learned much about our family life through the events I recorded about being exiled to Jericho Hill School. I'm certain that other InScribers have had the same experiences as well.

March 27, 2017

Writing Buddies - What's it All About?

This could be YOUR writing buddy!
This is a brand new initiative that is still in its infant stages, but the ultimate vision is to create a database of writers who are looking for one on one encouragement, accountability, and candid feedback, and then ‘hook them up’ with another writer with common interests, goals, and experience. 

 This will be especially helpful for writers who live in isolated areas or who cannot become part of a writing group for any other reason. The idea for ‘Writing Buddies’ was sparked at the 2016 fall conference when Carolyne Aarsen, the VIP day guest speaker, mentioned that she and another writing friend committed to be one another’s ‘writing buddy’ after attending conference. This was before she went on to become a million plus selling author. 

The current goal is to find a few pairs willing to commit to a six month trial period, agreeing to contact each other at least once a month to talk about their writing goals, barriers, and other related topics. Writing Buddies’ is less about being a ‘critique’ partner or mentor, and more about the encouragement to persevere. 

If you are interested or just want more information, contact Tracy Krauss. A short questionnaire will be sent to you. 

March 26, 2017

It is Finished by Marnie Pohlmann

As a writer, I'm not sure I will ever say the words, "It is finished." Perhaps this is because I am a Mom, familiar with a vocation that is never finished. Even when a chore is complete, a few hours later it is undone.

Parents spend time
making a meal that is eaten in ten minutes, 
     while soon everyone is hungry again…
washing the dishes,
      to dirty them with another meal…
sweeping the floor,
      only to have crumbs and dust bunnies multiply...
folding the laundry, 
      and seeing the same shirts end up back in the dirty clothes basket…
making beds, 
     then sending kids to them for a nap…

Everything done becomes undone. It never ends!

Because a mother's work is never finished. 
Yet we eventually come to be at peace with the undone.

Writing is like parenting.
I have so many unfinished ideas
floating around in my head…
scribbled on scraps of paper…
hiding in my journals…
languishing on my computer…

They are not yet even projects!
Some are just twinkles-in-my-eye dreams that may never be birthed. As a writer, though, it is never too late to nurture new life, so I continue to collect these seeds.

I do have a few teenage projects in my family.
Some I have nurtured for a long time.
A novel…
A devotional book…
A memoir…
These are not yet ready to leave home, but they are growing.

Some of the youth have shown up more recently, hanging out but not yet feeling like part of my family.
Blogging…
I feel joy and anguish as I post in this blog space or on my own blog. I wonder, like all parents, what I am thinking, as I take on the responsibility of caring for an online life.

And some of these teens stay only a little while, like neighbour kids, before their time with me is done.
Contest entries…
Calls for submissions to magazines or anthologies…
These short-lived relationships help me stay involved. They force me to practice writing in unfamiliar areas. The rewards of writing to a deadline often outweigh the fears of rejection.

I like to spend quality time with each of these projects, however, life always seems to interrupt. Other family members call for my attention.
     Work demands the bills be paid...
     Ministry asks to be fed…
     Seasons switch clothing, adding to the laundry pile…

When I do make opportunities to connect with my projects, their teen moodiness does not always appreciate my attention.
We sit face to face,
     only they reject me with the silent treatment…
They don't like
     the fashion in my words clothing them…
Eyes roll
     at my attempts to play word games…

Occasionally I brush the hair from their face and send them out into the big world. A mother's angst frets they are not ready, and worries if they will be safe, treated with respect, and find their way to meaningfully influence the people who meet them. They go off where I can no longer reach to feed them, dress them, or care for them.

Still, I cannot say "it is finished."
I will always be their mom. They will always be my baby. I continue to see ways I could have done better by them. I continue to wish I could shape them differently. But they are gone, and I have others still at home who need my attention.

Because a writer's work is never finished.
And that's alright.

"It is finished."
Even our Lord, who said these words as He died on the cross, wasn't really finished!

Jesus rose from the dead (Hallelujah!) so we can be God's work in progress.
Sometimes we rebel…
Sometimes we run…
Sometimes we laze about the house not helping with the chores…
And God continues to love us, nurture and grow us.

God is an expert on resurrection and new life. So, when we look at our parenting or our unfinished writing projects, we can be at peace.


God's work in us and through us is never finished.


*photos courtesy of Pixabay.com, CCO license.

Marnie is one of God's unfinished works in progress. 
Read how God is working in and through her at Phosphorescent.

March 25, 2017

An Unfinished Story By Vickie Stam

I was careful in choosing the right words, maybe a little too careful. Some of my classmates didn't like that. "You can't allude to something in your story - you need to spell it out!" They said. Their tone felt harsh and in that moment I wanted to close my eyes. Not see them. Not feel the sting of their comments. 

But the reality was that my classmates hadn't got what they needed from my story. They weren't able to look that close, read between the lines so that they could easily see what was inside my heart. See the pain that has lived in there. No, my words needed to convey more. They wanted more than I was prepared to give them. And hearing something with a negative tone attached to it - hurt.  

You see, for almost thirteen years I have been estranged from my youngest son, the fall out from my divorce. Throughout those years I have always felt a deep desire to write about the pain of being separated from him, the consequences of a marriage ending and how that has effected my relationship with my son.

There are questions that have plagued my mind. Answers that I wish I had. I wrote to find healing, and maybe, just maybe my story would one day help someone else through a similar healing process.   

I knew my story was not unique. I also knew that I wasn't alone in my plight. Being a Christian didn't exempt me from the painful circumstance either. Estrangement knows no boundaries.   

I had never shared my story with anyone, least of all a room filled with strangers. But in the fall of 2016 I set out to do just that - let others read the story that broke my heart. I enrolled in an eight week writing class that was supposed to provide me with feedback but I had no idea what that would feel like once I received it.  

A dozen faces stared at me and each person took their turn at telling me what they liked or didn't like. It was no longer my tears that smeared the black ink on the white pages, it was their comments that seemed to mare the pages. It was a tough eight weeks. A real learning curve in a writer's world. 

Psalm 16:8 "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

But I was shaken. As I looked down at the blank paper I had placed in front of me, I began to write their comments down, one after the other. I had trouble allowing the encouraging comments to outweigh the harsh tone of others.   

But it was my first intensive writing class and the first time my writing was critiqued. I must admit, it knocked the wind out of my writing sails and took away my desire to move forward with my story.

That night, I received a pleasant surprise - an email arrived in mail box from one of my classmates. She wanted to let me know that she was sorry for the way my critique had gone. She said, "it isn't what people say that hurts - it's how they say it." She couldn't have been more right. Those words came as a blessing to me. God orchestrated, I'm sure. 

I finished the class in December and over the winter my story has remained untouched. It hasn't been at the top of my list of projects to carry on with. It wasn't as if I haven't thought about it. I have. 

And then, just the other day another email arrived. The same classmate letting me know that she was signing up for the spring session of the same writing and critiquing class. She wondered how I was coming along with my story and asked if I would be joining again. If not, she wanted to encourage me to find a way to keep writing. "You need to share your story. You're a good writer." She said.

How wonderful to hear from her once again!

I'm not sure where this story will go. I just know that at this point, it remains - an unfinished story.   

March 24, 2017

Works In Progress by Tandy Balson



Two years ago I went on a cruise with my daughter. One day an area of the ship had a sign up saying Works in Progress. To ensure the passengers didn’t attempt to access that area there was also a security guard close to the sign. They were serious about not having the work disturbed.

There are times I’d like a sign and security guard when I have a work or several works in progress.  The trouble is, most of my interruptions come from me!

Sometimes the words don’t flow and I look for distractions to keep me from feeling like a failure. Avoidance doesn’t work forever and sooner or later I need to focus on my writing. When I force myself to sit down and actually start, things aren’t nearly as bad as I’d feared.

Other times I have an abundance of ideas. I will write a few lines, give the piece a working title and save it in a draft file. These drafts may give me a starting place on the days I’ve run out of fresh inspiration. The trick is to make enough notes so I remember what my original idea was.

At the moment, I have a few works in progress that I need to get on with. It’s time to set out my sign, position my inner security guard and get serious about eliminating distractions. Maybe then I can make some progress.

March 22, 2017

Loving Acceptance of Unfinished Projects



“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6.


I have been spending some time contemplating the questions of the writing prompt for this month. I have read the posts of our writer friends who have written about “unfinished projects.” I appreciate their take on things so much.


I like Brenda Leyland’s, view that “A half-done project is much like starting a race and then dropping out before you get to the finish line…” This is what came to my mind after reading Brenda’s comment. What if a project is not even half-done and has only made it to a quarter-done? All the words get excited that they are coming together then the brakes are applied. Things come to a halt and the words are like, “huh, what happened? How come we stopped?” Perhaps, even sadder, is when a project is maybe three-quarters on the way and runs out of steam. The poor words can almost see  the final chapter. They all now sit waiting for the writer, yes you or me, to carry on to finish.


My friends, here is my take on our unfinished projects. The poor babies! Oh my, how sad these projects must be being cast aside for another season! I understand too they may be just waiting with eager anticipation to get going again. There is hope my friends!


One of the questions the writing prompt asks is, Do you struggle with unfinished projects? Nope, I don’t struggle with it! I accept it. I accept that perhaps it isn’t time for these particular little beauties I have done some work on. I accept that this story or poem is maturing within my creative mind. It just isn’t ready yet. That is so freeing!


Another question from the writing prompt is, Do you wish to resurrect unfinished stories or blog posts and breathe new life into them? The thing is my “unfinished” projects are not dead or even comatose so I don’t have to resurrect them. No, my stories are just chillin! They are patient with me and I am patient with them. Their day will come!


How do you stay on task until your project is completed? That is a good question. Once I set my mind to get back to a project I block out a time frame and go at it. I still work to make a living and am involved in a full life. With this in mind I block out a couple hours or so on Fri. and Sat. This is my answer and I’m sticking to it!


How is God prompting you to finish the unfinished? Right now God is prompting me to work more on my next book project. It is one that has been percolating for a while. The project started out as Facebook posts. The story and I are getting reacquainted. I trust that when I retire from my profession I will have more time to write. My projects that are chillin out right now will be so happy to work together.


This all reminds me of God’s promise to me. He has begun a good work in me and by His grace I will be completed. In some small way I am also confident that my stories will be complete. While not as important as my relationship with God I love my relationship with my stories. I love my stories including my “unfinished projects.”


PS: I couldn't resist sharing a photograph of me and a recent finished project. I was was honoured to be asked to contribute to a book called Good Grief People. Thank you Barb, Glynis, Donna, Ruth, Carolyn and Amanda!


Blog: ScarredJoy@wordpress.com

March 19, 2017

Watch "Days" or Write by Eunice Matchett


I’ll do it tomorrow. I cannot stop watching this movie or toss my bowl of popcorn. Doing so would be wasting.

In these words, finding time to sit and write is over-the-top obvious, but in reality, it isn’t. Time has no boundaries. Yes, we have timepieces that inform us as each hour, minute, or second passes, but responsibilities and commitments do not adhere to a timeline.

Before I enter my writing sanctuary in the morning, I have routine chores needing to be completed. On a normal day, my domestic engineering duties eat up the better part of an hour. Sounds good. Lots of time left. Well, not quite. When I started, I didn’t notice a honking big hair ball stuck to the hardwood floor in the corner of the living room. Twenty minutes later, it’s cleaned up and disinfected, but I’m well over my assigned time.

Then, the phone rings. That wonderful piece of technology that keeps us all connected. What would we do without it? I could ignore it, but that grating voice coming through some part of the contraption is telling me the caller is my daughter, whom I can’t ignore. She’s in a talkative mood, and my last glance at my watch told me she’d been talkative for the last sixty-five minutes. When we finally said our goodbyes, my morning was spent.

I’m left with two options. My procrastinating personality screams turn on the television and watch “Days of your lives.” Your day is messed up already. You’re never going to climb into your writing frame of mind.  

I reach for the remote and my responsible personality whispers you need to write.

And the battle is on. Days or write? Days or write? My head doubles in size as my opposing personalities duke it out. Slowly, my responsible side wins, and I head for my desk.  

Before I do anything, I ask God for help me calm my scattered brains. Once peace settles over me, I open the document needing my attention and read what I’ve written. If it’s a novel, I read the latest chapter. Before I’m half way through, I’m pulled into my thought stream and my fingers itch to hit the keyboard. Most of the time.

Those times my brain remains stubborn, if it is summer, I leave my desk and work in a flower bed. Something in handling the soil brings my wayward thoughts back into focus. In winter, a brisk walk through snow-covered trees and bushes have the same effect.  

Temptation to procrastinate is a daily battle but it doesn’t have to win. Recognizing it and making positive steps is the beginning of defeating procrastination. If writing is a priority, there is always ways to outsmart the pesky time gobblers. They just need to be found.

March 18, 2017

Bein' Green - by Gloria Guest


Unfinished projects. They make me feel defeated, unsatisfied with who I am. I so often find myself frustrated with who I am.  I have always related to a song sung by a frog (aka Jim Henson) called, “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green.” I get it Kermit. I really do. I don’t find it easy being me (green) either.

Just as Kermit wished to be a more vibrant color that didn’t just blend in, after reading the accomplishments of my fellow Inscribers I often feel a little ‘green with envy’ and ‘green’ as in newbie, unaccomplished one, wishing to be one of the organized, disciplined ones; the ones that have projects on the go and manage to even complete some of them; the ones who actually publish their work instead of storing it in some poorly organized, forgotten file on their computer.

I do those things. I’ve spent some of my valuable time wondering why; but then, I still do them. As Paul laments in Romans, the things I know to do I don’t do….

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25 NIV

I suspect there are many underlying reasons to my problem or to be more blunt as the apostle Paul, evil within. Because yes, any form of sin, including procrastination or anything that keeps us from doing what God asks of us, is in fact evil. I could blame it on a lack of praise for completed projects as a child by my parents, undervalued and unnoticed at school by teachers, and the list goes on. Somewhere I bought into the lie that my words should be kept to myself; perhaps even hoarded?

 A ghastly thought. I’m a hoarder of words. I picture my brain as an overstuffed house filled with crumpled paper, trashed words lying around in heaps. Not pretty. It causes me to want to get out the mental/spiritual broom and start sweeping. Perhaps some of those articles I’ve stored away were never meant for other eyes. Perhaps they simply helped me through a rough patch. Perhaps some of those crumpled papers need to be rescued. Maybe they weren’t as bad as I thought. But if so, then they need to be treated with the dignity that they deserve; that I deserved as a child. They need to be noticed, to be polished up and submitted somewhere.

None of this is easy for me. Honestly I find life in general challenging Every. Single. Day.  I am an incomplete project; which in fact we all are on the scale of life. However I know I am not meant to languish there. So what is my plan? I need to start by uncrumpling even just one piece of paper to share with others. One of my favorite verses about Jesus, the true author and finisher of all, points the way.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 KJV

I love that verse. It’s so complete. I hope it’s not sacra-religious to also add that I like how Kermit’s song ends; with a decision to be who he was meant to be. I may not ever be the most prolific author, the great novel writer or even simply the most organized, but with the help of Jesus, the one true author and finisher, I can be successful as me.

March 17, 2017

Respect the Idea by Rohadi

In "Big Magic", Elizabeth Gilbert tells a story about a new book idea she had complete with tantalizing details. She toyed with the idea for a while, but ultimately never followed through from idea to completed project.  She reveals later that the 'idea' quite literally left her for another author, whom two years later published a book with same details, characters, and plot....

For Elizabeth, ideas are living things, and if you don't respect the idea when it lands on you, it might opt to move to greener pastures without you.

There's no shortage of ideas. It's why we keep pens and notepads in our coat pockets (just in case). Blogging for me as has been a useful process to get ideas out (and done). Posts are generally short, some mere vignettes or musings, others a bit more substantial, but rarely are my posts over 2000 words. I may have a card stack of blog post ideas, but because they're short, they seem insignificant.

But what happens when the ideas are bigger?

One of the frightening things for a writer is starting a significant project and having the idea leave you before completion. The professional writer may have mastered the art of overcoming resistance to 'close the deal' on ideas as they come. For me, who lacks the discipline, I'm terrified of starting something I can't finish, not because of my ability, but because the idea left me for someone else.

I'm in that situation right now, to be honest.

70-80 thousand words in and I left a project for what I thought was going to be a brief pause (I was waiting for a publisher to 'pick it up').

"I'll be back soon!" I promised myself.

That was 2015.

Two years ago I started my non-fiction book, "Adventures to Save a Dying Church", (title pending), only to leave it for a year.

A YEAR. Don't leave a project for a year!

As I came back into the rhythm of writing in January, it was evident I was about to pay a price for acting too casual with the idea. I'm stuck on Chapter 1 (or is it Chapter 2 now?), where my writing days are becoming a never ending merry-go-round of Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1....

Am I even going to make it? Or will I have to let this one go?

Today, I think I'm making process, but it's slow, and I can't quite get it out of my head that I may have left this one dormant for too long. I disrespected the idea.

Thankfully, God's patient beyond measure with any ideas sent our way. I may just yet emerge from this extended intermission scathed but completed.


______________

You can visit Rohadi on his blog, and you can check out the book he completed while abandoning his first writing project, a Christian coloring book called, "Soul Coats".

March 16, 2017

Do You Have Commitment Issues? by Nina Faye Morey


Do you struggle with unfinished writing projects? A survey by a popular writing blog revealed that 72% of writers answered “yes” to this question http://thewritepractice.com/finish-projects/. I can certainly count myself among them. Several unfinished Works in Progress (WIP) patiently wait in my computer files for me to return to them and revive our once loyal and loving relationship.




I start out with the best of intentions when our relationship is fresh and uncomplicated. I make a solemn promise to stick with my current WIP through thick and thin. In spite of my strong commitment, it doesn’t take long before things go wrong. The WIP begins to display its faults and no longer looks as attractive to me as it did when we were first courting. Once our relationship starts to fall apart, I begin to have doubts about whether this WIP is the right one for me.

Before I know it, our relationship has slid further downhill as my WIP grows stubborn and irritating. I find myself becoming more negative and critical towards it with each passing day. Soon I’m easily tempted to stray whenever other appealing ideas whisper seductively in my ear. It becomes increasingly difficult for me to resist the urge to throw myself into these promising new relationships. After all, if I tie myself down to this WIP, I’ll be passing up the chance to take advantage of all these other wonderful opportunities.

However, by now I’ve started to feel rather guilty about breaking up with my current WIP. Perhaps I should shoulder some of the blame. So what do I need to do to avoid this temptation to stray and stay faithful to my current WIP? Well, perhaps I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe it’s my behaviour that needs to change if we are to be successful in sustaining our relationship. So I decided to do some research to discover what was at the root of my commitment problem and develop some strategies to deal with it.

My research helped me recognize that my tendency to flirt with seductive new ideas was the result rather than the cause of my commitment phobia. Two particularly persistent troublemakers were those evil twins, procrastination and perfectionism. Together they conspired to keep me from remaining faithful to my current WIP. Their bullying behaviour was disruptive and dispiriting. It distracted me from my WIP and deterred me from achieving my goals. Fortunately, two of my oldest and dearest friends, patience and persistence, showed up to rescue me from their clutches and set me back on the “write” path.

In addition, I discovered it would take a lot of dedication, determination, and discipline on my part to maintain and nurture my relationship with my current WIP. However, there’s no need for me to struggle with all of these commitment issues on my own. Fortunately, I know that I can pray to God and ask Him for help and direction. If I listen for His voice and trust in Him, He will guide me along the “write” path so I can fulfill my commitment to the WIP He originally chose for me.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”

~Isaiah 30:21(NIV)


So now when those tempting new ideas come calling, I politely take note of them. However, I keep my promise to stay faithful and ensure that my heart and calendar remain open to fulfill my commitment to my current WIP.



March 15, 2017

So Many WIPs... So Little Time - Tracy Krauss

In preparation to write this post I did a quick count of my works in progress and discovered I have nine novels in my 'WIP' file waiting to be completed. Several of these are unpolished 'Nanowrimo' projects. A couple have several completed chapters, while others are little more than an outline with some random dialogue sprinkled in.

Added to this is my desire to republish two of my previous novels whose rights have reverted back to me. There are changes that I've longed to make but did not have the right to do so until recently. (Example: I'm sick of the 'Sonny and Cher' references in regard to my book AND THE BEAT GOES ON...!)

As well, I've got five plays that I want to polish and submit. They've all been produced and performed but I haven't gotten around to submitting them anywhere. I also have plans to compile many of the old blog posts from my 'Expression Express' blog (which is no more, by the way...) and put them into a little book.

I think for me the problem is less about getting around to finishing a project and more about the fact that I have too many. "So many books and so little time!" seems to be my constant cry.

I try to set attainable goals for myself each year, and although I don't always get to everything on my list, I find setting deadlines for myself - arbitrary though they might be - helps me to stay on track rather than procrastinate. (Another tip: move the TV to an out of the way location.)

As you can see from my list for 2017, I'm not entirely on track, but it's not a total wash out either. (The orange highlighted bits are complete. The rest... well, there's still time this year!) Perhaps I was a bit unrealistic in my expectations, but I really want to crash through that pile of unfinished projects and knock as many down as I can!

My goal? Come Nanowrimo time I won't feel guilty about starting yet another new project. :)

_______________________
Tracy Krauss has been obsessively clacking away for more than thirty years in her quest to get all those stories out of her head. Visit her website for more about her many books and plays. tracykrauss.com  -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-

March 14, 2017

To Finish, or not to Finish? - Ruth L. Snyder

This month we are being asked to share whether we struggle with unfinished projects, and how we stay on task until projects are completed.

I am a finisher. In fact, not finishing something can make me very frustrated. Just before I started writing this post I was able to finish solving a problem on the InScribe website. After InScribe members elected the new executive at Fall Conference 2016, the names and contact information needed to be updated on the website. Most of the changes were easy to make. However, the InScribe website has a bottom banner or footer, that is on every page of the website. Information in this area needed to be updated. Every time I looked at the website, that out of date information irked me. (If you're not interested in things technical, you may want to skip the following description.) I knew from past experience that I needed to find the widget. However, when I brought up the widget page, the one I needed wasn't there. I asked our previous webmaster, other people familiar with Wordpress, and even our web host technical support. No one could figure it out. This morning I cried out to the Lord (for what seemed like the hundredth time) and asked Him to show me the solution. Then I went back to the website and updated a plugin. I noticed when I clicked on certain menu options that an error message popped up, pointing to one of our plugins. I disabled the plugin, and the widget I needed "magically" appeared. The changes took a matter of minutes to make. Solving problems and finishing things make me happy. I'm one of those list makers!


I may be a finisher at heart, but then many times life happens. One of the biggest adjustments I had as a parent was accepting the reality that I would rarely be able to work on projects to completion, especially at one sitting. I have learned to delay projects that take focus and concentration to times of the day when my children and husband are not around me. I don't want them to feel like interruptions. I have also chosen to focus on shorter writing projects for now, instead of books. Even then, my writing projects often take me way longer to complete than I would like. I have also requested an office space with a door I can close while I'm writing. Some day that will be a reality.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (KJV). I am often reminded that God's timing is different than mine. Instead of focusing on completing a project, I am learning to focus on the process and enjoy the ride. (My husband has helped me in this area, but not without loud protests on my part at times! Generally I am the planner, and he is the spontaneous one.)


I do have another unfinished project hiding in my desk - a novel that is about two-thirds completed. In the middle of working on the novel with an editor guiding me, God told me to put it away. Some day I'm trusting that the season will be right to finish the novel, but for now I know that I can trust God with it.

What about you? Do you have unfinished projects? Do unfinished projects bother you? What do you do to stay on track and finish?

http://ruthlsnyder.com/rls-creativity-coaching/#.WMcCPI7avm0


Ruth L. Snyder serves God as a wife, mother, music teacher, writer, coach, and publisher. Her published works include articles, devotionals, short stories, and novellas. Connect with Ruth at http://ruthlsnyder.com

March 13, 2017

Unfinished Projects - Sheila Webster


Ephesians 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

About 2006 or 2007 I started to write a manuscript about my simple view of spirituality in a book format.  However, one of those life tsunamis took place and much of my writing and life became jetsam on scattered shores of memory.  Never the same again and I didn’t know what happened to that manuscript along with much of my other writing.

In 2011, while visiting my former childhood pastor, several provinces away, he asked me if I had ever published the manuscript.  I was stunned as I had forgotten about it and became ashamed in a way that it was another broken thread of life.

He laughed at me, which seemed like an entirely inappropriate response for what I was feeling.  Upon going to his office he returned with my unfinished manuscript in hand!
“You emailed it to me for my comments on whether it was doctrinally accurate and not condemning of people or situations! “  He seemed to think this should have been obvious to me.

I didn’t know what to do, except that if God had preserved this piece while hundreds had been lost, I must finish it.

Finishing the last few pages was monumental because I was now a different person, No longer the same name or family structure.  God gave me the grace, the faltering words and the funds to complete it.  A Simple Spirituality was published within the next eighteen months.  Many people have told me how my simple faith and perseverance through difficult situations described in the book have encouraged them to return to faith or increased their faith and forgiveness in situations.

Another unfinished project resurrected itself this year.  I was having what I thought was a simple conversation with a friend about something.  It reminded me of something I had written almost two decades ago that also had been lost during that difficult time.
My friend was so intrigued by the story she asked a literary periodical if they would be interested in it!  She then nonchalantly told me they wanted it and to hurry and rewrite it for them.  I had never considered it, as it was a difficult piece.

Rewrite it I did, even though it came out from a different character’s perspective and with different details but a similar ending which was the most salient part.

I have heard several sermons lately about our calling being without repentance – as Christians those good works prepared beforehand by God, in Christ, through the help of the Holy Spirit.

What pieces do you need to dust off, resurrect, pray over or write?  For all of us the process can be challenging but comes down to a number of simple spiritual and practical disciplines.

1.     Pray
2.     Put your hand to the work.
3.     Persevere
4.     Edit
5.     Publish

In the end, whether on earth or later we will hear the words – “well done good and faithful servant.”