Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Need for Grace

(Page a day challenge Sunday: 1 page) 

When I started my current novel, I gave it the working title of Grace Like Rain. The first chapter I wrote was one of the last in the book. I have a tendency to do that, maybe because I need to see how the journey ends before I begin.

In any case, the book had more false starts than the Olympic short track speedskating finals, and when it finally took off again after a long, long hiatus on the back burner, I changed the working title to something that fit a little better.

Still, I find this book, and I, need our share of grace.

For instance, several weeks ago I signed up for the page-a-day challenge. Usually when I challenge myself, I am pretty ruthless on myself. But this time, I knew there might be a few days I wouldn't make it. I'm a mom. There's always that chance as a mom. Someone throws up. Someone spills their science project all over their clothes at school and needs a new set of clothes. Another kid gets sick. The piano teacher's husband has a brain aneurism and I'm needed to take over organizing all of the students for piano guild competition. A husband has a birthday. Another kid gets sick. A class needs a supervisor for a field trip. One child discovers the soles of their school shoes have completely broken in half. The second kid who got sick and then got better suddenly spikes a temperature of well over 100.

This was my last week.

So knowing this, I got a head start on that page-a-day challenge, not to substitute pages not done this month for pages done last month, but just so that I would know, if I failed in the month, that it wasn't a pattern of failure. In the last two weeks, I have not missed one day of writing, and not had one day where I have written less than six pages.

Which is good, because yesterday, the first day of the challenge, I racked up ZERO pages.


You see, yesterday was the Joint Services Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base near where we live. We try to go every year, but last year it rained and the year before that we couldn't get on base and had to watch from a field across the highway.

So this year it was 80 degrees, sunny, light breeze, and we had passes to park on base. So bright and early we were up and out, and not to get home before late, utterly exhausted, sunburned, and with a daughter who somewhere between leaving the base and getting home developed a fever and nasty cough.

So no writing.

But you know what? I'm giving myself a little grace here. Today, I only managed one good page, but it was good, and that was the goal. So instead of feeling frustrated, I'm feeling proud that even though events today and yesterday conspired against me, I made it priority to write just one good page.

And I stopped in the middle of a scene I can't wait to finish, with all of Monday stretched out in front of me. Even with one of my little ones home sick, I'm sure I can manage at least one more good one.

And anything else is icing on the cake, so to speak.

Did I mention how much I love this contest?  :)

Oh - and this is what I missed the goal for:


  1. Heidi, you truly deserve grace. And I hope the piano's teachers husband is okay.
    Goals are great but life happens, and it sounds like you have your priorities in the right place. It always works out in the end. Congratulations on the writing, and getting to the air show this year. Fabulous shot!

  2. I like to stop writing in the middle of an exciting scene .. it makes me want to come back to the computer!

    You have made good progress, and have good perspective, too. Kudos.

  3. You are doing well. I challenge sounds fun and I'm disappointed that I missed the sign up.

  4. I managed to write one page Friday, and I was so proud. Until I rewrote three pages into two pages on Saturday. And I've only revised today. Oh brother.

    You're right. Grace. I love the title Grace Like Rain by the way.

  5. Ruth - you only have to sign up to be on the list. You can do this, though! Click on the photo on the side and it will take you to the original post... or just choose to do it with me!

  6. That's a beautiful picture, Heidi. And great post about grace. It's there for us, even when we're hard on ourselves.

    Balancing everything without adding writing to the mix is hard enough so it sounds like you have a great outlook on this. I hope you get a lot accomplished today :)

  7. Grace is good. And needed. I am thankful for it and definitely try to extend it to myself.

  8. Grace is good. Time off every so often is good. We need time to live so that our material will be richer and more relatable when we get back to it.
    ~ Wendy

  9. Wendy - well said!

    Sometimes it's in those times where I'm too busy with life to sit and write that I find some of my best scenes to write when I go back to it.

  10. Oh, boy! You had a doozy of a week! I recently had a few days like that, and I titled the post: When Life Forces Your Fingers From the Keyboard. It happens. And I think we need to embrace those times. I'm learning that those times add depth to our writing.

    And even though we want to be self-disciplined, we may not always be able to meet those daily goals. I think we just have know if we're doing our very best!

  11. Congratulations on the writing, and getting to the air show this year. Fabulous shot!
    data entry work from home

  12. I have also missed a few days in Page-a-Day challenge -- and, with what you have going on, you definitely deserve grace. The spirit of the challenge is to write, to make small goals and achieve them without guilt. And as long as you are writing when you can, I believe you've accomplished it.