Friday, October 4, 2013

And so it began...



I often tell people that my writing journey began with a dream. This is true, in that the idea for my first novel began by writing down a repetitive dream, but recently I realised that I’d overlooked a significant step in acquiring my writing obsession.

Before I’d started dreaming crazy things about ships, people smuggling and a shipmaster held to ransom, my husband and I took a road trip from our home in Queensland, to Sydney in New South Wales. Those who’ve done it know that it’s a long drive. Undertaking this trek in a small Hyundai that struggled to reach 70km/hr uphill made it even loooooonger!

Out of this we acquired a whole collection of random “driver pulling faces with significant milestone whizzing past” shots. Of course, being pre-digital, this provided many a laugh when the photos were developed.

And then there was “the story”...

I have NO idea why I brought an empty exercise book along. Usually I’d bring something to read, but not this time. So, for a significant number of those travel hours I wrote a story. (Quite a long one, too!) And I haven’t stopped writing them since.

The vivid remembrance of that trip took me by surprise. Then the significance of it occurred to me.

That journey forced me to sit still long enough to explore creative writing and detect the spark of interest it ignited. Sure, I’d enjoyed writing at school and had been encouraged to pursue it, but life got busy and that encouragement fell by the wayside. Then suddenly my enthusiasm for it was back – insatiably!

This revelation got me thinking about life and its rapid pace. We’re all in it, rushing here and there, striving to get done what we must – or at least what we perceive we must. Yet, I’ve noticed that my most significant “hearing God’s voice” moments have been in the stillness of time. It may be a late evening lull; showering; a two minute sit down between domestic chores; wandering amongst nature; or stuck in a car with your spouse for twenty-four hours round trip.

I wonder how many times God is just waiting for us to be still long enough to listen? I know He speaks in any circumstance, but there’s something powerful about giving Him our “pause moments” – even unexpected ones. For me, I was able to glimpse a whole new dream and rediscover a form of creative expression that I’d all but forgotten. Even now, I find the best writing inspiration often comes in the quiet suspensions of time.

How about you? Are you short on pauses? Personally, I think it’s endemic to our modern way of life. In a way, this makes it even more important to snatch these stops and catch our breath. These are opportunities to listen, be spiritually refreshed, and perhaps even discover a whole new dream just waiting to be explored.
 

Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. To find out more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com

20 comments:

  1. Hi Adele
    I can relate to your post a number of levels - so true about hearing God when we take time to draw away from the business of life and be still.

    But I also related to having more than one starting point to the writing journey. Like you I can say my writing started with a dream - literally as my first book/WIP started from a vivid dream which was then extended as I emerged from sleep to waking by daydreaming (much like C S Lewis' Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe started with the image of a faun & a lamp post). Yet for years before (from the age of 9), inspired by Narnia, Middle Earth and the multiple books I read, I had a complex imaginary world and had been writing down notes, maps, images, genealogies and languages long before that dream flowered into a novel. Then a new career, study, family and life challenges meant my writing dream lay dormant until once again it began to sprout at the beginning of last year. It's a joy to know that God takes and shapes our dreams for His purposes. :)

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    1. Every time I hear a little more about your books, Jenny, I think what a wonderful imagination and eye for detail you have! Love how it all started with a dream. I can very much relate to the continuance of the story lingering into daydreams - and the tricky balance of study, career shifts with a young family and trying to still find those pause moments. Sounds like your journey has been quite an adventure. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    2. Thanks Adele. It has indeed been an adventure. One positive about not having the first book published before writing the prequels/sequels has been being able to go back and make connections, bring in more detail or foreshadowing etc. to the earlier stories. In some ways I'm glad I didn't get published in the 1990s when I finished my first "final draft" on Adelphi as it's given time for story (and myself) to mature and improve.

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  2. Thanks, Adele. I think these 'pause' moments in our lives just to sit and think, let alone focus on God, are so important. It's really up to us to try to create them often--perhaps to walk away from where others are sitting talking or to turn of the TV. I plan to enjoy a time just like that when I finish writing this!

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    1. Thanks, Jo-Anne, I trust you got that pause you were anticipating. :) We definitely need to be strategic about pauses. Since a child, I had always set aside the late evening stillness for quiet times and refreshment. When I got married I discovered that sharing my life with another person meant that there were not always the same opportunities to pause at my habitual time. I had to make "stop and sit alone" moments to fit in with my new look world and its busyness, which I found challenging. Having children just adds a whole other dimension! Yes, creating pauses is so important.

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  3. Oh yes, those elusive 'pause' moments... I desperately need more of those. The Wisteria along our verandah is in full bloom - a perfect spot for a mid-morning 'God-pause'. Thanks for the reminder, Adele!

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    1. We used to have a wisteria shrouded spot at our old house, just outside our sun room. What a lovely place to take a pause - but as you say, Margaret, pauses can be rather elusive at times! I like Jo-Anne's reminder that we need to create those opportunities. Very true.

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  4. Yes, I am often short on 'pauses' Adele. And am the worse off for it. Thanks for the reminder. In fact I am looking forward to my travel times to the conference and back to have uninterrupted (kind of!) times on my own to pause and ponder and hear from God and spend time with Him. Lovely to hear how your adventures in writing started off. God does that doesn't He - uses all kinds of situations to speak to us.

    Like Jo-Anne - I too am learning to make time for it many times during a busy day by working them into my calendar. This modern epidemic of busyness and constant connected-ness leaves so little space for those much needed pauses - and you are right! Thank you Adele. Very well expressed too.

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    1. It will be great to see you again, Anusha! Trust you manage some travel pauses along the way. Unfortunately my travel pauses tend to come in the form of shut-eyed meditation (i.e. zzzzzzz...). LOL!

      What a great idea scheduling "be still" moments into your calendar! Thanks for sharing such a practical way to ensure we occasionally stop.

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    2. Looking forward to seeing you Adele. I realised since I started work this year that I had to do something about making more time for God. Since the time available was less - I found a few ways of having special God and I time. Like when I have my lunch. I used to work through lunch. Now I shut my door. And it's a God and I time. And I get my Bible out and listen to Him while eating! :) Whenever I get into my car it's a God and I time again!

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  5. Lovely, gentle thoughts Adele. I love the tone of your writing. It made me pause.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. :) And I know I commented on your post, but I really enjoyed reading of your Oxford achievement. Inspiring.

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  6. Great blog Adele. I hadn't heard your travel story before. Now I know the roots of your obsession :) Those pause moments are so important. I can't believe how many ideas I get for writing when I'm having my quiet times. Funny that. It's as if God has something to say and is waiting for me to catch up! Just think how much you could write on a trip to Nova Scotia? Look forward to sharing the writing journey with you for at least another few decades :)

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    1. Yes, Nola, I'm sure many a story could be written on a trip to Nova Scotia, but I think you'd best refer to my reply to Anusha. That said, it did all begin with a dream... (and a trip...) :) You definitely are a wealth of ideas. Keep them coming!

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  7. Adele, wonderful words. "Be still and know that I am Lord." Yes please. It's really only in the stillness we are able to hear Him. Why is that Jesus, David, Paul and co spent so much time in solitude? I imagine it had something to do with being able to listen to God.

    Great post. Thanks Adele.

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    1. That is such a beautiful verse. So many times when I read it I get captured anew by its truth. (And yes, perhaps you're onto something with that solitude and listening to God thought. ;-) ) Thanks, Ian.

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    2. Loved hearing about your writing journey's start, Adele. Thanks for the post. Agree about the pauses.

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  8. Don't you love those pauses, Adele? They're exactly what we need, especially when we get so caught up in the world that we forget to hear God's voice.

    Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  9. The 'in' thing at the moment is Mindfulness. Many of my colleagues (social workers) offer it to clients as a way of settling the mind. There is definite advantage to the practice of stillness, but how blessed are we who know Jesus and can zone straight into the presence of God. Thank you Adele for reminding us how valuable this quiet time is. Susan

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  10. I, too, began my adult writing journey as the result of a vivid dream. I wrote imaginative 'compositions' at school, but when I left school at age fifteen I wrote nothing from then on until I went to university in my mid forties. That vivid dream led me to undertake a MA in creative writing - I felt I needed more skill to write that dream into a novel. I only started to pen it a few months ago. The journey continues!

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