dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

The power of the deadline

I have a deadline. Two, in fact. And both, insanely tight. This is good – for several reasons.

  1. Like many writers I am bone idle. No, I mean creative… I can spend hours gently daydreaming, gazing at lovely views (or nothing in particular) and letting my thoughts wander where they will, up hill and down dale. And not putting fingers to keyboard.
  2. I find it only too easy to say yes to everything anyone asks of me. Yes of course I’ll bring a cake to that church tea. Yes, I’ll help out at that event. Yes, I can drive that person to wherever. Yes, I’ll… do anything but sit home alone in front of the computer…
  3. I like to read… and I find I really cannot get into other people’s fiction when I’m trying to write fiction! It’s like being given the gift of a box of chocolates after you’ve binged all Easter Sunday on chocolate eggs and Cadbury creme eggs and chocolate cake and… you really don’t think you can face another chocolate ever again. (Of course I’ve never done that….)
  4. I’m afraid… of not being able to do it again. Yes, I know it happened with every book so far, and several times within the process of each. But it’s horrid. And not writing at all is one way to avoid it. But agreeing to a deadline makes me face it, and work through it.
  5. I’m afraid… of it not being as good as the last one. I’m afraid of running out of words. I’m afraid of diving so deeply into my story that I’ll get lost down there and drown and never come up again. I’m afraid of doing what I love to do more than anything else in the world: am I really allowed to do this? I’m afraid of discovering I don’t really like doing it at all… A deadline simply demands that I sit down and get on with it. Like a job of work. Word after word. One after the other. Just do it.
  6. And a deadline reminds me how afraid I am, and idle, and weak, and needy… and that I don’t need to worry about any of that because I’m a Christian writer who writes because I believe God gave me the gift and asked me to use it … for Him. I write overtly Christian books, deliberately, determinedly. To uplift and encourage God’s Christian women particularly. To entertain yes, but to give them a thoroughly good experience at the same time. Good in His terms. So if He wants me to do, He’ll have to help me. And He says He will:
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‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that’s fine with me. I’ve got plenty of weakness!

Oh, did I mention the deadlines? For Mizpah Ring Book 2: end of May; for Mizpah Ring 3: end of August. And the plan is publication of both books this year: Mizpah Ring 2 early September, and Book 3 early December. Oh yes, I’m going to need all the help I can get!

 

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Day Five: Last day in Dundee

Late afternoon in Dundee. It’s been a busy couple of┬ádays but hugely enjoyable.

Yesterday evening I met the very lively and talented Angus Writers Circle at the splendid location of Rosely House Hotel, Arbroath.

Scottish crime-writer Wendy H Jones outside Rosely House Hotel

Scottish crime-writer Wendy H Jones outside Rosely House Hotel

Rosely House is a classic Scottish baronial mansion – all wood panelling and more animal head trophies in one place than I’ve ever seen before!

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A bit fuzzy but conveys the view quite well!

I really enjoyed talking about writing to the group (and selling my book, When the Boats Come Home). One-on-one chats were great too, with folk ranging from beginners to award-winners.

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Me with award-winners Chris Longmuir and Suzanne Milne

Today I found myself at the Priory in Dundee, now home to the City Church. There I was privileged to speak to the Ladies Prayer Fellowship before Wendy Jones and I took ourselves off to lunch via the thriving CLC Bookshop.

Now it’s time for putting my feet up and having a little rest before I’m back on the road tomorrow for the long drive up to Wick- a distance of 240 miles. Should be very beautiful though. I’ll make sure I stop and take photos!

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