Days become more and more complicated. I remember hearing this quote by Thoreau years ago. Whenever I feel a bit overwhelmed, I pull it back out and ponder.
How is it that our lives are so out of control? Newer and better everything seems to take a little bit of the joy out of day to day experiences. No longer can we sit and enjoy things that used to be fulfilling. Walking the beach, watching the sunset, listening to music, reading a good book... everything now needs action. We are either dumbed down, or just bored.
For years I have been a quilter. I love taking beautiful fabric, cutting it up and sewing it back together. The quilts I make are simple in design. Basic blocks with basic quilting. But over the years quilting has become an art form. Taken to new heights with new techniques, machines, even thread. I lag behind and wonder at the creativity and inspiration these new quilters develop. Yet my joy comes from sitting at the sewing machine, using time honed patterns that kept our forefathers warm in winter. They add grace to my home as I spread them out on a table or throw them over the back of my sofa.
Has writing become that kind of art form? I've tried to study the craft and become more and more confused and sometimes overwhelmed. This rule and that structure. Each teacher bringing to the table their take on what makes a good novel. Many of them contradicting the others. It has sapped my confidence as I sit and try to write the words that are floating in my head.
Learning about the craft of writing has made me a better reader. It thrills me when I read a book that draws me in. Sitting in my favorite chair, I wander the pages of a novel and drink in the wine of words. I leave this world as I enter their world of fiction. Page after page, it intoxicates me.
And then, sitting at my keyboard I start to over analyze the words I've written. Where did the free flow go? I get up, fatigued at the thought of pursuing the next chapter...
Then a word from the Lord settles in. Don't be overwhelmed. Don't let your emotions conquer your thoughts.
Don't give up.