Good Writing Demands Sacrifice

It is said that most people don’t want to write, they want to have written.

Why? Because writing is hard. The writing process takes more from you than it gives back. The end—the result—that is the reward.

But the process . . . it demands the sacrifice of

  • time
  • focus
  • attention to other things, people, events
  • sleep

And you aren’t the only one to sacrifice. Open up to the front of most books and see who the author thanks–her husband, her children, her editor . . . anyone who also sacrificed for the process.

Although good writing demands sacrifice, you can control what is sacrificed and the extent of that sacrifice.

The best way to make sure you are sacrificing the right things during the writing process is to make a list of what you won’t sacrifice. Here’s my list:

  • David’s homeschool time
  • James’s therapy time
  • Evenings with Lee when he’s home
  • Personal devotion time
  • Teaching my Sunday school class
  • Meeting with my Bible study group

But here are somethings I am willing to sacrifice:

  • Sleep
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Blogging
  • Social media (time on Twitter and Facebook)
  • Social time with friends
  • Laundry folding (This is, of course, the first thing I’m willing to put off until a better time!)

When I have a big project with a deadline, I look at what I can sacrifice. Maybe it’s an extra hour of sleep, so I get up at 5:30 when the house is quiet and get to work. Maybe it’s the time I usually take to make dinner, so we order pizza instead. Maybe it’s the time in the evenings when I usually blog, so take a blogging break for a couple weeks.

Knowing what I will and will not sacrifice helps me put off reading that best selling novel everyone is talking about until I have more time. It helps me focus on David and his sight words during our time together, and not let my mind drift to my project until we’re done.

If you’re in the writing process right now, make a list of what you will and will not sacrifice. Remember good writing demands sacrifice, but if you plan ahead, you can determine what those sacrifices are. 

As Douglas Wilson writes, “[I]f you need to, get up at five, but always try to go home at five.”

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Join me each day this week as we learn what good writing demands. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and on the Facebook page. What sacrifices are you willing to make for good writing?

Good writing also demands:

Comments

  1. This is really good, Sandra. And exactly what I needed to read today. I think it’s time to make those lists of what I will sacrifice and what I won’t.

  2. lauren says:

    fantastic post Sandra! Thank you so much – this is some wonderful advice!

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