March 08, 2017

Finish Well — with a little help by Dayna Mazzuca

three things to help Finish the Work

by Dayna E. Mazzuca 



In the Gospel of John, chapter 17, JESUS SAYS: “I have glorified you by finishing the work you gave me to do.” Today the red letters come alive for me. Between the lines I read: finish the work, the task of writing. Specifically, to follow up the pile of ideas tucked in my “Idea File.” The file is currently bulging with pink and yellow sticky notes. The coil notebook laying open beside it is filling up fast with more ideas-waiting-to-happen. There’s also a pretty blue “ideas book” in my purse with enough ideas to last the year and various notes jotted down on parking receipts and to-do lists covering my desktop. Ideas abound, praise the Lord. But where is the Time to Finish the Work?

These ideas are Important. They are essays-waiting-to-written. Poems-waiting-to-be-composed.
They are books-in-the-making!


If I could find the time, I could/would finish the work God has put in my hands to finish. I could take the unlit candle off the shelf, light it and lead others along the path I’ve been blessed to find. I could take the flashlight and install four new “D” batteries, push the switch forward and shine the light into the pile of “undone stuff” now burying the best of my friends, helping them to tunnel through to the light of day. I could mount the stairs of the lighthouse and guide the wayward home. I could do it all. IF I could find time.

Where is this time and why is it important to finish the work? To put the finishing touches on my third collection of poems to accompany the spoken poetry blog I recently launched? To compile the notes for various workshops into a book-length project? To prioritize the essays I want to write to those living (and dying) on overwhelm?


I have space, ability, technical support, connections and a track record of publishing. But this month—so full of potential and fresh energy—seems to be off to a slow start. This year seems off to a slow start. What is going on?


      1. DEADLINES

As a former journalist, I never missed a deadline. But as a freelancer working from home, I have no deadlines. So, I meander, pause and wander off to clean the floor, make soup, buy new sharpies. My writing comes last because there is no urgency. There is no deadline: I do not keep the end in sight because there is no end! Open-ended projects are destined to pad out the Idea File, adding their slight heft to my sense of being... YET UNDONE. Sigh. 

While I do not miss the tantrums of tortured editors banging down my door, I do miss the built-in success of always-motivating red flag deadlines. I used to write 32 stories a week, error free. Today, an idea can languish on my desk for years… I need deadlines.

            2. A PARTNER in planning and execution

A writing buddy. Someone to talk shop: “What are you working on this year?” “What deadlines have you set for yourself?” “How are you planning on prioritizing your projects?” “When can I check in with you again to make sure we’re on track?” “Let’s meet for coffee and go over this in person once a month.” Having a boss was the bane of my professional writing stint, but having a hard-core friend to my writing who takes freelancing as seriously as I do on a good day would be great! 

btw - I've noticed an offer or two on this wonderful Blog to join forces... THANKS. 
I look forward to forging mutually strengthening links!

            3. THE BIG PICTURE

I can envision the finished poetry book (and even spoken album). I can see the workshops materializing into a book. I can see the essays being a blessing to many. But I have trouble seeing myself as a communication-hub, my writing as a business, my content as dovetailing with a coherent, helpful message.

I need help putting the potential of my writing in perspective. I don’t mind sharing ideas through spoken, printed or published means, but to see myself in the category of an Ann Voskamp, Mark Buchanan or Malcolm Guite is a bit of a stretch. These in-their-niche godly, professional communicators have built a brand around their work, and their lives! Do I want my work and my life to become a brand? Do I want to be a brand?? I’m not convinced.

But. I do want to share well and widely. To create venues for content and extend invitations to others to enter more deeply into a consideration of their faith and the work they’re called to. I do want to do that. To finish that work.

If I could find the time.

IN THE  MEANTIME - Please join me for the INSCRIBE WORDSHOP on March 18 I'm facilitating in Edmonton this year— at WRITE ON TARGET, you'll find out how to Reach Your Reader by 1) identifying your Type (there are 5Types of Readers) 2) tailoring your writing to their reading needs and preferences and 3) aligning your work to the markets your reader visits. A hands-on day to take your writing to the next level. 
REGISTER online.



  1. Deadlines are a huge help, if you can set them and believe in them :) And do I read an acceptance of the offer to join forces in accountability? Please message me on Facebook!

    1. Hello Susan - I'm not on FB except through a closed group - can you email me at - or send me a link to your site? Thanks!

  2. I'm not an ex journalist but I am an ex-reporter. I think the difference may be in the education level. However, I relate so much to the need for a deadline. I loved the deadline atmosphere of the newspaper office and now that I don't have it and am a home (with no job prospects in site) you'd think I'd write; but instead I languish and feel lost in my writing a lot. I definitely need that partner that you mention. And the big picture? Well, it often just seems so big. And when I focus on it, I forget to focus on that 'one' story that I could write right now. This months topic is super challenging to me. I have many decisions to make but need to make those that I will actually Do.

    1. Hello Gloria - yes, the ex-newsroom atmosphere... the good and the bad... but those deadlines were one of the goods! - I'm taken to keeping one "writer's" to-do list by my computer and only writing tasks/goals are on that one piece of paper that keeps me focused... but deadlines remain elusive. Hmmm. Do you have a partner to help keep you on track?? If not, would you like to put the word out?

  3. Accountability! that's my WORD for 2017 and I see it here in deadlines and a writing partner. I've started making self imposed deadlines for myself which I find helpful. Otherwise my good intentions languish in a sea of procrastination. Great post Dayna!

  4. Thanks Tracy! hmmm - self-imposed deadlines - do I need to post those somewhere in front of me?? Ok. I'll DO it. - Here's to meeting them with smiles on our faces. amen.

  5. I agree with you about deadlines, Dayna. With deadlines, we do the work because we hate the sound of the Deadline Train whizzing past our stop before our suitcase is packed. With freelance, the trains can come and go and we barely look up with the whistle blows in the distance.

    You've given us lots to think about and/or act upon in this blog. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for sharing your post, Dayna. Deadlines are great motivators. You've put a bee in my bonnet as the saying goes, to think of more deadlines--reading a piece at our writers' group, entering more contests, and taking courses.

  7. Thanks Sandra & Sharon - here's to bees in our bonnets, a friendly kick in the pants and catching those deadline trains, etc., etc. - no wonder writers' gatherings are so lively!


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