Monday, December 19, 2011

Routine

Packing, packing, packing. I'm in the busy process of packing up 7 years of work and family to move to a new home and job in Redcliffe Qld. It's been sad to leave north Qld, a place that has embraced us and been very fruitful in our lives and ministry. All ten of my publications have taken place while up here! We do look forward to the new phase of our life and what God has in store for us.

Perhaps the hardest bit for me these past 4 months is being out of routine. I don't want to sound like an anal kinda person, but being out of routine has been unsettling. I find the simple routine of having a purpose and direction and working towards that each day and week grounds me. With a move on the horizon the vision has an ending and a new beginning, a new beginning you can't properly start till after the move.

Everything is 'up in the air'. Things ending, things beginning. I couldn't sit in my groove [not rut] and work and write as efficiently and carelessly as before. So one of the things I am looking forward to is being settled, and getting back into routine.

What has this to do with writing? My writing needs routine! I've been writing less, feeling less motivated to write and having less ideas. I'm actually also anticipating the opportunity to get into a new routine where writing is a more prominent feature of my week.

I'm in the privileged position of being in a 'writing' occupation as a minister - meaning I have to write something inspiring each week - it's expected so I'm given the time for this. This is a fantastic thing [apart from the fact that I'm passionate about the good news] it means I am constantly developing my writing, thinking and ideas.

But while sermon writing is part of my routine, other writing has been squeezed in. Now, with the blessing of my new congregation, my other writing will be given time in my routine. Wow, what a blessing!

At the early stages of my writing I would wait for the inspiration to flow and then sit down and write. But with writing a big part of my occupation I can't sit and wait for the 'inspiration' which sometimes is really just 'feeling like it'. I don't have the luxury of 'feeling like it' - I've got an every week deadline, publishers, magazines, kids and radio looking for stuff. Now I find that it's the other way. I need to sit at my desk, work at my prayer, research, thinking, dreaming, and often simply start writing, get some thoughts and words down, and then the inspiration flows. [I still do get up at 5am or midnight to write from inspiration from time to time, or file these ideas in my head for a later time when I'm awake!]

I would encourage you to develop a routine where you write regularly, not just on times of inspiration. Agatha Christie reflected that her first few novels were a delight, a hobby, a joy - after that it was work. [I'm sure work she enjoyed and delighted in, but work.]

As an aside it's like falling in love. At first all the emotions flood you so that you love your husband or wife by opening doors, saying nice things, spending time with them. After a time the emotions reduce, so you can fail to do all these things for your spouse. But if you work on it, if you choose to do the love actions even if you don't feel like it, suddenly all the love emotions come flooding back.

Pack, pack, clean. We are now entering the cleaning phase - M-day is less than 2 weeks away! While the move has put me out of routine, it has given me a forced holiday from many things, so I anticipate arriving in Redcliffe, fresh, feeling good and with lots of energy to get back in routine and go!

Cheers everyone and have a great Christmas!

16 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a big move, Paul. God bless you in all the changes and may your writing flourish in Redcliffe!

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  2. All the best with your move, Paul, and getting back into routine, and building a new community with your new congregation. Blessings. :)

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  3. What a blessing to be given extra time for your books. I can very much identify with your post as I'm another person that works best and most consistently when in her groove:) God bless your work in the new church!

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  4. So we might see you round the ridges a bit more after your move - cool!

    I've never really had a "writing routine". I just do it when I have to eg deadline looming, or have time to do it - the hardest part is applying bottom to chair. Once it's there and I've started, I'm fine, usually get in the flow before I know it!

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  5. PS don't forget to send your new address so you and the missus will still receive Footprints!

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  6. Hey Paul,
    All the best with the moving and packing, at one time in our lives we moved 4 times in about 2 years, we were quite expert by then and had divested ourselves of all the unnecessary stuff ready to start afresh.

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  7. Hi Paul,
    I think you've touched on an interesting point here. Sometimes, I feel, the sort of drudgy, donkey-work writing you refer to does stimulate the 'inspired' type. Sounds like you'll have a productive 2012 when all the moving is over.

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  8. Hi Paul, I relate to what you are saying so well. I have persevered with living in a caravan, travelling this wonderful country of ours promoting African Hearts and writing two others this year. It has taken me much more discipline to sit and work at my computer than usual. Too many distractions. At last the end is in sight. The end of January will see me settled into our new home and then it's full focus on my writing. All the best for your move south.

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  9. It's good to hear about this other aspect of writing (ie, treating it as work when required, rather than just inspiration). It reminds me of Thomas Edison's 'Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration'.

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  10. I cannot even contemplate the activity required for moving. We always say we'd have trouble because we have far too much stuff these days. I'm not surprised that you are looking forward to the security of routine, Paul. All the best with the move and new beginnings.

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  11. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your post. I can identify with it. My husband and I moved 11 times in the first 14 years of our marriage in 4 different countries. I have to say that I am very happy now to have stayed put in the one home the past 11 years and do NOT WANT TO MOVE EVERY AGAIN! :)

    All the best in your move. May God continue to bless you and use you in the next place and next season of life. Thank you for the reminder of developing a discipline of writing. Discipline is something I struggle with. So a great reminder as I make plans for a brand new year.
    Blessings,
    Anusha

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  12. Thanks Paul. I got to meet you at the writer's conference in November and I was very impressed with all the things you fit into your life. My routine is non-existent at the moment and I'm not even moving house. But you've encouraged me to get my act together and get moving with at least a commitment to the things that I should be doing.

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  13. Hope the move happens smoothly, Paul, and you find yourself settled and ready to find a fresh new routine soon. until , enjoy the break and keep a notebook handy for any stray ideas!

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  14. ROUTINE??? Whats that? I guess I've got some sort of organisation to fit in whatever happens each day. It would be nice to know exactly what to expect. However, life is never dull. As evangelists we always seem to on the move to or from somewhere, but at least we have a home base from which to work.
    Wishing you the Lord's richest blessings in this big move, Paul.

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  15. Paul, great post! I like having a writing routine and setting aside time specifically for writing. All the best for your move.

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  16. Thanks everyone. I cannot imagine some of your situations - caravans, different countries!!

    I post again when I surface from all the boxes!

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