I sat down to write this blog and discovered something:
My muse was mute. No, maybe said muse was still asleep. Actually, I think he (she? I’m never quite clear on that…) went on vacation and didn’t tell me. No postcard, no nothing.
Seriously, I sat there, staring at the keys and…
Come on, I urged my weary writer’s brain, there has to be something I can write today. Just one bit of inspiration…
My brain’s response? “HA!”
So, I turned to the Internet. Surely I could find a video that would spark a thought. Some moving, brilliant tidbit that would remind me of the joy of writing, the wonder of creation. Just a little spark that would flame into a blog. Funny thing is, there was! But it wasn’t the inspiration I expected. What I found was a video with a number of well-known writers saying the same thing:
And, much to my amazement—and amusement—that turned things around for me. Because, like many writers, I sometimes make writing more…mystical and magical than it is. Or I just make it harder because I’m sitting here waiting for inspiration. Oh, sure, there are those moments of brilliance, when you craft something so remarkable that you know there were divine Fingers guiding your digits as you typed. But there’s also the profound truth found in this short video.
If you want to be a writer…
We’ve all had days when the words don’t flow like clear water from a mountain stream…when instead they slog out like sludge from a decaying water hose. But this video reminded me…
Not feeling it today? Write.
Can’t figure out where the plot goes from here? Write.
Written yourself into a corner? Write.
So tired/depressed/busy/distracted/fill-in-the-blank that you just. Can’t. Do it? Write!
So the next time emotions or events or whatever gets in the way and tries to derail you from doing what God has tasked you to do, remember these simple words:
Want to be a writer? Sit down. Put your fingers on the keyboard. And…
Thanks, I needed that. 🙂
And, may I add something? Pray.
Thank you, Chris, for your reminder to pray. I tell myself that I write to honor God, but I confess that I often write for hours without even pausing to ask God what He wants.
Yes, by all means, add that! Without it, we’re just wasting our time.
Karen, how can I truly know God has called me to write and it’s not just something I like to do? Thanks.
Alice, I understand your plight completely! If God wants me to write, why did he fund me almost completely through college to a degree in education? If he wants me to teach, why am I two years out of college and still without a classroom job? How can we know God’s will for anything in our lives? I think the answer may be in timing. If He gives you a continuing desire to write, keep working on it. Maybe He is polishing you! 😉
Thank you for your response, Sabrina. I, too, am a teacher and recently retired after 26 years in the high school classroom but continue to teach adjunct at the community college. Don’t despair. We need good teachers! It is a ministry that will stretch you beyond your wildest dreams. The field is white for harvest and I know God has a place for you. My prayers are with you.
Alice, I’ve been pondering your question, and Sabrina’s response. I’ve always believed we have one calling as believers in Christ, and that’s to become an ever-clearer reflection of Christ to the world around us. When it comes to things like writing or teaching, I look on those as tasks God has given us to complete for Him. And the only ways I know of to determine if said task is from Him, is to evaluate it in light of Scripture (Is this activity in line with Scriptural truth? Is it something to which God would give an amen?), and godly advisors/counselors (What do those whose faith I trust say about my desire to do these things?). If a desire I have is affirmed by those two things, and if that desire is strong enough to spur me to action, then I move forward until I’m told not to.
And keep in mind that God tasking you with something doesn’t mean you’ll be successful if you’re obedient–at least, not as the world measures success. Sometimes He puts us on a path that leads to far more important success, such as learning obedience, patience, and perseverance.
Thank you, Karen, for your response and support. I have been writing and publishing in magazines and newspapers for many years and yet it seems that I should be doing more. Your encouraging words give me the boost to keep at it. Not long ago I received an email from a reader who asked if I was the same person who had written a column in a magazine years ago. She said she had always enjoyed it and hoped I was the same person. I replied that yes, I was, and rejoiced in knowing that all those years ago my words had encouraged someone. Your words certainly encouraged me! Thank you again.
I used to be suceptible to the whims of my muse – that is until I got my second contract and with it, a DEADLINE. I learned in the stroke of my pen to do exactly that. Write! And I also learned I absolutely can write a novel in three months. I don’t like doing it that fast, but I can do it. What a freeing feeling!
I hear you, Ane. It’s amazing how a contracted deadline lights a fire under us. At least, it should!
Karen, we all struggle with knowing what to write, don’t we? Ever since I heard Allen Arnold speak, I’ve been trying to be more collaborative with God.I begin my writing time praying, and when I get stuck, I stop and pray and ask God for guidance.
I’ve also discovered that when I just make up my mind that I’m going to keep my butt in chair and write, it’s easier to do it.
Amen on every count, Jeanne.
Hi, Karen. I typed “just write video” in my search engine to find the one you reference. I didn’t, but I did find trailers for a movie called Just Write that looks really cute and fun.
I do so resonate with this! With my first novel, there were many mornings when I would wake up with the next scene and even the words of the next dialog already written in my brain. Virtually all the main points of intense conflict and joy came that way, but one has to cross the valleys between each of the mountains. That was where your admonition to “just write” was so spot-on! The beauty of the word processor is the ease with which something that starts out rough can be polished until shines. So often the last 10% takes 30% of the time as what began as perspiration is transformed into inspiration. I can hardly wait to be like Ane and have a publisher’s deadline to inspire me to get that 10% complete in 15% of the time.
Carol, be careful what you wish for. Sometimes those contracted deadlines are more like guillotines hanging over our necks than inspirational.
I’ve been there and felt the sword of Damocles hanging over me with an engineering book a colleague and I wrote. I long for a repeat of the experience in a fictional form where I hope my work will serve God instead of my professional reputation.
I’m going to picture you behind me saying, “Just write!” as I attempt to break through this slump I’ve been in. Thank you.
Happy to be your “inspiration,” Sandy. 🙂
Perfect reminder for my week. Even if it’s a few sentences on the back of an old bulletin or a few words on my phone, I need to get them down. However, my brain did remind me that sometimes caffeine helps. Or chocolate.
Oooo, I’ll take both!
That was so me yesterday. I felt like a stubborn kid stomping my foot and pouting, saying, “But I don’t want to write.” So I just made myself do it. For several hours, and eventually my muse woke up.
Good for you!
You always know what we need to hear. Thank you for being a speaker of truth.
Aw, you’re welcome. Thanks for your kind encouragement!
The blog posts I scribble off in 15 minutes are always, always, more impactful (based on reader response) than those that I slave over for days.
When I try to be a writer, I flop.
When I just write because I cannot not write…that’s when the words pour our like water.
Holy Spirit? I think, yes. If I could just stop getting in he way…
I think we can all relate to the need to get out of the Spirit’s way. Don’t know why we fight it. It’s so much simpler–and easier–to let Him lead.
Ahhh, I’m reminded of Lamott’s recommendation about taking it “bird by bird”. One word at a time. She also reference a one inch picture frame and says if that’s all we fill up in a day then so be it. But just write the words down. Now that helps take the pressure off 😉
Oh, I love her writing–especially the book BIRD BY BIRD. 🙂
“Just write” was my motto when I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last year. After spending over a year on my first manuscript, it was refreshing to get a first draft in only a few months, thanks to the November 50k words. Now that I’ve returned to my first manuscript, I notice that it’s a bit over-written, as if I’d tried too hard. So now I’m in “just edit” mode as I trim up my first manuscript for a conference. It’s been discouraging, but your words are a good reminder to stop pouting and get to work.
I LOVE it!
Thank you for bringing this admonition to the fore again. I need to hear it daily – multiple times daily.
Pray, write, pray! Good stuff!
I’m praying AND writing. Thank you!