Friday, 4 September 2015

Stop, Look, Listen - Tania Vaughan

Writing advice everywhere seems to scream at me "just keep writing", even if you don't feel like it, if you have no words, just keep writing!

I get it, I do. If a project is ever going to be finished of course you have to keep writing. I have come to wonder recently at the quality of what I'm writing when I'm just writing. I know, of course that is the whole point of editing, again and again.

It's not just the quality that has been nagging at me. When I just keep going does my direction and attention go astray? Writing becomes an unstoppable train hurtling down the track making no stops along the way - What if I was supposed to change trains?

I took the month of August off and didn't write a thing. Nothing noted, no thoughts recorded, not a single word - intentionally (not because of the dreaded writers block). Shocking I know, I thought it would be awful, I thought it wasn't possible. In fact I found it remarkably freeing.

Stop - What I've discovered is that as I stopped so did the jumble of thoughts that constantly chase around in my head. I had no intention of writing anything ao the thoughts stopped tumbling into my mind to chase each other around. My mind cleared. This made me wonder how many of my generated thoughts are manufactured by the need to write something, anything.

Look - As I've looked inside my mind and at my work I've been able to see into that clear calm and some things have got a little off track. I've looked at my thoughts and seen some were just thoughts not meant to be committed to paper. Do you ever do that? Have an inspirational thought or idea and think "that will make a great post" and set to write it. What if sometimes that word is just for you?

Listen -  I'd stopped hearing God speaking to me because I kept turning every word and thought into a blog post. As I've listened to the beat of my writing heart I have come to distinguish between what is an idea to be written and what is the sound of God speaking only to me.There are times, like any relationship when the words and conversation are kept between the two of you. Not every great analogy or thought needs to be shared.

As I make my way slowly back into writing I know I will need to keep control of that train, it so quickly wants to jump onto the tracks at full speed. I have discovered the treasure of stopping at a station here and there to ponder and spend time with God who waits there for me.

Tania Vaughan started Let's Talk About Ministries after writing her book "Let's Talk About Sex and Relationships - A Bible study for single women".

Through devotionals, mentoring and teaching, Tania seeks to encourage every woman to claim the full life that Jesus came to give them. Online devotions and her blog can be found on her website

Linking up with Grace & Truth


  1. Great post, Tania - although now I will have the kids' song, "Stop, look and listen," in my head all day! (There could be worse things.)

  2. Excellent post, Tan. And so true for so many of us. Not just with writing either. We can hurtle along on so many different 'trains' and fail to stop, look and listen to God's voice. A reminder for us all.

  3. Oh excellent stuff! I couldn't agree more Tania.

  4. Thanks, Tania, I found this really interesting. My August's been the opposite of yours: because it's the school holidays, I've been writing like mad. It's back to the real world on Monday, though, so I'll need to get the balance right between my writing and other areas of my life. Your post certainly gives me plenty to think about.