“There is a crack in everything. That’s how light gets in.”
When I initially planned this blog theme last fall, I was thinking of how, along with our other responsibilities, we can discover cracks of time in which to hone our craft.
However, Covid-19 has shed a different light on our lifestyle and writing. With this in mind, I’ve given strategies from authors (including our own InScribe writers)-- strategies to inspire us and illumine God’s intentions for us during this time.
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Cracks of time for writing may have narrowed as parents simultaneously homeschool children, keep toddlers busy, work from home, and live with more congestion in the house.
Jane Austin wrote at a table in the midst of a busy household and hid her manuscript papers when visitors arrived. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin with children on her knee.
Sometimes creativity involves adaptation. When important ideas come, “grab the moment”, and write in the thick of your congestion.
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For other writers who are living alone, a restriction in normal activities may provide extended time and opportunities to write. Think of John Bunyan who wrote his famous Pilgrim’s Progress in prison. It was a gift to the world which at one time sold more copies than any other book except the Bible.
In challenges we can discover opportunities. As Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
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Whatever our situation, small cracks of time may appear. A nineteenth-century doctor in Britain began writing short stories while waiting for patients. He later won success with his first novel, A Study in Scarlet in 1887. The author was Arthur Conan Doyle of the now-famous Sherlock Holmes novels.
Closer to home, Carol Shields wrote while her children were at school. She reflected: "The first novel I wrote entirely between 11:00 and 12:00 every day just before the kids came home for lunch…I set myself a little task which was to write two pages a day. Now it takes me all day to write two pages. Then I could squeeze it into one hour."
Success depends on quality, not quantity, of time to write. Your writing in small cracks of time may lead to your dream novel, memoir, or a collection on a theme.
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Covid-19 has brought loss of privacy and routine. Greater losses include a loved one, a job, or even health. During this time, some can only journal, or maybe not even write at all. In my writing group, several members are journalling “pandemic diaries”, adding photos and drawings. They plan to resume regular writing later.
Your journals contain valuable treasures. Processing your experiences and emotions will bring catharsis, clarity, and healing. You'll also have great notes for later articles.
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In a crisis, many people volunteer to help. Neighbours ask how others are doing—and volunteer to get groceries or run errands. The Calgary Fire Department is conducting a “Birthday Brigade,” driving a fire truck to a person’s home to celebrate a birthday.
One of my projects has been to write letters and cards to great-nephews and nieces who are now being homeschooled. In their letters, they tell me what life and homeschooling are like. This exchange also gives them practice in letter writing skills and written communication.
Others are writing more on social media. In her blog, It’s a Beautiful Life, Brenda Leyland has been sharing excerpts from her book collection as “a contribution to create community in isolation.”
Cracks let in beautiful light. Your life and spirits are lifted as you use your gifts to support and sustain others.
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Our spiritual welfare may suffer when life throws us out of balance. “The enemy has tried to rob us of time with God,” wrote Tracy Krauss in an earlier blog.
Tracy shared her advice: “Take back your right to time with God and you will be surprised at how 'balanced' the rest of your life will become…Honour God with the BEST of your time and He will honour you by multiplying what's left.”
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We may also be renewed spiritually. As we spend time with God, He will give us directions for writing. Ruth Snyder dreamed of all she could accomplish if she could write full-time. But then she reflected, “What a luxury it would be to have no limitation on time spent reading my Bible, praying, worshiping, and just being quiet in God's presence. I think my writing would be more focused.”
Make writing and other life priorities an ongoing conversation between you and God, and let God guide you daily and weekly.
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In our time when our focus shifts, can we surrender our writing to God? Sharon Heagy blogged, “Shall I surrender each project and each turn of phrase? What about the balls of wadded paper sitting in the trash basket and the bricks from the wall of writer’s block? Shall I surrender them too, hoping to glorify His name but also to allow Him to mould me into a vessel for His purposes?
As Sharon suggested: Surrender this moment in time, ourselves and our writing to God, and let His purposes “pour over (us) like a healing, restorative balm.”
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|Image by induced.info|
As we surrender our lives and writing to God, we can trust His promise to, guide us, satisfy our needs and strengthen us (Isaiah 58:11). For this and for everything, let us praise Him.
And as Brenda Leyland once wrote, “may spaces for writing open in those unexpected moments so that your writerly heart may flourish.”
What is your normal (non-Covid) system for writing in the cracks?
How is God challenging you to lean into writing opportunities during this pandemic?
What encouragement can you give our/your readers, both for this time and for the longer span of their writing lives?