April 03, 2015

Fresh as the New Driven Snow by Steph Beth Nickel




Oh, no . . . wait! That was yesterday. Thankfully, the temperature was high enough to get rid of the snow that fell, an early April Fool’s joke. The trees did look beautiful with the clean white stuff clinging to their branches, but like most people, I am glad to see the signs of spring.

Autumn has been my favourite season as long as I can remember. I love the sights, the sounds, and the smells. It wasn’t until my hubby started keeping me posted on the development of the buds on the trees that I even really noticed spring. And now the crocuses, the tulips, the robins, and yes, the buds touch my heart with their promise of new life.

And with spring comes Camp NaNoWriMo. Many of you may be familiar with the original version of NaNoWriMo that runs in the fall. Thousands of writers sign up with the aim of writing the first draft of a novel, at least the first 50,000 words, in a single month.

While I have never signed up in the fall, I have “attended” camp a couple of times and am doing so again this month. The nice thing is that we can set our own word count goal and our own projects plural. (In fact, this post is counting toward my goal. Hooray!) My personal goal is to write at least 30,000 words this month. That shouldn’t be a problem with my eclectic interests and endeavours.
And that’s how I keep my writing fresh: I write several short pieces on a wide variety of topics.

Let me take a moment to say kudos to all of you who invest the time and energy to draft, write, and rewrite (numerous times) full-length books. I am somewhat in awe of you. While I did coauthor Deb Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, it was more about getting to know her and her family and relaying stories from her life that she wanted to share with readers. I’m all about relationships, so this didn’t seem quite the same as holing up for months on end to write—and rewrite—a single book.

I have what I call the Butterfly Syndrome. I love to flit from one thing to the next to the next. This is why I overcommit at times. So many different things catch my attention. Some of you may be able to relate to sayings like “Oo . . . pretty” and “Squirrel!”

Unless ideas are bouncing around in my head like a pinball, I feel lethargic. I have to focus my endeavours—or nothing gets finished—but I can’t rein in my thoughts completely or it’s like someone has turned off the tap and left my lazy, listless self sitting in my chair—or on the couch in front of the TV—for hours on end.

So when I was asked to guest post on my fellow writers’ blogs and when Ron Hughes of HopeStreamRadio approached me about being a contributor, I was over the moon. Coming up with new content regularly means my ideas and my writing must stay fresh.

When writing devotionals for HSR, I dig into God’s Word. I’ve found, once again, how amazing it is to find new insights in passages I’ve read dozens—maybe hundreds—of times before. It truly is the Living Word.

And when I’m writing blog posts, I often follow the advice of a visiting missionary who spoke at our church years ago. When asked to speak, he considered what the Lord had been teaching him at the time. He most often used that as the springboard for his message. When I approach a new post, I look to what has been going on in my life. I often find the inspiration I need to get started from my day-to-day life and go from there.

Keep a lookout. Fresh ideas and inspiration are all around, just like the signs of spring.

16 comments:

  1. Great post, Steph. All the best for your 30,000 words this month. That is quite a goal! I don't put a word count on months, but I do hope for at least 500 words a day, so I guess in a typical month that would equal about 15,000 words. In that light, it sounds pretty good!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. And I would love to write 15,000 words each month. Sounds good to me. :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing a different perspective on the writing journey. We're all so different in our personality-driven approaches. We need to remember we can come at writing according to who we are, rather than according to a formula.

    When you say you're in awe of those who write whole books, I'm in awe that you can come up with daily segments for HopeStreamRadio.com. I listen often, and your pieces are great. But daily? Talk about commitment! Good on you, Steph!

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    1. Ah, thanks, Bobbi! I just started writing and recording devotionals for a new series: Family Life Lessons. And I thought there was lots to learn from the gospel of John. I'm taking a look at family life from Genesis to Revelation. There will be no shortage of inspiration for a very, very long time. :)

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  3. I so understand the Butterfly Syndrome! Having something new in my life all the time inspires me or I get lethargic too! I do need to learn the discipline of finishing though! Thank you for sharing your writing ways!

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    1. Lynn, I would love to sit down and chat with you . . . about all kinds of things. That would be fun.

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  4. I found lots of similarities - autumn is my favourite season, I often overcommit, and I really liked your missionaries advice. Thanks for the encouraging blog post.

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    1. And thank you, Tracy. It's fun to learn what we have in common with our fellow writers.

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  5. This is great advice on how to approach a writing project... "When I approach a new post, I look to what has been going on in my life. I often find the inspiration I need to get started from my day-to-day life and go from there." Thanks for sharing Steph!

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  6. Oh my. I so relate! Great post, Steph.

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  7. Oh my. I so relate! Great post, Steph.

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  8. Here's another one with the butterfly syndrome, the ability to focus and push through can be a challenge. I too find many metaphors in daily life. Thanks for your words :)

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  9. Good for you for doing NaNoWriMo, Steph! Keep on writing until you get there, and I hope we get to see some of those 30,000 words.

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  10. Great post--and encouraging. Thanks Steph.

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  11. Can you tell us more about your Camp NaNoWriMo. I presume, with your "attend" in quotes that you do this on your own, with others? Sounds interesting.

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  12. Goot thoughts, Steph. I can relate to "squirrel", but I also know it works for us writers, too, doesn't it?! And I agree about using what the LOrd has been teaching in our lives as a spring board to writing blog posts. It's always fresh and relevant that way.
    Pam

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