I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out of the tunnel

...Melissa Tagg
Photo credit

Ever get tunnel vision?

I do. Usually in the mall whenever I'm within smelling distance of Auntie Anne's pretzels. Suddenly, nothing else matters. All I can see are the warm pretzel sticks waiting for me. Not even Orange Julius can compete.


So, I had the tunnel vision thing going on in my writing life recently. All I could see was my latest WIP. All I could hear was that nagging voice in my head: "You're not there yet. Something's still not right." All I could taste was...

Well, copious amounts of coffee and cinnamon roll action. (What? Comfort eater? Where?)

Ever had the same tunnel vision experience when it comes to your own life? A project you just wanted to finish? A desire you longed to see fulfilled?

Something pretty awesome happened to me this week right when I was at my most tunnel-y. In the span of one day, I heard from five writer friends. I haven't met a single one of these friends in person. A couple I've known for a good number of months now; others are brand new. 

But each one encouraged me. 

And as the emails and text messages rolled in, one after another, I couldn't help thinking, "Dude, God, are you going out of your way here to bless me?"

I think He was.

I think through these friends, He pulled me out of the tunnel. Reminded me this writing dream is bigger than one WIP. It's bigger than the desire to see my book printed and bound (or on a Kindle!). 

It's bigger than one pretzel stand.

It's the whole mallfilled with people I don't want to miss.

God has given me an ever-expanding community. He's given me true friendsones who will go out of their way to ask me how it's going, fill me in on their own lives, ask me about my own journey while welcoming me into theirs. That's priceless.

And oh so much better than the narrow claustrophobia of a tunnel.

How about you? Do you ever struggle with tunnel vision? What pulls you out? Where do you find community and encouragement?

Melissa Tagg


  1. Melissa,
    Community has made all the difference along the writing road.
    The encouragement of other writers -- the help, the "you can do its" when I'm discouraged -- wow. I wouldn't be where I am without the help of writing friends.
    That's why I am such a believer in My Book Therapy, which is all about encouragement and community. After all, that's how the MBT Ponderers were born.
    And I know others have found community in other groups: ACFW, local crit groups ... it's so, so important to not do this writing life alone.

  2. As I read through this post, I could hear your voice as if you reading it to me. I love the encouragement I receive from family, friends and my readers. Each person moves away a chunk of the tunnel.

  3. Wow, MTagg, I love how you pulled in tunnel vision and the whole mall experience. I'm glad for every encouragement you get. Anyone who ever reads your writing will never get "mauled."

  4. Melissa, I'm on Team Tagg! As one of your many cheerleaders who see your talent, I know it's only a matter of time. Well, God's time. But He doesn't waste the talent, and He's given you lots. I'm sure you'll be published!

  5. Melissa, I sooo loved your post. :) I get tunnel vision too. Sometimes, it takes me time to get out of that tunnel, but my husband and boys don't let me stay in there too long.

    On this writing journey, God has placed friends who pray for me, friends who read my efforts and help me make it better, and friends who are further along the journey who encourage me and help me grow as a writer. I'm so thankful for community!

  6. It's hard to get out when an attack of tunnel vision captures me.

    Family, friends, and writer pals pull me through!

    I'm a believer that God puts people in your circle for a reason.

    Now I want a pretzel and a Julius...it's that tunnel vision sneaking up.

  7. All I can say is "Amen!"


    Yeah, right, you know I'll say more, LOL. But seriously, this totally resonated with me. When I was doing my Master's and working full time, it was really hard to pull myself out of the tunnel. I had a goal and I was gonna achieve it! And I did. But some friendships were hurt along the way, because I forgot to stop and take a breather occasionally. I don't lack motivation--just sometimes the balance to achieve things well.

    I'm trying to be better with this writing thing. Spending time with my husband and friends and family more often. Taking walks. Exercising. Because I COULD totally get sucked in and use all my free time to do that.

    But I don't wanna burn out, and I don't want my entire life to revolve around one goal alone.

    OK, I said a LOT more than "Amen."

  8. Great post, Melissa. My critique partners encourage me so much, as do the writers all the Ponderers and everyone at My Book Therapy.

  9. Beth, you echoed my thoughts exactly about MBT - it IS all about community and encouragement. I am a different writer today to because of it - because it's taught me great skills, yes, but even better, it's blessed me personally. I'm a walking billboard for for MBT. ACFW, too.

  10. Lisa, it's so funny that you say you can hear my voice because that's exactly what I thought as I read your guest post at my blog the other day. I felt like I was sitting in a room with you...

  11. Dee, thank you! I sure hope anyone who reads my stuff doesn't get mauled...literally or figuratively. No reading in tiger's cages, people.

    Okay, clearly it's Friday and I'm wacky.

    You are always such an encouragement to me, Dee!

  12. Aww, thanks, Roxanne. Thank you for blessing me in so many ways. You know, there's an email you wrote me once, maybe a year ago, that is saved in my "Sweet stuff to save" folder in my inbox...it's just one of many examples of how you've encouraged me in the couple years I've known you!

  13. Jeanne, yay for family who pull you out of the tunnel. :) And I'm glad you've become part of my "community" in the past year. I'm trying not to pout about the fact that I won't see you at DT next week. :)

  14. Loree, I haven't stopped craving pretzels or Orange Julius since I wrote this post! Thankfully, I have a little shopping to do this weekend... :)

    It's been fun to get to know you recently through your blog...I love how community expands past our physical settings...in other words, yay for the Internet.

  15. Lindsay! You're one of the five people who emailed me that day! You rock and I've had so much fun getting to know you. Can't wait to meet you in person at ACFW.

    Oh, and everybody else - you've gotta stop by Lindsay's blog today to view her first vlog. Fun stuff!

  16. Pat, I'm with you - the encouragement of MBT, ACFW and my local writing group is such a vital part of my writing life. I'd get way too burrowed in my tunnel without it.

  17. So experiencing that right now.

    I made myself come out of my cave and spend time with the family, right after I finished my edits. I delayed my writing time the next day.

  18. My hand hit the button before I was done.

    Anyway, I can't tell you how much it means to have friends in the writing community. I felt so alone, not to mention like a weirdo. It's like being born in another country and no one else around you speaks your native tongue. Then when you find someone who does, it brings a kind of singing to your soul.

  19. Melissa, it's like you were reading my mind. All except the pretzel part (eeuuwwww...). I had tunnel vision for 6 weeks straight, right through the holidays, as I finished my first real WIP. I felt antisocial, isolated, and didn't interact much unless I felt compelled to do it. On the other side, I've learned a huge lesson. Well, several. But the main one: don't isolate myself. That's where the devil does his best work. Have an awesome weekend!

  20. Yay! So glad I could (unknowingly) draw you out of the tunnel. :P

    And I totally agree! Can't wait to meet you. I'm picturing lots of giggling and food...two things we both seem to love. Ha!

    And thanks for the shout-out. Glad I didn't totally embarrass myself. Ha! But I might get addicted to vlogging. It's fun!

  21. Melissa, Great post. I have a mall with different stores...many friends, but from different connections. I have my near and dear friends, the life-long ones that are the Sax Fifth Avenue kind. I have the one that have the strength to pick me up when I need it--the sports store kind. And the ones I met along the way and have grown to love--the small specialty stores. I have truly been blessed.

  22. I'm gonna MISS you next week, Melissa! I'm glad we're in community together, too. :)

  23. Ginger, I know what you mean. I will never forget sitting at a table at the first Storycrafter's Retreat thinking, oh my goodness, people like me!!

  24. Donna, I hear you on the isolation. Even when I know it's not a good thing to do, I get into this "must finish!!" state in which I find myself shutting down to the outside world. Not a good state to be in! Thank you, Lord, for friends and family who force me out. :)