Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo Prayer Guide

November 1st is fast approaching and writers from all across the world are preparing to head into their writing caves for NaNoWriMo. The goal: crank out 50,000 words in 30 days.

We're fleshing out our characters, finalizing our plots, and cooking meals ahead of time to store in the freezer so our families don't go hungry (okay, that last one's a lie, but it's a good idea). But the most important thing we can do to prepare for a whole month of head-down writing is to pray.

I have a group of five friends who are my prayer warriors. They didn't really sign up for the job, but they got appointed whether they like it or not, and they'll be getting way too many messages from me over the next month. I can't possibly do NaNo without their prayers.

Here are the things I'm asking them to pray for:

  • God to release the story He wants me to tell and breathe life into it
  • Clarity in my plot - that I'll know how every aspect of the story fits together and where things should go
  • My characters to come to life on the page
  • Grace to fit this into my already busy life without my family feeling any negative effects
  • A supernatural ability to write powerful and effective words
  • At least 50,000 words (good words!) in the next 30 days
  • An extra super-duper overflowing dose of creativity
  • The voices of doubt and discouragement to be silenced
  • My internal editor/perfectionist to shut off completely
  • Rest in the midst of it all
  • Anything else the Lord tells them 

How about you? How do you prepare for an intense time of work (writing or otherwise)? What prayers would you add to the list? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rest for the Weary. How Can I Get Some Of That?

photo credit: Creative Commons 
Apparently, God is trying to tell me something. He keeps pummeling me with articles, conversations, and scriptures with the same theme: restGod and I have had this conversation plenty of times, but there's something different about it this time around.

I opened my Jesus Calling devotional book the other morning, and the first sentence read, "You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent." And I said, out loud, to page 296, "You. are. not. kidding."

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just get tired of climbing.

It's vital to have a healthy balance of work and rest, and I've learned how to set boundaries in my schedule. Technically, I'm doing all the right things to keep from working myself to death, but guess what...

I'm still tired. 

Or maybe weary is the better word.

I'm learning that I can set all the boundaries I want, say "No" more than I say "Yes", and create the perfect rhythm for my life, but still not feel rested. At all. Why is that?

Because life is hard (profound revelations are free today).  All the stuff I can't control presses in on me and wears me down. I worry, I stress, I freak out. I just can't help myself. And when I ask God what to do about that, He keeps saying the same thing.

Come to Me.

Trust Me.

Rest in Me.

Oh, is that all, God? HOW can I do that? It's so much easier said than done.

But I've found a few things to help me get there:

1. Release and Receive - Find a few minutes of quiet and literally assume a position of releasing anxiety and receiving blessing. In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster calls this exercise "palms down, palms up." Hold your palms down and tell God exactly what you're releasing ("Lord, I give you all my anxiety about our finances. I give you my frustrations about my job.") After you've released everything that's weighing on you, turn your palms up and ask God to fill you with His peace or wisdom or whatever it is that you need from Him. It's such a simple act, but it really helps me let go of all the worries and fears that have my shoulders in knots.

2. Remember - Remind yourself of all the things God has done for you. If you don't know where to start, the beginning is always a good place. If you're breathing, it's because God gave you life and breath in the first place. Think back over your life and list the ten biggest things God has done for you. Write them down. Talk about them at dinner. If He's already done all that for you, just imagine what He'll do next!

3. Remain in the Truth - Find a verse that speaks to you and keep it in front of you at all times. Memorize it and say it out loud whenever the stress of life threatens to suffocate you. The Psalms have been my anchoring place lately.

"A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all."  Psalm 34:19

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."  Psalm 34:4

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."   Psalm 62:5

I definitely don't have it all figured out, but the more I practice these things, the easier it is to truly find rest in God.

How about you? Is this a season of energy or exhaustion for you? How do you find true rest when you need it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Great Big Accomplishment and a Fun, Fall Giveaway

**UPDATE 10/16/12: The winner of the super cute Book Pumpkin is Cindy Wilson!**

Well, I've made a huge accomplishment. Never mind all the things on my to-do list that are screaming for attention. My crafty little self did something amazing.

I actually made something off of Pinterest!

I knew all that pinning would pay off someday, so I'm having a giveaway to celebrate.

Now, before I show you the goods, I need to issue a warning.

There are two kinds of book lovers in the world:

1. The kind who treasure books so much that they'd never, ever, ever desecrate one for any reason. Especially not for something as superficial and petty as a craft project. It wouldn't matter if it's the worst book in the history of the world, this kind of book lover would rather rip your arms off than dog-ear a page or bend the spine of a book (I'm looking at my sister, Debbie). If you're one of these people, click away quickly! If you scroll down, you may very well need to be hospitalized.

2. The kind who love books so much that they want to fill their whole world with stacks of books, and pictures of books, and any kind of art that showcases the beauty of books. For these people, a piece of art could be the worst in the history of the world, but if you add a book to it, it suddenly becomes magnificent. Because books make everything infinitely more wonderful. If you're this kind of book lover, you're going to like my little project.

Ta Da! It's a Book Pumpkin!

A pumpkin. Made out of a book! Could there possibly be a better decoration for fall? I say no. You can be sure I'll be making more of these.

Take a few deep, cleansing breaths if you need to, or leave a comment below for a chance to win the super cute Book Pumpkin. 

So, I need to know...

Are you on Pinterest? Have you actually made any of the stuff you've pinned? Which kind of book lover are you? 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm Tired and I Blame Becky Wade

I came home from ACFW with a big stack of books to read and added it to the already huge pile in my bedroom (sidenote: this drives my non-book-loving husband crazy). My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade was on the top of the stack, so I grabbed it and jumped in.

I've started several books in the last few months that just didn't hold my attention. I don't know if I've become more critical the more I've learned about the craft of writing, or if I just haven't picked good books. But I've trudged through the first 2-3 chapters of several stories hoping to be hooked, but instead I got bored and gave up. I hate that because I know how hard it is to write a book. I really appreciate all the effort that any author puts into a story, and I want to love every single one. But I don't.

I was almost nervous to start another book for fear it wouldn't hold my attention, either. But My Stubborn Heart did not disappoint. Becky Wade created the best kind of characters--the kind that make me wonder what they're doing when I'm not reading (Is that weird?), the kind that make me stay up late turning pages.

Just one more chapter.

No, for real this time. One more chapter.

I just had to get to the happily-ever-after between this tortured hero and spunky heroine. The loss of sleep was worth it.

Don't you love it when you find a book that captivates you? What's the last book that kept you up late?