“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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Dan - Revell's pic for 2010, smaller Hi, Dan Walsh here, writing from Daytona Beach.

As I look back on my “journey to publication” and the journey I’ve been on since, I’ve been reflecting lately on the topic of expectations. Specifically, their tendency to be out of sync with real life. It doesn’t just happen occasionally. I almost never get them right. And when life doesn’t line up, add up, or live up to my expectations, my heart falls into discouragement.

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Gail Gaymer Martin

Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com – or visit my writing blog at www.writingright-martin.blogspot.com  Writing is a lonely business and needs concentration, hard work, and constant honing. So as always it’s my pleasure to share some writing types with you. I’ve begun a series of blogs on Creating Story – and this is the third in the series.

When developing story, premise is another factor that happens early in the planning as you build your story. Premise is hypothesis of your novel, the assumptions that come from the basic idea. From the way you build your story, readers presume the story will follow a logical pattern, so authors can be assured that readers have expectations.

The expectations are based on their past experiences. Let’s say, a man and woman decide to marry on an exotic island. They assume the novel will contain a wedding and a trip to an island that will probably lead to humorous events. If a book opens with a man lifting the lid of his trunk and finding a dead body, the reader assumes he will contact the police and the story will be the pursuit of the killer and perhaps why the body was in this man’s car. Consider your personal assumptions when you hear the premise of a novel or movie.

So when you are developing a story, where does premise begin?

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Kern_web shot Jan here . . . hoping to offer a few words of encouragement for those tough moments in a writer’s life.

Wherever you are in your writing journey, I’m going to guess that there is something going on right now that feels . . . well, impossible.

Could be pumping out that amazing, hard-to-turn-down proposal, or getting it into the right hands. Could be, now that you have the contract, the deadline feels impossible . . . or you’re staring at a flashing cursor going nowhere. Maybe the book is published, but effective marketing feels out of reach, either due to limited know-how or resources.

I’m going to take another guess . . .

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