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“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…. a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b
That phrase interests me—“keep silence.”
Not “silent” the adjective but “silence” the noun, an object to be grasped and coveted. A tangible gift.
And a gift it is, this gift of silence.
Recent technical difficulties rendered me unable to check my email on my phone for a few days. From my laptop, I finally logged into the first account and was dismayed by the congestion in my Inbox. Of the twenty-some-odd messages, less than a handful were person-to-person and most of the rest were undesired.
Annoyed with myself and the internet at large, I deleted 90% of the messages, unsubscribed from a bunch of alerts, and hid others in folders. When the number of Inbox messages dipped below ten, I nearly kissed the screen in relief.
And in that moment, I realized something:
I can unplug if I want to.
I have a blog. I write fanfiction. And I am preparing to edit my manuscript yet again.
But if I don’t want to write today, I don’t have to. If I don’t want to draft a new chapter, wrangle my plot, or check my traffic stats, I don’t have to.
Sometimes we must press through the weariness. Kristen Lamb recently covered this topic on her blog, and her advice, as always, is more than well-taken. As it stands, I am pushing through my fatigue to finish this post tonight.
But when I am done, I will not open another document or review my notes on novel structure. I will turn off my computer, put my kids in bed, and embrace the gift of silence. (Okay, it’s Thursday night, so I will actually watch Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, but you get the point)
Words always await the writer, and to make the most of them, you must receive them at the right time. And sometimes that time is another time. So if now is not the time to receive--and no one knows that better than you--then perhaps it is the time to rest.
A siesta is not a stopping point, so your dream won't disappear if you take a little break. So log off. Watch a little TV, eat some cheesecake, or take a bubble bath, whatever allows your mind to recline. I promise, at another time, at the right time, your writing will thank you.