Saturday, June 30, 2007

Does Your Muse Work Weekends?

Okay, now this may sound like a silly question. After all, we all know that as writers, we pretty much have to work all the time. Between day jobs where we can't do our own writing, and families whose needs have nothing to do with writing, and all those lovely little household tasks that crowd out time for writing...some of us may be thinking, "Duh. Of course. When else is there?" (Unless you're a vampire, one of the undead, and then you don't need to sleep.) But this evening at Mass, our pastor talked about putting God first in our lives. And whether we do. Or to what degree. And if our commitment is so authentic that literally nothing keeps us from serving God. Or, if we're not doing all we can for God...for our church...for our parish...etc., then what is holding us back? It got me thinking. For those of you who ain't got religion and who stumbled upon this by accident, don't leave too fast. You can be in on this, too. If we're truly living for God... If God is truly who we're loving with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths... And God says to "keep holy the Sabbath day"... Then if our Muse works that day, is that honoring to God? Some of us would answer an immediate "Who cares?" (Those are the ones what ain't got religion and/or who may have thought this was one of those allegedly Catholic blogs that's actually a thinly disguised dissident rant blog about What's Wrong With The Church. Sorry, guys and gals, for the misdirection. If you like, you can leave now. But we'll pray for you!) Some of us would say, "But of course. I write for God. He knows this is the only time I have." Do you? And does He? Or would He rather you spend your time doing something else on the Sabbath? Have you asked Him? Do you continue to ask Him? Do you ever get so caught up in your writing that you "forget" about other Sunday/weekend obligations? Or resent them? Or find yourself working out a plot line when you're supposed to be concentrating on the Eucharistic Prayer? (Not that I would know anything about that last one. No, sir.) Before I started thinking about the balancing act we call our lives in this particular light, I would have said, "You betcher sweet bippy my Muse works on weekends. Or she's fired." Now, I'm not so sure that's always the best answer. Oh, that's a great answer for a "serious" writer. Every spare minute, we carve out for the Muse, or we are wasting that valuable time. Yeah, of course, your real life has to come first, but... Well, that's certainly the world's standard. Produce or get out of the way. And Sunday, or your particular Sabbath...in that mindset...cannot be anything more than another day of the week. If it's a day you're not at the day job, hallelujah! You're free to write! (And you'd better have your butt in the chair bright and early, too, Missy...) But we're not called to the world's standard, are we? We're called to a gold standard of putting God first. Even before the Muse. And trusting that if we do, He'll give us the time for the rest. But we have to put the time in with Him first, before that promise gets fulfilled. And in reality, if it worked the other way around, it'd be meaningless. Because then we're saying, "Okay, God, if you give me this time to write, I'll _________ for you." Notice what comes first in that bargain. And notice, just for a moment, how backwards that is. I'll probably be writing tomorrow, if that's where God wants me to be. But He might not. He might have a better place in mind. And if He does, I'm going to do my best to be aware of that, and open to it, and trust Him to provide for my Muse to do her thing when it's time for that as well. I'm not saying this is going to be easy.... I'm just going to try to be more aware of it from now on. And sometimes, possibly, my Muse may take a weekend off. Or at least a Sabbath. What will come out of my keyboard once it's surrendered to God might be very, very interesting. May just be the best work I've ever done. I'm looking forward to finding out. Thoughts? Janny

2 comments:

Christy said...

Hi, I just happened by your blog and was really encouraged by this post. Good reminder to put God first. Thanks!

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Two thoughts pop into my head.

First, God is the one who has given us our talents - whether writing, singing, sewing, cooking, whatever - and we should be using them to His glory. So, if we worship Him on His day by enjoying the talents He's given us, is that wrong?

Second, time with God is often inspiration. I've found that some of my driest writing times have been times when I've been far from God. Often "writer's block" is a sign to me that my spiritual life is a little bit lacking. So giving God the firstfruits of my time, rather than hogging it to myself, is usually more productive.