|That's me all Zen-like on top of a mountain.|
So, a week at a health retreat really does do some amazing things.
I've lost weight, toned up, got a whole lot of great pictures, and am inspired with new ideas!
If you want a review of my week at the Golden Door, check out my Fitness Blog. It has pretty pictures.
What Did I Do?
On the writing side of the week: I did absolutely nothing!
Yup, a whole week without writing. And I think it was entirely necessary.
Instead, I managed to finish off The Greenfield Legacy (aff.) which I had picked up at the Word Writers Getaway in October. It is sort of cool as the story follows four main characters, each one written by a different Christian author. I will admit, when I first started reading I had my critical elder in charge, and wasn't completely impressed by the writing. But that soon changed. I can always tell when I'm getting into a book because I hate having to go to sleep! It also made me cry, just a little bit, just at the end.
Also I started and finished Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper (Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol. 1)(aff.). Book 1 was in the library at the health retreat. Warning: do not start the first book in a series when you haven't got access to the rest.
I will admit that I obviously enjoyed Dragon Keeper, though I have two major compliants about it:
1. From a writing point of view, the main characters aren't very consistent. Even the supposedly nice ones have weird temper tantrums. Perhaps this will be explain in a later book such as they are being controlled, but it just came across as disjointed.
2. After hundreds of pages, it just suddenly stops. This was most annoying as I didn't have the second book, but still, there was no closure, no big conflict etc., to give it the feel that you were coming to the end. Was not impressed.
As a writer, you need to remember that you have obligations to your reader. You can't just drag us along and then dump us like a college jock!
So, will have to go to library and see if I can get the second one.
But it was really nice to have the time and lack of guilt to just read books from cover to cover. That is what holidays should be about.
Now, back to business:
Did spend a lot of time praying about my writing and where to go, etc. etc.
The need to pray was highlighted to me when I was at my parents' house just before driving up to Sydney.
I had been struggling with lots and lots of issues about trying to get my online platform going, writing so much, finding a publisher for Sally Hunt etc., and on Thursday the other week just had a little hissy fit. My brother very kindly sat there and rubbed my feet while I got it all off my chest (and yes women, he's Christian, and still single! Any takers? Any? Though must be prepared to listen to his hare-brained schemes that pop up every few months, just a warning.) He nodded and sympathised and let me get it all off my chest, but didn't add anything himself.
Later that night while I was trying to pack, he came and knocked on my door.
'Now, I don't want to tell you how to do things or get too involved, but have you thought about asking God if you are writing what he wants you to write? Otherwise, he won't stop you, but he won't be actively helping you either. And it sounds like he's not really actively helping you at the moment.'
I stared at him for a moment, took a breath to stop the immediate 'How can you say that to me? Of course I'm doing what God wants?' (+ possible tears) and thought about it. I was definitely sure that God wanted me to write, and write now. But I have to admit, I had naturally assumed that God would want me to write what I wanted to write. Now after almost 30 years of living with God, I should know better than that.
So I thanked my brother, and started praying.
During the week, I was subtly reminded that while I was studying at Oxford I had these fantastic ideas for some theological books. Over the course of a few weeks, about three books were developed, and people just kept telling me I had to write on particular topics.
For example, I had written a 15,000 word thesis draft, and my supervisor was the one that said 'So, you want to turn this into a book?' He followed that up with 'Which would be great, just don't submit it as your thesis because you will fail.' (Was pretty crushing at the time, but super encouraging that he thought the idea should be worked on.)
Similarly, during this period I was at dinner in a guest house and the lady opposite me suggested I really should write a Bible study, because there weren't enough good, female Bible studies that weren't American. It seemed like such a great idea, and I started planning out the introduction series etc.
I was just overflowing with ideas, and told God i would write all these books for him.
But then I found out I had failed. And that, I was sure, was the end of that.
I'm not an academic any more. I've been out of it for 2 years. Now I was focused on writing. Surely God understands that. Right?
Turns out, God does understand, and still wants me to write theology.
So, my current project which I started on Monday is a non-fiction book on the Foundations of Theological Knowledge (will give it a snappier title later - any suggestions?). It is based on the thesis my supervisor suggested I turn into a book, though am trying to make it more accessible and less strictly academic.
It has two purposes, to highlight the war that is going on in theological academia and provide the individual believer with a tool kit to develop a consistent frame of reference with which to assess new ideas. Nothing major, you know.
Unsurprisingly, does not write itself quite as fast as a historical romance. So I'm reducing my word count goal. I'm still going to give myself two weeks, but instead of a full draft I want to come up with a very detailed outline which I can submit as a concept to agents. (Love that non-fiction doesn't actually have to be written before you can get an agent.)
Also, it is now just under a month til my 30th Birthday (and no, I don't care that everyone knows I'm turning 30, because I'm super proud of everything I've accomplished so far, and 30 is going to be a fantastic year).
In honour of my 30th Birthday, I'm setting myself the goal of launching my first e-book:
The Five Day Writer's Retreat
Preparing for a lifestyle of writing.
I'm aiming to have that available on the 10th of March, so I've got just a few weeks to edit it, and format it etc. So that is going to be a bit of a major project.
Then I also have all my online platform to continue building, my blogs to update and my normal day to day job. So, you know, nothing much :D
So, ROW80 goals for this week:
1. write at least 1,500 words a day, 6 days a week on my theological draft.
2. By Sunday, read through full draft of Five Day Writer's Retreat and work out what needs to be done.
3. Write 2 in-depth posts for both blogs.
4. Write 3 articles for submission to get traffic to my blogs.
That's about it. Thanks for all the support, and hope you are having a great week.
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