Wednesday 16 September 2015

Stay in the pool

Photo courtesy of franky242/
Momentum is important to we writers. That’s why turning up each day, even if it’s to write a handful of words, is so beneficial. Being a pantser I’m continually amazed how once I sit down at the computer, my characters take over. They really don’t need a lot of encouragement to start creating havoc on the page.
“You’ve just got to stay in the pool longer than the others.”
Michael Phelps, the champion swimmer, spoke those words when asked one of the keys to his success. We see that with so many author friends or those we follow on social media. I struggle at times to keep the green monster of envy at bay when I see those authors who are churning through the words and publishing something new every nine or so months. Frankly, I’m in awe of their discipline and creativity in having so many stories pouring out of them.
This post isn’t so much about the significance of finishing but about staying the course. I know if I don’t pick up my WIP for days or weeks, my characters can tend to go walkabout. My lead character and I have ongoing banter about it. I’ll accuse him of disappearing and he’ll fire back with “well what do you expect when you don’t turn up? I’ve got things to do, places to be, people to see.”
It can take a little while to get back in the groove and the quality of the writing can suffer as a result.
The Christian walk is similar. We often lose the battle with the enemy simply because we’ve not got in the pool enough recently.
I was reminded of this when reading a novella that I started over the weekend. The main character is on a road trip when he picks up a hitchhiker who claims to be Jesus. Along the way at various points when Frank chooses to drop Jesus off and journey on his own, he tangles with a wily biker who Jesus informs him is Satan.
And Frank stumbles for a period of time.
Most of us have “stuff” that we grapple with and have done for a long time. Anxiety and fear are two of mine that will have a crack at me most days. These two mobsters can become big giants if I become lax in spending good time in prayer and reading the Word.
As Jesus says to Frank:
“Well, that’s the thing about the enemy. You never know where or when he’ll attack. He is relentless.”1
We’re all familiar with Paul’s Armour of God in Ephesians 6. Increasingly I’ve come to realise how easy it is to stumble if I’m not putting that armour on each day. I continue to reap the benefit of meditating on the Word throughout a day. This regularly has a flow on effect of helping my momentum in my writing and other areas of my life.
It’s interesting that in both Joshua 1 and Psalm 1 the key to a fruitful life is on doing just that: meditating on the Word.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2 NKJV)
Has it been a while since you picked up your Bible? And what about that WIP of yours?
Notes: 1. “Son of Man,” Tom Pawlik. Mo Dog Media. 2015.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Thanks, Ian--I love that desire of yours to 'stay in the pool' in both your Christian life and your writing. Even as I type this, I have my Bible open beside my laptop at the passage I read yesterday. And soon I will turn to the one for today and leave it open at that, so I can remind myself during the day of what it was that God showed me or taught me in it. This is what keeps me focussed and grounded in God.

    And by the way, I love that feisty character in your book that has the cheek to say to you: 'I've got things to do, places to be, people to see.'! Sounds like he'd be someone worth reading about!

    1. Hi Jo-Anne. Love that your Bible is always open & you love diving into it. May the Lord continue to surprise you with His words.

  2. Thanks for a great post, Ian. Two great reminders - stay in the pool, keep your Bible open. Like Jo-Anne, I love the sassy response from your character when you neglect him for too long. Of course, why should we expect them just to wait around for days on end while we fail to turn up :)

    1. Hi Jeanette, you may recall Jack from Angelguard, He's a busy man and just gets on with life irrespective of what I'm doing.

      Thanks for popping by as you always do.

  3. Great reminders. Thanks Ian.

    1. Hi Nicki … thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment.

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Autumn, great that you're getting so involved so soon after joining us. Trust your writing is going well.


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