Do we need ideal conditions to produce our best writing?

Wildflowers flourish all along BC’s highways. I don’t think you can drive for half a mile without seeing washes of colour paralleling the pavement. On my recent trip, while stopped in a construction zone, we admired blue Chicory (Cichorium intybus) mingled with cheery clumps of yellow Dune Tansy (Tanacetum bipinnatum). In this most unlikely location they were nodding happily amid the parched roadside gravel and rocks.

(A click will significantly enlarge photos)

They reminded me of a fridge magnet I received years ago from a friend, that says, “Bloom where you are planted,” echoing the words of an old Sunday School song:

Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will find your way.
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will have your day.

As writers I think it’s natural to crave ideal conditions for our writing. We ogle with envy the beautiful dens and their floor-to-ceiling bookcases and polished mahogany desks, believing they must provide the perfect writing environment. We postpone our efforts, believing we’ll have more time to write that novel after the children are grown and away at school, or when we retire from our nine-to-five job.  We rationalize that we need to be free of distractions, demands or other commitments before joining in a 1k1hr word sprint to start a new chapter or finish a scene.

But give us ideal conditions and I’ll betcha some of us would still be undisciplined enough to offer other excuses for procrastinating. If writing is a priority for us, we have to find a way to write, despite the difficulties.

Like the tenacious Tansy and Chicory plants, our success doesn’t depend on ideal conditions so much as making the best use of what we have. We need to heap determination atop our desire, and make the effort to bloom wherever we are planted, regardless of the circumstances.

I know life intervenes sometimes, but if you’re serious about your writing goals, what prevents you from pursuing them?

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And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

II Corinthians 9:8 NIV

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He who observes the wind
[and waits for all conditions to be favorable]

will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 AMP

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 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

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Making a Difference


I doubt Janeece Edroff had any idea of the impact her young life was going to make.

At age three she was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1, with tumors growing off almost every nerve root from her spine. By age seven, after multiple surgeries, she knew her family had been receiving financial assistance from Variety, The Children’s Charity and she decided she wanted to give back.

Her penny drive at her elementary school that year netted $164 and was presented to Variety during their annual Telethon. The next year she got others involved and collected $27,000! By age fourteen she had raised a million dollars; by sixteen, $1.5 million. Janeece is now eighteen and has inspired more than $6.7 million in donations. When she’s not in school or in hospital she spends her time fundraising for various organizations and inspires others to do the same.

Janeece Place, a temporary home for families to stay while a family member is in Victoria General Hospital was one of her dreams, and she saw it become a reality this spring. She has been presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 5-17.

And this weekend the girl who doctors said would probably never walk, or even live to see her teens, will graduate from secondary school.

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A few years ago I mentioned Janeece in a blog post entitled Tenacity Despite the Odds. I’m not sure why I thought of it this morning, but as I was considering what to write about on this fourth anniversary of my blog, the idea of tenacity lodged in my writerly brain and refused to budge. Have you noticed how some ideas are stubborn like that?

My early posts were an effort to accustom myself to online visibility. Then they morphed into a commitment… mostly to myself, because there weren’t a lot of readers.

Four years later, after 658 posts and 70,000 views, I’m amazed at the cyber friends I’ve made, and how important this regular bit of writing has become to me.  Has it accomplished anything significant? Not likely, although I’ve received occasional messages from readers who were encouraged by something God had prodded me to say on a particular day.

That’s the thing about blogging. While we might have a few regular readers who are kind enough to leave a comment, the statistics don’t let us know who the silent majority are… the ones who not only don’t comment, but don’t subscribe, and simply drop in on the way through from somewhere else in cyberspace. There’s no way to prove our inspirations are meaningful to anyone. It’s hard not to question whether the words really make a difference.

I look back at the tenacity that has kept me here and realize it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with God. He’s the only one who sees the entire picture and provides the words that are meant to reach an unknown-to-me but specific someone. I trust in his judgment.

I also trust in his direction for me and my writing. It may not include publication of my novels, or perhaps it will, but only when the timing is right. For now, as I step off into my fifth year of blogging, it’s enough that I carry on with tenacity and trust. My job is to turn up here and write. If there’s a difference to be made, it will be up to God. Is that called ‘passing the buck’? Sorry, God, but that’s the way I see it!

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“Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning,
for on You do I lean and in You do I trust.
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk,
for I lift up my inner self to You.”

Psalm 143: 8

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