Habits: the Good & the Bad

Habit [NOUN]: A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

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Habits.

We all have them. Some are good, others are bad.

A couple of mine? I pick at my lips and stay up waaay too late.

One of my sons never, ever, ever closes drawers. And my other son is a dirty clothes artist–aka, he leaves his school clothes in rather artistic piles… always on his bedroom floor.

❤ (But on the flip side, one of them gives warm, fuzzy hugs regularly and the other reads whatever and whenever he can.) ❤

Often, we agonize over breaking bad habits.

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Recently my younger son stumbled into our bedroom at 2am. He’s eleven, so unless he or his brother are sick, they’re tucked in their beds between 9:30pm and 7am.

If you’re close to me, you know that I’m 95% human and 5% beast. My beast mode kicks in between midnight and 7am. No joke, my sister had to {carefully} wake me up on Christmas morning when we were kids. I do not do mornings unless provoked and/or coerced.

Anyway, Chase stumbles into our bedroom at 2am. “Can I sleep with you guys?”

“Grfghrgrlk?” We’ve never been big on the boys sleeping with us. As babies they did occasionally, and during illness as toddlers, but overall we keep our bed ours.

He tries his dad, who thankfully remains human in the deep, dark hours of the night. “Can I sleep in here?”

“Did you have a bad dream?”

“No, I just want to sleep in here.”

My wonderful human husband climbs out of bed, guides Chase back to his bedroom (which he shares with our older son), and lays down with him for several minutes. Thankfully Chase remains asleep and the night continues as normal.

Until the next night.

And the next night.

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“Waking up at 2am has become a habit.” I mention gently on the third day. He nods in understanding. He didn’t want to wake up, but couldn’t help it anymore.

At bedtime on the fourth evening, I asked about bad dreams again. None, he reassured me. We prayed and they got an extra long back scratch. Just as my hubby and I walked out, Chase unraveled from his blanket cocoon.

“Can you lay the clock down? It’s too bright and when I wake up it reminds me that I’m sleeping.”

Ah. The proverbial lightbulb flashed on.

A few days earlier, I purchased a small silver alarm clock for the boys’ room. Huge green letters filled the screen so that Cole could see it on his bookshelf, from his bed (his eyesight isn’t great, and he takes his glasses off at night).

So I laid the clock on its back, and sure enough, Chase slept through the night. And again the next night.

The bad habit was broken.

The situation got me thinking about habits. Bad ones, and good ones.

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NaNoWriMo 2017 has begun.

For those who don’t know, it’s a write-a-thon set during the month of November. “National Novel Writing Month.” Thousands of writers across the country (world?) pound out 50,000 words of a story by November 30th. You don’t have to finish the story, just the 50k words.

Some make it, some don’t. The point is to Write. Every. Single. Day.

I enjoy the camaraderie on social media and the internal & external incentive to get words on a page. NaNoWriMo always readjusts the good habit of writing every day.

{NO EDITING ALLOWED}

If you’re on this NaNoWriMo journey, best wishes on adjusting to this new, good habit. Figure out what helps you write better and faster (plotting beforehand, writing at night when your house is silent, consuming nine cups of coffee & an entire bag of M & M’s, etc…)

Then write. Because writers write.

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YOU. CAN. DO. THIS!

 

 

 

 

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Why We Write

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Tonight I’m writing about stories, instead of writing a story.

Well, kind of.

I was asked by my younger son’s teacher to share a lesson on creative writing. For a class of friendly 4th graders I’ve watched sprout up like spring flowers from kindergarten.

I simplified the idea of story and creative writing for the younger set and prepared a fun writing activity, keeping in mind they’re nine and ten.

Why do we Write Stories?

  1. To tell others about something that happened
  2. To create something new with words, using the imagination God gave us
  3. To entertain others
  4. To bring glory to God with words

What’s in a Story?

  1. Characters–who the story is about
  2. Setting–where the story takes place
  3. Action–what happens in the story

Use the five senses in your story:

  1. Touch—Cold, hot, slimy
  2. Taste—bitter, sweet, scalding
  3. Sight—bright, dark, shining,
  4. Smell—stinky, delicious, musty
  5. Hearing—loud, quiet, squeaky

Even writing about writing, the pull toward words and what they make when they’re strung together just so is overwhelming. Beauty and truth in little nuggets of sound and sight that speak to others.

Words. Oh, how we writers love them. (Just not too many of them.)

So…why do we write stories?

Is it for that pull, that sense of creating something from nothing, bringing life to our imagination and giving God’s grace words and wings? Yes.

Not really for this reason, though it’s very true.

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Like many writers out there, I’m in the thick of NaNoWriMo 2015, in which novelists and aspiring novelists set a goal of fifty thousand words (or 50k, as we writers lovingly refer to it) during the month of November.

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It’s grueling and exhilarating all at once.

So…why do we write these stories?

A quick search online brings up a number of ideas, reasons, thoughts on the matter.

  1. To be fully alive. 2. To make a name for ourselves. 3. To change the world. 4. To discover meaning.

Personally, only number one resonates with me from that list, because when I write, I’m doing what God created me to do.

Making a name for myself isn’t the goal, and my meaning comes from my Creator and my relationship with Jesus Christ.

And I’m much more interested in touching a few souls than changing the world.

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:2-3)

So maybe it’s more about this, writers.

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God putting a story–stories, hopefully–or characters inside you, and your heart bursting with the need to get them out, into the world. Something so vivid you have to give it–give them–words and lives.

Yes. That’s it.

That’s why we write.

Keep writing, writers. The world needs your stories.

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45:1)