Creativity Comes in Hiccups

Today is one of those days where it’s hard to get started. I’ve been sitting at my computer for close to an hour, doing the electronic equivalent of puttering. I could pretend to myself that my subconscious needed some time to figure out how to start the next paragraph that I’ll be writing, but that would not be true.  (My “productive puttering” is usually not electronic–my preferred choices are clearing off my desk or going for a walk.)

Part of the challenge is that I’m writing and editing “flat out,” on a tight deadline that stretches over the next two months. And another part of my challenge is staying focused, as I have a multitude of non-related, smaller deadlines trying to intrude on my writing time. It’s at times like this that I probably most need to take a break and clear my head, but it’s just at times like these when it’s hardest to step away.

Is my resistance coming from fatigue, too much pressure, or simply from my renewed recognition of the impossibility of capturing in words the mystery of Christ which I am trying to write about today? I suspect a bit of all three. The fine line between daily commitment and knowing when to take a much-needed break is something I am still learning how to discern. To have the courage to write about imposing topics, it helps to feel the inner flow of creativity.  Yet, my creativity comes in hiccups. Most of the time I don’t “feel” creativity flowing. Instead, it rushes upon me once I’ve gotten started.

For example, last evening while I was praying, I received a rush of ideas about a new book I want to write, and after trying to push them aside, I finally put down my Bible and took notes. How much was inspiration? How much was my prayer “unlocking” my deeper desire to write this book? I have no idea. But, it’s all grace.

And that’s the approach I will take this morning as I turn back to the current book. This “rough draft” stage feels more like heavy lifting than inspiration. But I will trust that, as long as I am listening, God will guide my mind, heart, and tapping fingers.

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