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Sometimes, as I’m working my way through my writing to-do list, I’m aware of an item that seems written in
blood bold and demands
my attention long before it’s due its turn in the mental process. At times like
this, frankly, I find myself worrying and fretting and dreading the moment when
all the other, smaller, distracting pieces are complete and submitted and I
have no more excuses.
I’ve had such an experience recently. Following the excellent ACW Writers’ Day at Derby on the subject of journalism, I formally submitted a proposal for an article. Ahead of the Derby event, I would have said I had no interest in journalism but we were all encouraged to give it a go, so I did. I spent two weeks on the proposal, fretting and
swearing sweating over the
idea itself and its presentation. I clicked 'submit' and breathed a sigh of
relief. I had faced down some inner demons and overcome. Except that the
proposal was accepted and I received a detailed form outlining my commitment to
the magazine. Somehow I hadn’t factored in that I might actually be required to
write the article, and the fretting began in earnest.
My writing to-do list was quite full at the time and the magazine article remained uncrossed off – as indeed it would because of all I’ve said above. Around it, items were completed and sent off and finally the week arrived when it popped into clear view and I had to start writing.
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it, the tizzies we get into when we face a challenge that seems too big to handle? The lack of peace, the doubts over our ability, the terror of having our words (so hard-won in the first place) scrutinised by readers we have never met. Prayers for help seem to reach only as far as the ceiling. But, as I woke up on the morning I was due to start writing, I had a stream of ideas flowing into my mind as surely as oil being fed through a funnel into engine pipes. All my misgivings (apart from a couple of annoyingly persistent ones) were washed away as the words came steadily, if not swimmingly. My anticipation – with all its soul-searching and anxiety – that it would be too much for me was entirely skewed. Sometimes, we just have to do it – and find to our surprise that we can, after all.
Footnote: my article will be published in the October issue of Christianity magazine.
Jane Clamp is ACW Groups' Coordinator and is based in Norfolk. Her first book, Too Soon, a devotional on the topic of miscarriage will be published by SPCK on August 16th.