The following is a comment written to me by my friend Chad in response to one of my blog posts (this one: Giving Up On Writing) . I found it so encouraging that I decided to put it in a document, highlighting a few points in Amazinga font, with the rest in Adobe Garamond Pro font, and to print it out and put it on my desk, so I can refer to it until it becomes ingrained. I also wanted to share it with others who might happen to find my blog. May it bless you as it has me.
“I felt like encouraging you to write at your leisure, and don’t let anybody dictate rules about that – not even you.
I’d suggest sitting down to write as often as you get the time, but notice that all I said was sit down to write – I didn’t say actually write necessarily, nor create an obligation to write and then feel lousy if nothing happens.
I’ve received that same advice (with more detail) and it’s the closest thing I’ve done to being something enjoyable and productive. Notice again, that I didn’t say it was enjoyable and productive – just the closest thing to it that I’ve tried.
It’s enjoyable more often than not, though.
It’s also enjoyable more often than it’s productive, and that’s an important piece to ponder, should you desire to do so.
One hint I can give you is that when I sit down at my desk, I’m not creating a law to follow; about accomplishment of any kind. I’ve learned that that never is a positive experience and rarely if ever produces anything, positive or not.
But what I do, instead, is first, enjoy a tiny little pocket of order – or quiet, as it’s commonly known. It usually takes a while for my brain to reach a state that I can call quiet. But when it does I just give myself license to enjoy it.
Praying and writing are not things I separate very often.
Then I just decide that I’ll write or I won’t.
I ask God, but I don’t strain.
I just enjoy a moment with Him, and I let it go where it goes, and if I happen upon some part of that time that maybe could be written down, then I start.
That’s the important part.
Peace is vital to the process, therefore laws and expectations are antithetical to it.
Since you do have a specific project in mind, maybe you can still just write whatever comes to you, and stay loose, and maybe you wander into your project, or maybe what you write spontaneously turns out to form an unexpected element of the main project? Or maybe it jars a memory loose that’s relevant to it, or maybe it inspires something unexpected… who knows? Not us, so why form expectations? It ruins the enjoyment, and it stifles creativity. It may never have anything to do with the book you’ve planned, but it may stand on its own as something you and others value for decades to come, and yet more, it may form the basis of a main project that you hadn’t previously even considered. But there’s only one way to find out what it’s going to be….
Prayer for me is a great way to enter the writing process, and writing is a great way to enjoy God. So I combine them, and I trust Him to lead the proceedings. And when I approach it that way, it’s much more peaceful and much more enjoyable, and more often fruitful – and in more than just one way. And if something is not enjoyable, and there’s no gun to your head, it’s not worth doing – in large part because the fruit (product) won’t be as good as it will be if it were an immersive, transporting experience for you, to create it.
Well, that’s my opinion, anyway.
Maybe you’re already doing this but lack the time to engage in such pronounced dissociation, or maybe you’re a different enough personality type that it’s not your thing (although I highly doubt that, from knowing you to whatever extent I do!).
Maybe, however, there’s some use you can make of something or other I’ve said – that’s what I hope, anyway – but either way, I pray you find time, inspiration, and most of all, enjoyment, in the desire and effort to produce, and in the process itself.
Can’t go wrong if ya pray for someone, no matter the quality of your advice! ☺
PS I apologize for the disjointedness and rambling, but I didn’t prepare and I didn’t edit. I rarely do in contexts like this – though folks may occasionally wish I had done! ?”
Biggest takeaway for me is this:
“Peace is vital to the process“.
Amen, so much amen, and aaaaaaaaamen! Yo!