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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Choosing What to Write

Blogs, Newspapers, Magazines, Copy and Books.

There are as many different media types to write for as there are writers. How do you decide what to write and where to focus your efforts?

For me, the first step was just proving I could actually write. I needed to prove that when I sat down at my computer I could put thoughts and words together to create something beautiful.

Then, it was about proving it to the world. I wanted to let everyone else know I was a writer. In other words, I wanted to be published.

Next, I must admit that my thoughts turned to money. I love the books that I write, but their nature isn’t long lasting enough to actually pay the bills consistently. So I began tapping markets that paid a little better and a little more frequently. I may only produce 1 or 2 books per year but I write almost every day.

I write blogs, I write for magazines and I write a lot of copy. True, it makes it difficult to sum up what I do when someone asks me to tell them about my writing, but I can actually pay a bill or two each month. For this, I’m extremely grateful.

On the other hand, I have noticed that my thoughts about my writing have been turning more frequently to money than joy. I am concentrating most of my time with the bottom line and often neglecting the things that tug at my soul. There are things I write for money and there are things that I write because that is what my Heavenly Father needs me to do. My writing and my spirituality are deeply connected. I feel His love most when I’m honoring the Spirit by pursuing His works rather than the world’s. Sadly, these are the things that have been neglected lately.

I have been pondering this development for several weeks, wondering what I could do to free up more of my time for the things that bring me joy rather than a steady paycheck. It seems to be more difficult for me to figure out than it should be.

What I find interesting is an experience I had yesterday morning. Since the weather here is now too cold for me to walk while my daughter is in her early-morning scripture class, I wrap up in a couple of blankets and study my scriptures in my car.

Yesterday’s topics were peace and charity, as I needed some information for another project. However, I kept running on to verses that spoke to me in a very different way. It’s funny how that happens sometimes. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

“But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” 2 Nephi 26:31

“But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” D&C 59:23

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;…” 2 Nephi 25:23

“For I command all men, … that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.” 2 Nephi 29:11

“And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. And how blessed are they! For they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.” Mosiah 27:36-37

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh;…” 2 Nephi 10:24

“O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh;…” 2 Nephi 4:34

Um, I think He’s trying to tell me something. What do you think?

Well, needless to say after reading these things I had a long talk with my Heavenly Father. I told Him what I wanted, that I felt I had been neglecting the greatest blessings available to me because of my talent. I told Him I wanted to put Him first in my writing as well as my life. If need be, the paying assignments would take a back seat until I had fulfilled what He needed me to do. I told Him I was worried. He understood.

I’m still struggling to find my way on this forgotten path, but I know the Lord is pleased with my efforts. I’ve been missing that lately. I’m beginning my day with His work, then filling any extra time with other assignments instead of the other way around. We’ll see how it goes.

Interestingly enough, when I arrived home that morning, and logged in for the day, I had two more paying assignments waiting for me. He understands.


Marsha Ward said...

Alison, what joy you must feel! Thank you for sharing this intensely spiritual experience with us.

Candace E. Salima said...

Alison, this is something I struggle with as well. I think maybe I need to do what you do. Focus on my writing first thing in the morning, and then paid assignments later in the day. I've started with the paid assignments, always worrying about paying the bills and never getting around to the creative writing. You've inspired me.

Terry said...

Thank you for sharing those scriptures with us. I love it when we really need something and the answer is there, so clearly. I also appreciate you sharing your prayer with us.
I have one more scripture for you.
Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness. 2 Ne 9:51

Shellie said...

That's cool! I needed that message too! Thank you :)

Alison Palmer said...

Candance, the one thing I've discovered in reprioritizing is how much my soul was hungering for those spiritual experiences. I'd become a little numb immersing myself the world so much.

Terry,Thank you for the additional scripture. That one definately makes the list!

Thanks for stopping by everyone, it's great to hear from you!