Never Stop Learning by Georgie Tennant

We never stop learning, do we? And when we step out of our comfort zones and venture into new territory as writers, it can be a steep learning curve. Here are some of the things I have learned in the last six months of my writing life: 1. Despite apparently ridiculous delays and waits that test the patience of the saintliest, God always comes though somehow, in His time and His way. After a frustratingly long wait to see the phonics books I had written, finally printed and in my hand, they arrived in a week where Ofsted was looming at work and life was feeling rather gloomy. They cheered me up beyond reason. “God has made everything beautiful for its own time,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT). 2. Even if you think you haven’t done much in your writing life, you have probably done a lot more than you give yourself credit for. When I recently agreed to be the guest speaker at a Zoom writing group and was given an hour, I panicked, thinking I had about ten minutes of material at most. If you don’t keep a “Writing CV” or record of things you have done, start to do so – I guarantee you will find it a big encouragement. As I talked through where my writing life began and how it is developing, it made me feel much more like a “real” writer than I had for a while. 3. Linked to Number 2, above, it is wise to keep everything you ever wrote in a box file - or ten, if you have been prolific. I don’t do this, and, in scrabbling around in the bottoms of various wardrobes and drawers, looking for things that might help me guest-speak without having to start from scratch with my musings, I heartily wished I had. 4. You can get a mini keyboard that can transform an iPad into a laptop, for writing on the move and when luggage space is tight. I discovered, to my cost, however, that it is not advisable to type on the aforementioned iPad-turned-laptop in a tiered swimming pool viewing area during a swimming gala. It is not the easiest of things to balance on one’s knee and I’m mortified to say the lady in front of me found herself with an iPad on her head more than once before I retreated, red-faced to a safe distance behind the stands. On balance (no pun intended), it is a useful addition to the busy writer’s life. 5. You don’t have to leap naively into the first contract anyone sends you. I did. Luckily it has worked out for me. But I have since discovered (aren’t writer friendships a great thing?) that there is something called the Society of Authors, which will help the new and na├»ve through such things and they even include membership of something called ALCs for the price (this is further alchemy and magic that I understand not, but will be looking into for future projects) - worth looking up if you are similarly inexperienced as I am. 6. Great opportunities really can and do land in your inbox on a dismal, ordinary Monday morning. In my case, it was the invitation to write more in the phonics series I had written before. Deeming it a little too keen to reply within 17 seconds, I succeeded in waiting 9 minutes, and, by lunchtime, had a project outline, a series of deadlines and the first set of ideas for my stories. This has encouraged me that, even when there appears to be nothing on the horizon, the opposite may, in fact, be true. 7. There is a time and a season for everything and sometimes, this one just isn’t mine and that’s OK. I would have loved, for example, to have come to the London Writers’ Day – I’m sure I’m not the only one. But time and financial constraints meant that this one wasn’t to me for me. But I have to trust God that He will put me in the path of the right ones for me at the right time and in the meantime, I will pray a blessing on those who did manage to make it. That way, FOMO * is turned to JOMO ** as I trust God for the right opportunities for me. When we are feeling weary and discouraged in our writing lives, its good to reflect on the bigger picture of where we have come from and pray into what God has in store for us, still yet. I love Hebrews 3:4 – “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” May he build our writing lives into ones that bring him glory, however hard it can be to see, at times, where the next brick will go. Do join in the discussion in the comments with anything you have learnt recently about the writing life. * Fear Of Missing Out** Joy Of Missing Out Georgie Tennant is a secondary school English teacher in a Norfolk Comprehensive.  She is married, with two sons, aged 13 and 10 who keep her exceptionally busy. She writes for the ACW ‘Christian Writer’ magazine occasionally, and is a contributor to the ACW-Published ‘New Life: Reflections for Lent,’ and ‘Merry Christmas, Everyone.'  More recently, she has written 5 books in a phonics series, published by BookLife and is in the process of writing 3 more. She writes the ‘Thought for the Week’ for the local newspaper from time to time and also muses about life and loss on her blog:

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