January 08, 2016

Branching Out by Karma Pratt

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5

As I look to this new year, and listen to what God is calling me to do as a writer and as a Christ follower, I am reminded to pray, listen, then act (no deviating from that order!) Without guidance from God first, I will get bogged down in trivial tasks. I already know I am easily distracted by the "oooh, shiny" things of life. I need not let my writing become mired in distraction and lack of focus too.
Knowing my limitations, I look to God to help me understand what my next step will be as a writer. God is always planting seeds in my mind and heart that lead me to the next project. In this season, I feel he is calling me to step out on a limb, and begin using blogging as a tool to consistently share my words and thoughts.
Some of the seeds God planted in me years ago are just now taking root. Little green shoots are beginning to poke through the soil. I feel more like a winter bulb experiencing an early thaw. Bring on the new life of springtime! I'm ready!
Most recently, these seeds have taken the form of a blogging series called The Passionate. Persistent. Vibrant. Life. Project. It's a brand new adventure that has been working within me for a long time, and is now beginning to surface.
It takes a leap of faith to begin something that requires vulnerability and honesty in the public domain. Vulnerability, by the way, is another way of saying "courage". Courage takes shape when we finally step forward, moving through our fear (or, perhaps, in spite of it) toward victory.

I'm excited to see how this blogging project helps shape my writing, and my life. As a non-fiction writer, I feel it's critical to experience life fully if I am ever to be able to write about life convincingly.
Some Practical Advice: 
I know I will be stretched in the days, weeks and months to come. To that end, God has set me up with some amazing teachers and tools that will help me hone the skills I need to follow through on this exciting adventure.
Some practical things I've learned recently include:
  • 3 focused hours can do much more for you than 8 scattered ones. I have started planning my "focused" time in 20 minute blocks. I've seen an incredible upswing in productivity in the last week alone! I've also recognized where my personal inefficiencies lie, and will be able to fine-tune them out of my writing process. Three cheers for focus!
  • While we're on the topic... Focus on one draft at a time. I have a terrible tendency to want to write a first draft, while simultaneously editing it, and preparing to publish immediately. Breaking down my schedule into smaller, focused time segments has forced me to do only one aspect of writing at a time.
I hope these tips will help you become more focused in your writing efforts this year as well. They have definitely helped me! 

I look forward to learning and growing alongside all the InScribe members throughout 2016.
Be blessed,
Karma
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Karma Pratt is a faith-driven mom of twins, a communicator, a writer, and an encourager from way back. She loves words, art, creativity, God, and people, although not necessarily in that order. 
You can find Karma online at redraincoatcreations.com or connect on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn.
Check out the Passionate. Persistent. Vibrant. Life. Project and become a member of the PPVL Thrive Tribe! 

8 comments:

  1. Nice encouragement, Karma. 'No deviation' from the order you set out is wonderful advice - Pray, Listen, Act - good title for you book! ;)
    This was a great article for me who also has Magpie tendencies (oooh shiny things!) Time for me to clean out my nest.

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  2. Oh, I understand how it is to be distracted by the Shiny things of life. And there are many of them on Pinterest! I really like your tip on 3 focused hours with 20 minute breaks. It feels very doable and has the bonus of the rewards of breaks which may include, in my case, just a bit of chocolate.

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  3. One draft at a time? Concept!!! Yesterday at our Writers' Cafe writing group meeting some were bemoaning the quality of first drafts. It's so important to remember that quality takes honing and refining. Only God can get it right the first time around!

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  4. I like your definition of vulnerability as another way of saying courage. So true. Thanks for the tips too and sharing your heart and goals.

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  5. These are some really good tips. I was struck by the line '3 focused hours can do much more for you than 8 scattered ones.' I liked the idea of chunking that time into 20 minutes blocks, too. I usually feel that if i don;t have at least an hour, there is no point to starting something, but I, too, have been trying the idea of short chunks and it does make a difference. It's all about being 'present' for those 20 minutes, though. Great stuff!

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  6. Bravo, Karma!
    "It takes a leap of faith to begin something that requires vulnerability and honesty in the public domain." You're right. May God grant us all courage to take those leaps of faith this year!

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  7. Taking a leap of faith involves risk too. Way to write dangerously!

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  8. I too like your Pray, Listen, Act--in that order/without deviation. We can get in a muddle when we do these three things in any other order. I commend you for sharing your story of the Red Raincoat. God, thankfully, has ways of getting our attention. Earlier this year, I picked up the 25-minute writing sprint, where you are fully focused for a short period of time. Was that Sandi Somers who introduced this to our group? Blessings on you this New Year as you continue the fresh faith start you began in 2009.

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