Monday, January 4, 2010

Butt in Seat

If there is one thing many writers want to hear less, but so do need to hear more, is that writing is work. Bona fide, sit-down-and-do-it work.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since school, and have been pursuing writing as something more than assignments and journal entries since the early 1990s and find this is still a piece of advice I struggle to consistently put into practice. I want to be inspired, have an idea that just won’t go away, and then be able to sit down and have it flow out of me with ease and grace. I don’t want it to be work! I have enough work to do already, thank you very much! Why should I set a schedule or word count goal or whatever unless I really feel like it? (Outside of November for the National Novel Writing Month challenge, that is?)

But wait . . . when I feel like? Oi, how many things do I have to do whether I feel like it or not? And really, do I want to go strictly by what I feel? Do any of us? We know how fickle our emotions can be, turning on a dime some days and blowing things out of proportion on others because we haven’t had enough sleep or jumping on the bandwagon as we get caught up in the moment.

Now I’m not saying feelings or emotions are bad things. God included them in our design. But we cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by them. If we did, little of import would actually ever get done. Even Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, did not feel like going all the way to the cross as evidenced by His asking God to “ . . . if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. . .” (Matt. 26:39b, NKJ). But He knew He needed to, was supposed to follow this through and so was able to pray “. . . nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matt. 26:39c)

We may not be facing tasks as big or as daunting or as just plain scary, really, as the one Jesus had before Him. But we can still learn from His example: Even when our feelings are wanting us to take the easy route, to forego what in the grand scheme of things is short-term pain for long-term gain (2 Cor. 4:17), we can still choose to put those feelings aside and do what is right. And what awaits us on the other side of the task -- the reward, the benefits -- may very well take our breath away. God is faithful, after all.

So put your butt in the seat before you, and get to work. It will be worth it all in the end to hear God say on that final day “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matt. 25:21, NKJ)

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