What To Do When You Can’t Sleep…

It’s very late in California and I can’t sleep.  This doesn’t happen to me very often, and usually I stay in bed, toss and turn, count, pray, sigh…and wait.  But tonight, I’m truly restless.  Most likely the immediate cause of this bout is a handful of dates and nuts I gobbled too late – about 9:30.  They’re still sort of sittin’ there, reminding me that I really cannot eat much at all after about 7:00 p.m. 

But I think there’s more going on here somehow. 

This week, I’ve been resisting this writing, this writing I try to do here at this place.  Wondering why in heck I’m doing it at all, whether it’s worth the time, the angst, the crazy-making, semi-obsessive thinking/reading/planning/wondering.  

I think I have this ‘call,’ you see.  This belly-deep urge to write it all out.  To do what writers do – which is to tell the big story by telling small ones, to lay out the details of one off-the-beaten-path life in hopes that my singular story might connect somehow, somewhere with the broader swath of human existence. All of it offered up as frail, delicate gift – a gift of encouragement or hope or even rueful recognition.

I sat by the ocean for a while today, sorting through a pile of papers I’ve been collecting.  Printed copies of various blogsite’s suggestions for ‘building my platform,’ or ‘marketing ebooks,’ or the latest take on those 3-simple-steps-to-stardom.

And as I sifted and sorted, it hit me – hard – that I’ve gotten more than a little bit lost of late. Platform?? What do I care about a platform? Stardom?? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t even hope so.

If the call is to write it all down, then that’s what I must do. I must write what I see, what I feel, what I’ve lived, what I’m living. I need to wonder out loud, to find my own voice and then have the courage to speak it. 

Because when the call first came it sounded like this: “Write for your granddaughter, Diana.”  No platform. No ebook. No stardom. Very simple, really. Write for that precious girl. And now we have two precious girls.

That was a little over five years ago.  I was still working, my older daughter’s husband was slowly dying, my middle daughter’s youngest had just come out of the NICU, my husband was recovering from prostate cancer, my mother was lost in grief over the death of my dad, my job was good, but demanding in ways I never fully understood until I quit doing it.

And there was no space. There was no time. There was no extra energy. Now, I have all three. (Well…maybe 2 out of 3!) 

So. Gracie. Lilly. Whatever comes out of these fingertips – it’s for you. It’s coming out of my aging brain and my tired heart and it’s coming because I believe God is nudging me, pushing me, calling me to it. And it’s coming because I love you more than life. 

I hope there is something in these meanderings that will help each of you to learn to listen to your own hearts, to discern the call of a good God in your lives. I promise to keep praying for you (and all your older guy cousins). I’ll be praying that as you grow into bigger girls, and then into strong women, that you will know how deeply you are loved – by your parents, by your crazy extended family, and by the God of the universe who has uniquely crafted each of you and who calls you ‘daughter,’ and ‘friend.’ 

And now, I really must go to bed!

On Maui, retirement celebration trip in February, 2011

My personal word of thanks to Jeff Goins and to Gordon Atkinson for wrestling out loud with these very issues on their personal blogs recently.  

Joining with Jen over at “Finding Heaven” and all the sweet sisters of the SoliDeoGratia group and Ann Voskamp for her WalkwithHimWednesday series: 

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  1. Dear Diana, while I haven’t been blogging nearly as long as you have been, I can so relate. I felt like I was to start putting “pen to paper” a few years ago and resisted until December of 2009. Some days I feel like the Lord is really working through me and I am doing exactly what I should be doing. Other times I think I am wasting time and effort…but I keep coming back to the fact that it keeps my quiet time more on track, makes it more real for me. Thank you so much for these thoughts. I hope you were able to fall asleep. 🙂

  2. It is so good to know others struggle with this as well! Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Diana, I hope you won’t mind that I’ve shared this post at RevGalBlogPals’ Wednesday Festival today. Thanks for your good words.

  4. I kept saying “Yes! Yes, I know!” as I read this. I follow many writers/publishers/agents through social media and I get so overwhelmed with the whole “brand and platform” push. You reminded me of exactly why I write and why it is important. Thank you.

    Oh, and your pictures? Priceless!

  5. Diana, you have inspired me and written things that have influenced my heart so greatly. God is using you in amazing ways in my life. Thank you for heeding His call and for being obedient.

  6. I struggle with the same things, that temptation to “build a following” and link up for the blog traffic more than the community. Thank you for your honest testimony and reminders.

    If your header photo is from your hometown, I agree with you that it is very beautiful.

    God bless you. Glad I stopped by from Ann V.’s.

  7. What a wonderful essay that causes me to think and acknowledge your truth. God called each of us for different reasons and we need to stay true to that calling. Thank you for the reminder.


  8. Thanks, friends, for reading my 2:00 a.m. meanderings. I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was a good time of self-scrutiny. Gonna try to do a bit more of that in days ahead and see if that helps me keep the right things in perspective a little better.

  9. Oh boy have I wrestled with this one, too, Diana. When I wrote the book, I wrote it just to write…not even knowing that I was writing a book. And now my writing is so entangled in this platform-building, which is a necessity for publishing. But it’s a struggle for me still.

    And can I just add a comment about that precious girl’s hair?!! It made me SMILE!