Monday, November 29, 2010

The Slower Plan


I’ve always been on the two-year plan. Graduate college, meet a man and marry him. Get a good job in my career, work awhile, get pregnant and build a home.

Check. Check. Check. I accomplished each but not exactly in that time frame. The getting pregnant part took a few years longer. It was one of the first times in my life I was forced to slow down my expectations. Sort of like jumping off of the high speed train for the sailboat.

Sometimes God does that to teach me to be more appreciative.

Sometimes it is to teach me to be more humble—reminding me that it isn’t all about me.

I’ve learned that principle again with my writing. I’ve always written with a self-imposed deadline—certain that I needed to be fast to be a good writer. Pump a book out in six months, submit and start again.

As I work on this current project, I’ve found that fast is not the best way for me. The more I let my thoughts linger on the plot, the better it comes together.

My plans and intentions are not always from God. But I want this novel to be. And that means more time spent in prayer about it.

It feels good to be taking the slower route on this book. I’m actually liking the story more and making some major revisions as I go.

No. Two-year plans are a thing of the past. Today I’m waiting on God’s plan.

How about you? Are you on the train or sailing those waves?

54 comments:

Nicole said...

I find that my plans usually don't pan out unless they are God inspired. My goals and plans without the Holy Spirit just don't work.

Sarah Forgrave said...

The process of plotting my next story has been moving very slowly, and I've struggled with this guilt you talk about. Thanks for the encouragement to take it at the right pace. :)

Susan Roux said...

I'm taking a slower approach too. Pushing myself on a single painting to see how far I can take it, develop it. The added time is proving to be a good thing, at least so far. Good luck with your project.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I sail thru the waves. I want to be faster in writing and also things in my life but it's just not me. It's still hard to let go sometimes and accept it, though. :)

Heather Sunseri said...

I've been pushing myself a lot lately, but I'm ready to wait on God. I don't want to miss out on the enjoyment of life while I push myself too hard to do something in "my" plan.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Is it at all possible to be doing both? I sail the waves and ride the train.

Slow is good sometimes. God's voice can become more clear.
~ Wendy

Jan Cline said...

Im glad to hear this. I have been thinking there was something wrong with me because I cant pump out the books as fast as I'd like. I think my problem is I have too many going at once, so I have set aside two of them and Im concentrating on one and colaborating on the other. It's a matter of finding what works best for the kind of product you want to end up with.

Joanne Sher said...

I really don't know. I am going to ponder this post for a while - and maybe get back to you. I think I'm in the deciding stage. Loved this post.

Saumya said...

What a wise post. I don't know where I stand. Sometimes I take things in stride but I tend to put myself down for not being quick enough.

Lin Floyd said...

I've definitely slowed down, wrote my last book Family home evenings for empty nesters and singles in a month, submitted it and now am waiting for 4-6 months for it to be reviewed...lol!

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm a big goal setter and to be honest, I put a lot of pressure on myself to finish. But then I wonder, why am I in such a hurry? I'm slowing down for this new story of mine too. We can go the slow route together. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I once sat in on a workshop where the presenter told us to not put a time-limit on our dreams. It's so easy to say "I'll give it 18 months, and if I'm not published..."

This is a slow business, but when we present our project we often only get one shot with agents and editors. It's good to take our time.

Heidi Willis said...

I think one of the best things I ever did for my writing was to let go of self-imposed deadlines, especially when it came to things I couldn't control, like getting published. People write and get published at 84 years old. Why do I think if I can't do it today, then I've lost my shot?

I've learned such patience and reliance on God and trust in His will and timing through this pursuit of writing and publishing. In the end, that is probably worth more than the money my books will ever make.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I still find myself making plans and pushing to that next level a lot. But what comes of it in the meantime is easier to deal with--easier to handle. There are some things (agents and getting published) that I cannot control and instead of trying too hard to force it, I'm trying to take it one step at a time and leave the rest to God.

Deborah said...

In my life things never go as planned, and they certainly never happen 'when planned' so no two year plans for me. I'm not sure about the train or the waves....sometimes it feels more like a roller coaster that gets stuck now and then!

Keli Gwyn said...

Terri, I sense that you've found some peace in regard to your writing. What a wonderful gift from God. I'll be eager to see what He has in store for you and your writing in the days ahead as you leave the outcome in His capable hands.

Susan said...

Hi Terri...I'm definitely on the sailboat, dealing with the waves. Sometimes they are a little rockier than usual but no more speeding trains for me.

Hope all is well and that you have a great day. Always love your visits and comments to my blog. Whenever I see your smiling face, it makes me smile! Susan

Lynn said...

Sailin the waves...I like that very much. God controls the weather and the slow wave I'm on right now is His perfect plan. I am glad to hear you are peaceful on the journey.

Andrea said...

I am with you...let's just stick with GODS plan...it always works out better that way!

Hugs,
andrea

PS: Sounds like you and I can be a little alike....lol!

Carol Riggs said...

Well, I like the train, but know it doesn't always work out that way! On the sailboat, the ride is often more beautiful and satisfying. So yes, let go and let God, as the saying goes.

Rebecca Stuhlmiller said...

I agree with Nicole. We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. I would've picked writing first over speaking!!! But God had other plans. So I'm sailing along... or maybe I should use another analogy. I get seasick!

Sally said...

Going slow, watching how the wind turns the sails, following the current and trade winds. Sitting quietly on deck listening for the still, small voice.

Melissa Marsh said...

I've had to slow down, too, and listen to what God wants for me because my time obviously isn't His! Otherwise, I would have been published years ago and probably would have fallen flat on my face. I simply wasn't ready. But thankfully, He knew that. :-)

Paul Greci said...

For me, some stories mature faster than others. I try to keep that in mind because whether the words flow fast or slow, I'm the one responsible for how they sound and how they tell a story.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Great post, Terri! I think I bounce from train to sail-boat! I realize God's timetable is best, and then I choose to attend a conference where I feel pressured to pitch my WIP. Time to slow down again and do the necessary revisions and put together a great proposal. Putting in the time and effort to deliver a great book is definitely worth it! Have a great week, my friend! :)

T. Anne said...

Terri, it sounds like God has us both on the same path. I've had to curtail my desires and posture myself with patience. It's been difficult, but slowly I have seen progress and I'm grateful for whatever He is willing to give me.

Linda O'Connell said...

There is no time line that can't be altered...just when I thought I had it all figured it out, well you know how that goes. My mom used to see, "In God's time, not our time." She was right.

Julie Musil said...

Terri, that's so amazing! Once you decided this, you must have felt such a huge burden lift from your shoulders.

Sometimes I feel like I need to hurry or else everything will pass me by. But nothing will pass us by. Hopefully when it's our turn, the timing will be just right.

Good luck on your wip!

Melanie said...

Great post. I need to remind myself OFTEN that God's plans are not my own. God doesn't operate based on my cute little spreadsheet of plans ;) and I am SO glad. His ways are far above my own.

I'm so happy to find your blog today and I am following you!

Blessings!
Melanie

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

It goes either way for me. This one right now is definitely slow.

Nehha N Josshi said...

Missed my train on purpose to sail on the waves!!!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri, fast writing is not for me. The more time I take to write, better ideas pop into my head. I prefer the slow route.

jdcoughlin said...

I am a go-with-the-flow type writer, as I'm sure you've heard me complain about. I can only write when I can write. If I force it, it's a waste of time and lessons the quality of my work. I have wished to be different many times. It hasn't happened yet.

Warren Baldwin said...

Sailing the waves! Doing too many things and spread too thin to set a firm plan like that. But I'm trying to whittle down and adjust.

But I'm impressed ... college in only two years! Very good. I have a daughter graduating college with a teaching degree next month. Did it in 3 1/2 years.

wb

Susan Fields said...

I wish I were a fast writer, but I'm just not - I definitely take the scenic route. :)

Rhonda Schrock said...

God's talking to me right now, even though I'm not a novelist, about being still and waiting on Him. I guess that would mean I'm not on a fast track. Just trying to listen, be obedient, and wait on Him. I'm confident that He is guiding my feet.

Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Terri- This is just like Rachelle's blog today... everybody has a different "plan" that works for them. I tend to fast-track things but I can see how that's sometimes not the right thing either. And, right now my sister is struggling to get pregnant and we're all struggling to justify our expectations with God's will. This is a great post.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Terri, Erin beat me to the mention of Rachelle's blog. :-) I think it's great that you're slowing down and letting it simmer. I have a feeling that as you get more experienced, your process may speed up a little. That has happened to me, but I still need stewing time to put a story together properly.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, as always. We must be twins separated at birth, only I think you're younger than me! Oops.

I'm a great planner, which helps when it's thawing meat for supper or the budget, but my life? I can't do life without major wisdom from above, and that usually means slowing down, like you.

Love
Jen

Susan R. Mills said...

Yes, slow is better for me too.

Deb Shucka said...

I love the wisdom here, and the reminder of who is in charge that I really needed to hear today. I'm on a sailboat, but looking longingly at shore for the sleek speed of the train. :-)

Nancy said...

So glad you made this decidion. It sounds like the right plan for you.

I'm difinately not on the fast train. A sailboat would be nice.

Ann Best said...

Like you, I pray for guidance, in my writing as I do with everything else in my life. But I know I have to do the legwork. Faith without works is dead! I know God can help, but I have to put forth the effort. I find that it's in the writing process that I get my "answers," as I revise and revise and revise!

I can't set a schedule like you tried to do! It never works, which is why I don't do New Year's resolutions. I basically just commit myself to doing the best I can in the coming year!!!

Thanks for a thought-provoking post!
Ann

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm def. a wave sailer. :-) Enjoy the surf, girl!

Diane said...

I'm so slow I'm barely moving. But that's ok, my priorities had to change slightly... :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I've also slowed down. I'm taking more time with research, characters, and theme.

A thought just struck me. The first paragraph sounds an awful lot like (gasp) plotting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

WritingNut said...

I used to have lots of plans too, but none of them really worked out. These days I'm like you... trying to take it slowly, and go with the flow :)

Shirley said...

I'm still at the depot!!!!! :)

Catherine West said...

I like the slow route. It involves a lot less pressure and the outcome is always better than rushing through just to finish a story! Glad to hear you are still at it, and enjoying the journey.

Amy Tate said...

Yes ma'am! How about having to downshift to super slow gear? I've had to take a leave of absence from my critique group because I can't juggle it with my children's schedules. I feel horrible about it but deep down inside I know I'll get back to it. Your post reminds me that it isn't all about me either. This writing gig definitely doesn't fit into the two year plan, does it? This is one of those posts that I need to print and tape in front of my desk! Thank you Terri!

Patti Lacy said...

Terri, I love your writer's heart...and your strong voice.

So COOL that you'll be leading a conference.

Blessings, dear one.
Patti

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

No train; no sailing. Just drifting along as the wind carries. It's just too hard to do anything else, but I'm OK with the pace, both in my writing and in my life.

I finished my book in March; it sits there on a shelf, mocking me. I think, perhaps, there are a few more chapters to be written, but it will have to wait until Spring or beyond. I must finish this season before refinement can occur.

Love you friend. You're doing a good job living your life. I'll be in prayer about the job search.

peace~elaine

Cassandra Frear said...

I'm thinking I like your two year plans! Maybe I need to be reformed?

Flexibility is something I have to work at.

Connie Arnold said...

God's time is not our time, and the sooner we learn that, the better! I'm on a slow boat, sailing along freely at times, pausing to enjoy the view and gentle lull of the waves at others. Lovely post, Terri!