By Josie Siler
I’m sitting here at my favorite small-town coffee shop on National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Snippets of Pirates of the Caribbean flash through my brain and I can’t help but smile. Hold on to your tricorn hat because I’m about to shed some light on a group of writers who are just as elusive as those rascally, roguish pirates.
Who are these mysterious writers? Writers who live with chronic illness. We’re a mysterious lot, we know, but it’s time to come clean. We’re rule breakers, and we’re okay with that. We’re constantly breaking one of the biggest rules of writing: Write Every Day.
Sometimes weeks or months pass when we’re not able to write a word. Does that mean we’re not real writers? No!
Let me tell you a little secret. Writers come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
Every writer comes to the moment when, like Elizabeth Swann in Pirates, we learn that the rules of the pirate’s (or writer’s) code are more like “guidelines” than actual rules. When we understand this, we find the freedom to be ourselves and do what we need to do.
I’d like to share with you five guidelines that have been helpful on my writing journey, especially on the days when I’m too sick to write.
1. Extend grace to myself and understand that rest isn’t a waste of time, but the most important thing I can do some days.
2. Let my imagination run wild, making notes to remind myself of any grand ideas I’ll want to write about later.
3. Read or watch movies. Collect ideas from other creatives and make notes to remind myself of inspiration I discover.
4. Be prepared to take advantage whenever and wherever inspiration hits. Just a few weeks ago I wrote a page on my iPad in the middle of a medical treatment. This page will make its way into my book.
5. Befriend other writers who are chronically ill. We understand each other, know how to encourage one another, and help each other get back to writing when it’s been too long.
Our writing journey may take a bit longer, but it’s a journey we still get to take.
When deadlines loom and we need to write through brain fog or pain, more times than not, those are the best things we write. Why? Because we’re forced to depend completely on the Lord.
That brings me to my most important piece of advice: Pray. Pray hard, pray often, and allow the Lord to speak through you. Whether you live with chronic illness, work full time, care for family members, or just have days when you struggle, it’s okay. You’re still a writer and God can use you in amazing ways.
If you’re ready to go rogue and take control of your writing career, I invite you to join me in invoking the pirate’s code. Take up the cry of “Parlay!” and negotiate your own rules. After all, rules are made to be broken!
Josie Siler is a small-town Wisconsin girl with big dreams. She’s won multiple awards for both writing and and photography and has been published in Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage. She is the Vice President of Broken but Priceless Ministries and the Editorial Assistant for Broken but Priceless: The Magazine. Josie’s passionate about helping people to discover and walk in the freedom found in Christ. When she’s not writing or taking pictures, you’ll find this biker chick riding her motorcycle, curled up with a good book, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, or shooting something at the range. Josie shares God’s gifts of beauty, hope, and adventure at www.josiesiler.com. Links:Twitter: www.twitter.com/josie_siler
Instagram: www.instagram.com/josie_siler Facebook: www.facebook.com/JosieSiler
Breaking the Chains: http://a.co/d/hDPO9kA Broken but Priceless Ministries: www.brokenbutpriceless.com
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