about writing and life and God

Start here

on May 21, 2014

I can recognise burn-out. Been there before, got a couple of t-shirts. Still, it creeps up and denial tries pushing it away. Then God said STOP. Well, God doesn’t actually speak in capital letters like Mort in Terry Pratchett. But there’s something insistent about the still small voice when He says ‘Just stop now. Clear your diary. For the summer.’

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Oops. My jam-packed diary. All those preaching engagements, talks to ladies’ meetings, planned trips etc etc and even more etc.

Yes, that one. Big swallow here. And as I sidled up to it, things started happening. The way they do when God’s moving things in your life. First a major trip north was cancelled. Then ‘words to the wise’ were spoken… and things that looked difficult to the point of terrifyingly impossible to change simply removed themselves effortlessly. Till the diary was cleared.

And that’s scary. Waking up with nothing planned.’Treat it like a holiday,’ I was told. ‘Take yourself out. Enjoy.’ So I did. And gradually the tension started unravelling. When friends asked how I was, I really meant it when I said ‘Fine’. Days sauntered past. I slept better. I found acceptance appearing more often in my emotional kitbag and as my husband’s deterioration reached the point where he no longer had a clue who I was, I was surprised to cope perfectly well and not be poleaxed by distress when I got home.

I sat in the sun. And tried to read.

But could not settle.

Books did not hold my attention or interest. Favourite authors seemed dull. And then little nudges began. A chance comment about frozen meat ships from South America. A ring with the word Mizpah on it. And the desire to write resurfaced and began to grow from a vague thought to a decided itch that needed to be scratched. Like burn-out, this is a familiar feeling: when I get bored enough I have to write!

So on Monday, I sat down and got started. Chapter 1 page 1. ‘The Mizpah Ring’. Book one of a trilogy. Once more it starts in my home town of Wick, Caithness, Scotland. Again it’s a Christian historical but this time begins in 1897. My heroine is called Hannah, her nasty sister is Pearl. (And if you hear the echo from 1 Samuel 1 of Hannah and Peninnah you may have a glimpse of their characters.) The story will cover three generations of four families and we shall see how the sins of the fathers do dog the heels of the third and fourth generations, but how faithful love can redeem it.  The background research, much done already, is going to be a joy and delight.

So far I’ve got to my desk for the first hour of each day and the printed pages are beginning to mount up: one hour or a thousand words, whichever comes first. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow.


4 responses to “Start here

  1. delighted to hear it Dorothy – well done!

  2. All power to you, Dorothy! Hope your words flow like milk and honey (with a splash of gin.)

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