Our lives are often busy with many responsibilities that can interrupt our writing life. “Maybe life IS the interruptions,” wrote Janice Dick in her blog. “Maybe my writing is the commentary I fit in as often as I can. I call it my vocation, my career, my job. But it will always be a balancing act with what happens off the page.” (Read her blog here.)
Our writers this month explore what balancing life on and off the page means to them. How do they balance the two? What insights will they share with you, our readers?
"To everything there is a season. "
This spring I had a lot of yard work to do. My fence needed painting, my flower beds needed redesigning and my shrubs needed trimming. I had to catch up from a couple years of benign neglect. My writing, it's true, got behind. But while painting, planting and trimming, I thought a lot about this month’s topic and how writing is a commentary on life.
Each season brings a different phase of life. Like the different seasons, different activities come and go. It’s true that in summer I’m usually busier with family—and yes, with yard work. The outdoors calls me to go bird watching, and right now, to go pick saskatoons with a friend. And therefore summer is a time when I don't have time for too much writing. However, in winter I’m more indoors. When the wind howls, the snow falls and the temperature plunges, I feel like I’m in a cocoon, curling up with my writing for most of each morning. During this time I normally accomplish the bulk of my year’s writing.
Life is holistic. Writing and the other areas of my life are not mutually exclusive. Writing is one part of life, along with relationships, responsibilities, relaxation and more. And all parts are integral, adding richness to life. I also find that experiences and responsibilities and people add a deeper understanding of God and how He works, and this understanding adds depth to my writing.
Writing is fed from ongoing life. I’ve found that the richer my ongoing life, the richer my writing will be, as it draws from deep resources the way a tree draws refreshment from deep within its roots. I well remember an interview I heard with Wayson Choy, a Chinese Canadian writer, who said that he gets to live his experiences twice: once in real time, and a second time as he relives those experiences in writing.
Each season brings its own adventure, and I focus on the positive as much as possible, rather than the limitations. To illustrate this concept, I think of my friends who live on Vancouver Island: each trip off the island means scheduling a ferry ride—that part of life is bound up by the ferry schedule that can sometimes be a burden. Whereas as a tourist I find that the ferry trip is part of the adventure of travelling to the island.
Each season is a time to appreciate God’s goodness. I look at Ecclesiastes 3 where the writer says that there is a time for everything. And then in a beautiful poetic style, he contrasts the different seasons of life. He concludes with, “(God) has made everything beautiful in it time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
God has made beautiful what happens both on and off the page.