Being a Type A personality, I realize that I have a few control issues.  I’ve come to grips with that and have been trying to see how that plays out in different areas of my life. 

With regard to my writing, I thought my control issues were related to constant editing–a desire to have sentences properly constructed and punctuated.  And then I came across this on p.161 in Writing Down the Bones Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg:

Some people are afraid of space and so fill every nook and cranny.  It is analogous to  our mind’s fear of emptiness, so the mind constantly stirs up thoughts and dramas.  But I think it is different with a writing space.  A little apparent disorder is an indication of the fertility of the mind and someone that is actively creating.  A perfect [writing] studio has always told me that the person is afraid of his own mind and is reflecting in his outward space an inward need for control.  Creativity is just the opposite:  it is a loss of control. 

Well, no wonder I often struggle with coming up with something creative!  My writing space could have its picture beside the word “organized” in the dictionary.  It is the antithesis of “loss of control,” and thus creativity. 

I feel better (more in control) when things are organized and had thought that this would allow my brain to concentrate on writing.  But maybe a splash of color or putting some objects other than books and a computer on my writing desk would fuel some creativity. 

What does your writing space say about you?  What have you done to make it a place where creativity ignites?


Dear God,


For so long I’ve felt the pressure of wanting to be loved and important.  Because of the many obstacles between me and you, I haven’t often felt the love and significance that ought to come from being the adopted child of the KING OF THE UNIVERSE.   So instead, I make myself important and make darn sure that everybody loves me.  And since I know it’s wrong to boast and build myself up, I try and maneuver it so that I’m getting love and recognition for serving you.  But lately, I’ve started to see that the build-yourself-up strategy always leaves me cold and empty, and usually humiliated and bitter.  I can never make everyone love me.  I can never be so important that I won’t feel afraid anymore.  It will never be enough to fill up the very hungry beast in my heart.  Tears have come and gone.  I’ve cried out to you to give me something to know and trust, something I could feel and really sink my teeth into.  Most days, I don’t see it.   But then, in the midst of some pretty unpleasant circumstances, you prove it to me.  “God disciplines those he loves.”  Darn it.  “Why’d you have to definitively prove that you love me by kicking my butt?”  I retort.  “I’ve tried telling you the other ways, but you weren’t listening,”  you chide.  “Hmmpphh.  Point taken.”


Now I’m so used to learning the hard way, I can barely believe it when you teach me something without walking me through the fire.  That’s why I Peter 4:10-11 blows my mind.  “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”  What?  First, you love me and now I’m important?  I think I need to lie down.  So you’re telling me that when you tell me to speak or to write, I’m speaking your words.  How much more significant could I be?  The answer makes me shiver all the way to my insides.  It’s scary.  I can only see the many, many sins between me and carrying out of your purpose.  I see the big obvious ones like being unkind to my family and the subtle, manipulative ones like taking the glory for myself instead of giving it back to you.  There’s just no way I can speak on your behalf God.  I can’t do it.  I’m too immature and, well, I just can’t do it.  I want to, but I know I’ll just mess it up.   Maybe call someone else, because I am not your girl.


But I know I am, and just as I trusted you when you were walking me through a season of “discipline” (or should I say “love”?), I have to trust you as you walk me through a season of “calling.”  Good grief, I need to be careful what I ask for. 






When God calls you to write (either specifically or in general) what is your response?  Do you feel the weight of I Peter 4:11 when you write?  How does his calling affect the writing process for you?

The past two weeks have been one big bummer.  Actually the last 13 days to be exact.  My kids have managed to tag team being sick, and it’s meant almost every one of those nights (minus 2 or 3 in the middle) I’ve been up feeling foreheads every 2-3 hours.  So at the end of the day when my brain is fried, writing feels like a mountain I just don’t have the tools to climb.  I know this is just a small season, but no matter what is going on I seem to always find an excuse not to write.  Instead I talk about it, I dream about it, anything but actually doing it.  If not for this writer’s group (bless you girls) I would simply be an always talking wannabe writer.  Atleast now, I feel like I’m on the road to leaving the wannabe status. 

My current project – current meaning from the past 4 years! – is nowhere near the subject matter of my world right now.   If I have free time, I don’t feel like I have enough time or energy to get into the zone, so I opt for no writing (unless we have an assignment – thanks FWWG!).  Awful, I know. 

So this gets me to the topic of focus and discipline…How do you put away your world and focus on what you want to write about?  And more importantly, what makes you actually sit down and do it?

What comes to mind when you think of spring cleaning?  Do you immediately put the thought out of your mind because it conjures up a mile-long list of chores that you’d rather not do?  Or do you relish the thought of freshening up the house a bit and getting rid of some old things?

I like the organizing part of spring cleaning, the-get-rid-of-that-unattractive-item part.  I don’t look forward to the heavy-duty cleaning part of spring cleaning, even though I know my house needs it.  So this year, I indulged and hired a cleaning service.

It was a scary prospect.  For one, I was a little leery of allowing strangers to snoop around in my house, even if they would be getting rid of the dust and dog hair that is so prevalent in my house.  For another, could I truly afford this indulgence?  And would I be able to control the urge to have this done all the time if I really liked the job these people did? 

I got over the first two hurdles, thanks to a little dose of courage and financial help from my tax refund, and now I just have to keep telling myself this was a one-time, special treat.

And special it was!  I was pretty shocked to see my reflection in the tile floors and every sink faucet.  I didn’t know that my house was that dirty before or that it could be this clean.  After all, the closest that I’ve ever come to having a maid in my whole life is housekeeping at a hotel.

While the team of ladies from the cleaning service was working their magic at my house, I took my dog to get a bath and a trim.  Now, her spring cleaning is complete as well.

So what’s next on the cleaning list?  Maybe a little spring cleaning of the heart and mind.  I try to put new good stuff in my mind and heart often, but have I ever let go of the old stuff?  The old hurts and hang-ups?  That’s a process that takes a little more than just the spring to do.

What about as a writer?  What would spring cleaning look like in that aspect of my life?  I could always mark out some unneeded adjectives and adverbs.  But seriously, I haven’t pondered this before. 

It was about this time last year when my desire to write started taking shape.  I began reading blogs.  I picked the brains of two ladies in my church (now part of this writers’ group) who had attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.  And I ultimately launched my own blog.  So is spring cleaning even necessary at this stage of the game? 

I’d love to hear what others on the writing journey do come spring.  Especially now, while I’m still on a high from having my house cleaned.

Mary DeMuth recently posted the following helpful information on The Writer’s View 2. If you want more information on how to subscribe to that list, let me know.

1. Subscribe to the WIN Informer. It’s a great, great place to really know the insider scoop on things. http://www.christianwritersinfo.net/WinGuide.htm

2. Subscribe to Publishers Weekly daily (PW Daily). You’ll learn so much. Be sure also to subscribe to Religion Bookline when you sign up. It’s free. https://www.publishersweekly.com/subscribe.asp?

3. Subscribe to CBA’s Aspiring Retail online (free version). You can do that here: http://www.cbaonline.org/nm/ARDigital.htm

4. Subscribe to the daily Publisher’s Lunch. You can do that here: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/free/

5. If you choose to attend ICRS, beware of your feet. BRING COMFY SHOES or suffer dire consequences. And go in, eyes wide open, ready to absorb. You’ll learn a whole lot, I promise. Here’s more information about this year’s show. http://www.christianretailshow.com/

6. Attend a conference. Here’s a listing: http://www.christianwritersinfo.net/conferences.htm

7. Go to Book Expo. This year’s was in NYC. Wow! I learned so much by going. Next year it will be in LA. http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/App/homepage.cfm?moduleid=42&appname=288

I hope that helps! There’s really no reason you can’t be informed about the industry. And most of these avenues are free. Of course, being a part of TWV 2 will help tremendously.

Mary E. DeMuth
fiction panelist