August 24, 2015

When the Words Don't Line Up - by Tandy Balson

Most of the writing I do is short meditations/devotions or creative nonfiction.  Everyday life gives me inspiration for my topics.  Even so, the words are not always there when I want them.  Sometimes the seed of an idea needs time to mature and blossom into something I can write about.  There doesn’t seem to be an effective way to rush this process.

I’ve only been writing seriously for a little over three years.  When I started, my husband encouraged me to take pictures of anything that interested me.  He said that I may not know what to do with them right away but they may be useful prompts down the road.  How right he was!

More than once I have scrolled through the file of pictures on my computer and gained inspiration for one of my stories.  I like to add a picture to my blog posts and find my cache of pictures often fills this need as well.

That being said, things don’t always line up the way I’d like.  An initial idea may be there along with a few good thoughts to go with it.  The challenge is often the ability to word things in a way that points the reader to a closer relationship with the Lord of the universe.

At times like this, I’ve learned to save my work as a draft and put it aside.  When the timing is right, the Lord will give me the words he wants me to use.  I must always remember that it is not my words I want to share, but his.  They should be as a prayer that glorifies him.

Recently I discovered a prayer written early in the last century that sums up my feelings.   Unfortunately the author is unknown.

“Lord of the universe, how I wish I had the words to fashion beautiful prayers to praise Thee!  But alas, I cannot find these words.  So listen to me O God, as I recite the letters of the alphabet.  You know what I think and how I feel.  Take these letters of the alphabet and YOU form the words that express the yearning, the love for Thee in my heart!”  


  1. That prayer speaks for me, too, Tandy. Thank you for sharing it. You husband's suggestion to take photos is brilliant. I thank God for the spouses who not only support but encourage their partner in this desire the Lord has placed on our hearts. May they be blessed as they give us room to write. And yes, may we all allow time for the seeds to grow before we try to prune and harvest them. You've explained this well!

  2. "I’ve learned to save my work as a draft and put it aside." Yes! this is such a good thing to do, whether you are writing short creative non-fiction or longer works. a bit of distance does wonders. Lovely post.

  3. I love that prayer! And I am learning to take a photo or write a quick word picture in draft so I don't lose the thoughts that can later be integrated into a useful piece. Lead the way, Tandy, I'm following (maybe not in a straight row, but in the same direction - God's direction.)

  4. Yes, yes, yes. So beautiful Tandy. I gain inspiration from photos I've taken too...and sometimes my ducks aren't in a row either. How boring life would be if all of us had all our ducks in a row.

  5. Thanks for all the positives in your blog, Tandy, starting with the fact that you have only three years of serious writing behind you. You are doing well. I love the way your hubby encouraged you to take lots of photos and how that is giving you ideas for writing or supporting the writing you want to do. Yes, some of those ideas like to be stirred in our minds and our hearts before the words and stories will settle down in paper. Be sure to get that seed of an idea written down so it doesn't fall by the wayside. Writing words that will point the reader toward a better relationship with the Lord of the Universe. That is such a worthy goal. Amen.

  6. Thanks Tandy, I connect with the taking of pictures-there are many metaphors of life in the every day world. I also take pictures and often have little notes to go alongside. It does not always come to fruition. One line that caught my eye is: "Sometimes the seed of an idea needs time to mature and blossom into something I can write about."
    Too often I want to rush thoughts and ideas. I appreciated the encouragement you offered. And I want to keep the alphabet prayer in mind ... A, B, C D E F G ....

  7. Timing... the timing of things makes such a difference. I sure loved your 'ducks in a row' word picture.

    What a lovely prayer and the idea of using the letters of the alphabet to praise Him.

    Thanks so much, Tandy.


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