Unticked boxes


Can you believe the year has nearly ended? I feel this year has slipped through my fingers.  I don’t know about you, but this year left me with hardly any free time, and it’s been a struggle. Not because I don’t like the things I need to do, but somehow, I found myself without the usual slots in which I like to write. Zoom calls are tricky in the evenings, as I’m on puppy duty, so attending the wonderful writers’ meetings I used to go to has become hard, and I miss it!

My children used to be in bed by 7.30 and they still are if they’re home at that time, but with new groups and clubs, they hardly ever are. Filling my writing slot with more pickups and drop-offs. They love their groups, and it’s lovely hearing their stories and seeing what they have made, but it leaves me with very little time to live in Elabi for a while. Book 3 of the Elabi Chronicles is nearly there, again, a goal missed as I was hoping to have it done by the end of November.

Yesterday, I was looking at Wendy’s 2022 Reading Challenge and glancing around at my TBR stack, wondering if I could read just one more book before the end of the year. Just to feel I hadn’t failed there as well. Mind you, the 2023 list looks great, and I’m plotting out some titles for the list already. I might start at midnight tomorrow...

Here's the guilty, headspace-eating party...

When I look back at the year, I see so many events and wonderful blessings as well as hard days and grief. There are so many people I have met this year, some for the first time. I met quite a few ACW people this year and it’s been lovely, but hard not to feel like a fraud when I do so little writing at the moment!

I console myself that God’s to-do list is different. There are no fixed slots and no evening-only encounters. I can speak to Him and think about Him even when the kids are not in bed and when a puppy is looking for a plastic bottle she can run off with. I don’t need to feel like a failure, even when I’m picking up shredded cardboard instead of writing chapter 39. Walking to Scouts in the rain doesn’t need to feel like a waste of time and I hide the brilliant new plot or scene in my head, making myself listen to my daughter’s explanation of how to build a sleigh out of a chocolate bar and candy canes, apparently a necessary skill taught at her Sea Cadet training day.

So even when there are days when we’re not writing, reading or doing anything we feel we ought to, don’t be discouraged. Trust God in this season, knowing other seasons might come, doors might open, and ways may be straightened out. He will never fail us and His kindness is limitless. So yes, step into 2023 with dreams, hopes and expectations, but don’t lose heart if the right boxes aren’t ticked when you want them to be. It’s easy to lose the enjoyment of writing when you feel like failing if you don’t sit and bang out another chapter. Take time to smell the written roses. And have a wonderful New Year, filled with God’s goodness and blessing.

Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Maressa is a homeschool mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life. Because of her interest in writing, Maressa is part of Creativity Matters: Find Your Passion For Writing, an anthology encouraging people to write.

Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published in December 2019, and her first self published novel, Walled City, came out in December 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in the Elabi Chronicles, and was released in 2021, followed by stand-alone novel Burrowed, released in 2022. All of Maressa’s books are available from her website, www.vicarioushome.com, Amazon or local bookshops.

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