This post first appeared blackanddarknight.wordpress.com on January 15, 2012.
Keep your heart with all diligence
For out of it spring the issues of life.
~ Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
What does it mean to “keep your heart with all diligence?”
Perhaps first we need to know what it means that “out of it spring the issues of life.”
Simply put, it means that what you put into yourself will be what comes out. There’s a reason that people subjected to abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves, and why people who constantly think about death and violence are more likely to become depressed.
It’s what they are feeding their spirits, and it is damaging.
So how do you balance being a writer with “keeping your heart with all diligence”, especially if you happen to write things that deal with intense subjects?
For some reason, I have a fascination with dark fantasy. One of the first complete stories I wrote (a 50k word Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction) was supposed to have a happy ending, and well . . . it didn’t.
Weeping Willow (Blood of Trees, now)most definitely is a sad, horrible story for the most part. There are bits and pieces of happy moments here and there, but there’s not many of them.
So how do you balance it?
I have to compartmentalize myself. I’ve lived through enough emergencies in my life that I know how to distance myself until the required things are taken care of. I’m still feeling, I’m just not giving into it until I’m finished.
Sometimes that means I have to take several days off of writing after I write something insanely intense. I’m trying to work on that better, because if I take several days off, I get distracted by the menial, required tasks of life, but that means I have to find out how to refresh myself again faster.
The apostle Paul said it this way . . .
And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:2 NKJV
I won’t deny it – there have been days that I have written something that affected me so much that I had to physically get my Bible out and find the Scriptures that contradicted the thoughts that were running through my head because I had been taken over by whatever was going through my character’s mind.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV
Writers delve deeply into the heart of men, because people want to read realistic stories. I don’t censor my writing in the first draft, but I do pray and seriously think about what stays in each round of editing. I always make sure that evil is portrayed as evil, and good as good, just like it is done in the Scriptures.
It’s never hopeless, though. Even in the darkest of stories and experiences there is a glimmer of light.
For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV