Phew. I am finished with finals. No more cramming. No more memorization drills. No more sweaty palms before tests. No more late nights. Ha. Well that one hasn’t changed; I pretty much still stay up all night and sleep in until two. I have a problem.
Still, through the stress of it all, I seemed to find time to learn something other than the definition of “anachronism,” which, by the way means “chronologically inconsistent.” Okay. I’m done now.
What I did find out actually has something to do with the chronological order of my own writing process, and more importantly, what that happened to reveal about my own outlook on life.
Basically, I have a system when it comes to writing papers. It goes something like: Pre-write, Panic, Draft, Revise, Stress, Edit, and Annoy Anyone Who Will Proofread For Me. Then I stress some more. I really do enjoy writing papers, but sometimes, under the pressure of wanting them to perfect, I set the standard pretty high and forget to just have fun with what I’m writing. I’m slowly trying to change the way this process plays out, but old habits die hard. It’s cliche, but true. That’s the unbearably annoying thing about cliches.
But back to how this relates to my personal life. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I tend to believe my own life should play out. Unfortunately it looks a lot like my skewed writing process. I tend to start with a “Pre-write.” It usually starts with a plan I think up in my head. I tend to want to stick to this plan pretty strictly, which almost always is a bad thing. Meticulous planning is honestly a waste of time. Because how can I or anyone know for sure that some element of our papers or lives won’t need to change, or be taken out, or edited in some way? We can’t. It’s better to have a general idea and let things come naturally. And they will come, if we leave room for them, that is.
After that step, I usually move on to Drafting. I’ve heard that for some writers, this bit looks a lot like word-vomit. The words come, and end up on the page, and are later revised. I wish I could do that, just write without a second thought. But…I have an issue with making mistakes. This ultimately leads me to the delusion that spending hours on a sentence will make it perfect. It doesn’t, though. It just makes me mad. If I can’t get it right, I just stare at the page, thinking, “Verb, you will agree with the Subject in a manner that is both visually and audibly pleasing to me.” Verbs are the worst, but they aren’t the real problem. All in all, I just need to learn to step away from my paper, from a life crisis, or from a big decision. My advice to others and to myself is to take time away from the issue. Let it be, relax, and realize that eventually the right sentence will manifest itself on the paper. The right choice will be made clear to us in time.
Revising and Editing aren’t too much of my concern because I usually tend to incorporate those into the earlier stages of my writing process. This is sort of a problem, because if I could just write, then I could see the parts that need fixing with a clear head and with new eyes. In the same way, if I could just stop worrying about which way is the best way for me to go, which path is the right one, then I could just take a step of faith, knowing that God can fix and work in the midst of that decision, leading me in His will.
As for the Panic and Stress, I just need to let go. At the end of the day, a paper is just a paper, and no matter what grade I receive, I should be content with the fact that I will have grown as a writer and as a person through the whole process.
Writing has always been an important aspect of my life. So many times God has used to it to show me something about myself, or about Him. Walking with God, like writing, is a process. It can be messy, and confusing, and downright frustrating sometimes because we just can’t see how the story will end. Even so, it’s more about the experience we have in between the lines, anyways.
So all I can do is write the papers, and live the life God has given me. I can write and walk in the confidence that God is the true Author of my story. He’ll teach me the things I need to know along the way, one word at time. And who knows? I might even learn some interesting things about myself in the process. Thank you for reading.
May all be well.