Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How We Prepare

We’re all preparing for something.

Here are glimpses of people you’ll recognize preparing…

For life. For the Olympics. For the unknown. For writing through memory and pain.

Preparing to live fully right where you are…

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
 “One writes not to be read but to breathe...one writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one's mind, to dissipate one's fears, to face one's doubts, to look at one's mistakes--in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one's joy, but also to disperse one's gloom. Like prayer--you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to 'grace'.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“I want first of all... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact--to borrow from the language of the saints--to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, "May the outward and inward man be one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Michael Phelps

Michael Hyatt

“I learned many things about how to confront conflicts and unexpected challenges. The most important was this: If you want to increase safety, you must move toward the challenge.”

Be Curious
Take Small Steps
Learn Mastery

Elizabeth Berg

Preparing as a child…
“Day after day, I lay on that small hill and watched the shifting patterns of clouds and listened to the birds. I could not identify the birds themselves, but I did recognize their calls. Sometimes I made my own sounds to call back; whenever I did there would follow a moment of abrupt silence during which I assumed the birds tried to identify me…

Whenever I was at that place, a sense of peace came into me like a religion. I wanted to tell everyone what it felt like to be there…This happened with many things I saw, or heard, or felt. I wanted to share them.”

Preparing to write as an adult…
“I also work out of a backyard shed, which is plain and simple, stripped down to the basic elements…”

“I might have coffee and a treat at the bakery, then wander into the hardware store…”

“For me the best times are always those that are closest to what I felt as a child when I visited that gully, when I lay on that long, green grass and looked up into the trees, and felt the wide ache of wanting to be able to share with someone all that lay inside.”

Stephen King

On how he prepares to write after being struck by a van…
“I didn’t want to go back to work. I was in a lot of pain…I couldn’t imagine sitting behind a desk for long, even in my wheelchair. Because of my cataclysmically smashed hip, sitting was torture after forty minutes or so, impossible after an hour…Added to this was the book itself, which seemed more daunting than ever—how was supposed to write about dialogue, character, and getting an agent when the most pressing thing in my world was how long until the next dose of Percocet?

Yet at the same time I felt I’d reached on e of those crossroads moments when you’re all out of choices. And I had been in terrible situations before which the writing had helped me get over—had helped me forget myself at least for a little while…

That first writing session lasted an hour and forty minutes, by far the longest period I’d spent sitting upright since I’d been struck by Smith’s van. When it was over I was dripping with sweat and almost too exhausted to sit up straight in my wheelchair. The pain in my hip was just short of apocalyptic. And the first five hundred words were uniquely terrifying—it was as if I’d never written anything before them in my life. All my old tricks seemed to have deserted me…There was no inspiration that first afternoon, only a kind of stubborn determination and the hope that things would get better if I kept at it.”

Ann Voskamp
“Out the kitchen window the sky rolls out. Apple blossoms fill the orchard. The morning dove warms her bluing hope. I can hear Him, what He is telling the whole world and even me here: this is for you. The lover’s smile in the morning, the child’s laughter down the slide, the elder’s eyes at eventide: this is for you. And the earth under your feet, the rain over your face upturned, the stars spinning all round you in the brazen glory: this if for you, you, you. These are for you—gifts—these are for you—grace—these are for you—God, so count the ways He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, that when you wake in the morning you can’t help turn humbly to the east, unfold your hand to the heavens, and though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful, and you can slow and you can trust and you can receive each moment as grace. Eucharisteo. Eucharisteo. Eucharisteo.” ~ One Thousand Gifts

As for me, I write novels. And I keep writing them. I’ll save the rest of the story for another day.

We are all being prepared for something. 

What are you preparing for? Which of the above resonated with you today?

*photo by stock.XCHNG


  1. What I find interesting are your last two statements. We are being prepared for something. What are you preparing for? But those two are not always the same thing. I'm learning that while I'm preparing to reach a goal, the Lord is preparing my heart to be conformed to His. Sometimes those are complimentary. Sometimes they are opposite. I'm learning to hold loosely those things I have my eye on, to be flexible enough to let go and change direction when the Lord whispers, "turn aside here."

    1. 100% agree. Thanks for bringing this up. Sometimes complimentary. Sometimes opposite. I've been receiving the most unusual whisper lately. Told a friend about it on the phone today. You know soldiers before battle, when the head guy (think Braveheart) guides his horse, charging in front of the lines and yells, "Hold, hold." Yep, that's the whisper. Want to decode it for me?

  2. Love this! Love this! Thanks for sharing. No matter where we are on the journey, were always preparing. I'm always preparing, for the next manuscript to be better, or easier, or done faster, or more relatable or....

    1. Thanks for the shout out today, Martina. Yep, always preparing or being prepared. Even when things might be feeling a little stagnant, there's prep work going on.

  3. I liked the one by King about being a small child...I just read my first book by him and am blown away by the beauty of his prose. A good story didn't surprise me, but the quality of his actual writing did. I think he's super interesting.
    Thank you for the quotes! I don't know what I'm preparing for. That might be a problem. LOL

    1. Did you read 11/22/63? He is an excellent writer. He earned his stripes with me with that book b/c I hadn't previously read any of his work (besides On Writing).

      I think most of us are unclear about what we're preparing for but I do think we're always being prepared.

  4. I really loved this part of Stephen King's quote: "There was no inspiration that first afternoon, only a kind of stubborn determination and the hope that things would get better if I kept at it.” I feel that way about writing a LOT...but forcing myself to keep at it when inspiration is in hiding, well, I guess that is part of preparing for what's next. Because I'm guessing the writing road gets even windier the longer we're on it...developing a determination to keep going NOW is important, isn't it?

    Loved how this post got me thinking!

    1. That chapter in On Writing really moved me. How it was so difficult for him to sit to write but he did it anyway and how that eventually brought him back to himself. Powerful message. I'm grateful for those who've gone before who have helped prepare me.

      Glad it churned thoughts. I love doing that.

  5. First of all, I loved this because I am nosey. I love to hear how people live the life that lays out in front of them...especially people I admire. Thanks for putting this together.

    As for me, geesh. God has been preparing me for things that don't make sense and things I can't see happening. He's preparing me to trust Him more. Eeek, but God, I like things that make sense!

    Thanks, Wendy. Off to share this one.

    1. Yeah, it really serves as inspiration for me when I see how others keep at it. That's wild, isn't it, when we're told to step forward on a road that's foreign and a bit perplexing. I like things that make sense too but I've found it can be fun to romp with the wild things.

      Thanks for sharing, Amy!

  6. Another thought-provoking post, Wendy. You're so good at s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me and getting me to dig deeper. That's one of the many things I love about you.

    I'm preparing for the next chapter of my life. Our daughter is graduating in June and seeking a job in Europe. While I'm excited for her, it would be hard to have her so far away. I adjusted to her living in her college town an hour away, but to have her half a day away feels me with apprehension anew. I guess you could say I'm preparing to "let go and let God." I know He'll care for her better than I can, but I'm so used to doing my part.

  7. Probably Stephen King because, while my pain isn't as intense as his, I am in pain most days-but I push through. Stubborn determination. :) Great post!

  8. I love these quotes! I always get goosebumps when I read Ann Voskamp's words.

    I'm preparing for our permanent overseas move and the writing journey. I'm not sure how the pieces fit together, but I'm trusting God knows. :)


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