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The Slow Years: Productive vs. Fruitful

We had been wrapping up the Q&A session after my speak at an internet author’s convention. The recording had already stopped and I relaxed and stretched my legs below my desk because the moderator requested me to discipline a remaining query.

It was one I’m requested regularly: How do you discover time to jot down? 

I paused.

Normally I might have talked about schedules, or making appointments with myself, or discovering pockets of time.  Normally I might have pressured how necessary it was to create space for what’s necessary.

But for some cause that day I heard myself say one thing totally different.

“For fifteen years,” I stated, “I didn’t write anything for the public.” 

I let that sink in for a second after which described how the primary decade and a half of marriage discovered me elevating a houseful of younger kids and attempting to maintain my head above water.  But—I used to be studying rather a lot. I used to be praying. I used to be loving. I used to be dwelling my vocation.

“It was a fruitful time, but it was not productive. Some seasons are like that.” I didn’t plan on saying extra. Suddenly, there was a flurry of exercise within the remark thread, asking me to elaborate on the distinction between productiveness and fruitfulness within the writing life.

“Productivity,” I mused, “is getting things done. It is checking the boxes; it is finishing the article or essay or chapter. It is submitting the book proposal or making the pitch or meeting with the editor.”

I leaned ahead on my desk. “Fruitfulness is slow and unseen work. It is absorbing and growing. It is healing. It is learning. It is becoming the woman who will write the book someday.”

The moderator sighed. “I wish we were still recording,” she lamented.

I felt it too – the sense that the Holy Spirit was driving residence one thing extremely necessary in that second. Maybe, I believed, the whole lot else I’ve stated as we speak was really for the sake of this level.

It is a distinction necessary not only for writers however for all of us who’ve questioned if we’re doing sufficient—particularly in a tradition which celebrates accomplishments, wins, and time administration geared towards “getting issues finished.’ Let’s face it. Growing up and going deep not often consists of crossing issues off an inventory.

And I do love a to-do listing with numerous strains by means of it! The seasons which are in the end probably the most fruitful usually really feel within the second to be probably the most irritating. I’ve actually skilled that sense of futility.

But these seasons of changing into—these can’t be sped-up or left out. They are an important seasons.

Those seasons are transformative instances of deep, thick grace. They are dripping with slowness.

Those seasons are transformative instances of deep, thick grace. They are dripping with slowness.

I’ll say this for all of the pissed off writers on the market, or anybody whose creativity feels stifled and stagnant in a life with numerous limitations: Leaning into the teachings of the current second—of struggling, and sacrificing, of placing your self final in an effort to give life to others, of staying put the place God has you and letting the roots go deep—these will make you the one that could have one thing to say when the time involves say it, the one that could have a narrative to inform and the attitude to inform it with knowledge and wholesome detachment.

Timing actually is the whole lot.  

And the Lord who “has set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) invitations us to a posture of affected person expectance and to maintain our eyes on everlasting rewards.

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,” stated St. Catherine of Siena. The half we frequently miss, although, is that ‘being’ that individual necessitates understanding who God meant us to be.  It means changing into that individual, being healed and entire and wholly ourselves.  That’s not a fast course of.

And it’s positively not a productive one.

So right here’s to the sluggish years, the years that really feel barren once we need life to really feel flourishing. When others are crushing objectives and breaking ceilings, we are going to discover solace in the truth that our ‘becoming’ years are making it potential for us to bear fruit that can final.

This publish was initially revealed on and is reprinted right here with permission. 

Image courtesy Depositphotos.


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