Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner, published by Writer’s Digest Books
A hopeful book review by Rachel H.T. Mendell
In the Summer of 2013, things were getting pretty bad at the paper. Stress was high. The paper, along with its sisters, had been purchased by a huge national corporation and changes were coming hot and heavy. Forty-plus editors met the CEO to listen to his vision. He promised to save us from ourselves by hiring only the best graphic artists for pagination. Radio and television were also in our future. I tried not to be insulted by some of the things he said and tried to get my head on-board, at least. Maybe my heart would follow.
As the pressure grew, responsibilities and job descriptions changed. I hid in my happy place. I lived in the dream of sitting in my closet office, nice and warm and cozy, writing away on one of my many novels, short stories, plays and poetry, inspiration zapping me silly.
Then I found that special weekly planner – the one I had purchased years before with the hopes of being a freelance writer (not the hack/reporter/investigator/editor I had become). I hadn’t written in it. It was too nice, too new, too pretty. Besides, I had nothing to write in it.
In January of 2014 I felt God leading me to leave the stress and the black cloud of negativity. I put in my two week notice. A huge weight was lifted and I announced my decision to my tiny staff, who said something along the lines of “it’s about time” and “we’ll be fine without you. Really.” I went home and found my Weekly Planner. I felt a wonderful sense of anticipation. But I didn’t write in it. I would wait until that first beautiful day off.
The next day one of my new bosses called (I estimated a six-boss gain in 2013) and urged me to stay. He came down and bought me lunch and asked me what it would take for me to stay. I said, “Raises for my staff.” He said, “Okay.” Three hours later we shook hands.
By the summer all raises were denied and I just couldn’t take it anymore. My stress levels had numbed me beyond all reason and created an apathy so deep I never thought I would dig out of it. My migraines were coming weekly and the steady weight gain terrified me.
So, I quit.
For real this time.
“Finally,” said everyone in the office – in their heads, of course. The sports guy said it out loud. You can always count on the sports guy to give it to you straight. “You did what you could,” he said. The reporter taking over my responsibilities joked that I worried too much and he would be fine.
There was no farewell party. I left the office for the weekend just like I always did. Except this time I wouldn’t be getting any late night or Sunday afternoon calls to come in and fix something.
Then everything went blank. I didn’t even see the weekly planner sitting under the pile of unread books. I didn’t even feel the urge to write much other than memories of pain, which made it all come back.
So I wrote about what I was learning in the Bible readings I did each day. Just a few little thing like, “patience” and “how can I love more like Jesus.” I felt guilt from time to time. I wasn’t earning any money with my writing. But I trusted the God who gave me permission to leave my stress-soaked job would also lead me where He wanted me to go.
And I began to heal.
Then I took out that Weekly Planner and thought about writing in it. I lost a little weight, but made huge gains in my health. My migraines faded to one per month. I smiled as life got better and better.
I have finally emerged from that pain-fog into a full-room office (vacated by my graduating daughter), a computer, tons of shelves, books and blank paper. Lots of blank paper.
God has worked with me on some things I needed to change. I dropped a few writing projects that He showed me were not going to be beneficial for anyone. My Bible study continues to be my inspiration and motivation each day.
And this month He gave me the next step.
I’m starting over. I’m writing things to entertain and encourage others. I’m working through beginning writing podcasts and classes. I’m loving the review and the godly encouragement. I don’t know what the end will be, but I love the beginning. I’m smiling all the time (well almost – I still have to do the dishes).
And I’ve filled out the first week in my Weekly Planner. God reminded me that it was time.
If you have been encouraged or entertained by this blog post, please let me know. (don’t worry about the error message … I’ll get your comment)
Blessings on your day!
(The Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner, published in 2008 by Writer’s Digest Books. It contains lots of great info on legal issues, goal setting, inspiration and practical advice for writers. Buy it if you can find it or make one of your own. Give yourself permission.)
You can find a bunch of organizing ideas here – http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles