What stops or distracts you most from your writing? Could it be those external noises such as the neighbours chatting in the garden (maybe I should shut the window? but it is so nice outside), or your own internally driven conversations, or having no new ideas? The sun shining outside is only one of a few mega distractions for me; maybe it is one or all of these for you? Not unduly concerned now about my progress in writing for the past day or two, yet feeling an awareness to keep on producing the work and writing for as the days slip by, the pressure begins to increase.
Right at the moment I can hear the ‘noise’ from my daughter watching a movie on her iPhone. I know the sun will tempt me into the garden if I do not concentrate, or to the kitchen for another cup of tea. I want to write but seem unsure of how to proceed. Eventually, I wander downstairs as I predicted and put the kettle on. Absent minded, I ponder whether tea has the properties to release creativity as I slowly sip it.
# Takes time out to drink the tea, and hoping the warmth (and any healing properties) of it will melt my unmoving thoughts. Writing through the recent cold, wintery months was a cosy occupation, one of being huddled in the study with the heating on and, relatively few distractions as those I am encountering this morning. As time passes I really cannot tell if I will even complete anything worthy of spending the time typing it. I have no actual deadline to push me along except that from myself. I, therefore, decide, as I have done before, to just make a start and to see where things will end up. One last ditch attempt to stop productivity clamours to be heard from my mind, “As its voting day today remember to go, then probably get some groceries and check e-mails before lunch just in case there is anything interesting. Now all that has been listened to and duly listed down, it is high time to get back to the desk. Yet, I still cannot think clearly. Muddle mindedness is maddening and the obvious, not obvious at all.
Slowly a question arises to the surface which emerges from my chaotic thought processes, rather like a lazy butterfly emergent from a tight cocoon. Did I pray this morning, hmm no not really? This is more than likely to have impacted my mindless chaotic thoughts. It is like literary constipation; my mind is blocked and needs to be cleared of the crap inside, stopping me from clearly articulating what I am aiming to write.
# Takes time out to pray…..
‘Dear Lord….release creativity…. thank you… stir up the gifts; pour into me with streams of living water…. halleluyah ….amen!’ Or something to this effect!!
Focusing on God takes my eyes off myself and realigns me, to the bigger picture of life. If I am to let God write through me, to influence the words and the control their flow then, I surely must be still and listen to Him, and not the cows mooing in the distance or the crow roosting on the rooftop making quite a commotion! Mentally I say a stern word to ‘self’ to stop wandering away from the task ahead!
What does God want to say today, to me, to those who might consider reading this?
# Takes time out to listen…
In silencing my mind, I request, “I need your peace Lord. Help me to hear what you are saying right now, thank you.” The house falls silent, even the annoying iPhone (very thankful). I move away from the distractions and breathe… I see in my mind’s eye a picture of what looks like a horse, oh no, it is ‘Gerry the Giraffe’; Jumping to my first conclusion I react and too quickly think, “Oh! Perhaps this is a hint to write a children’s story?” Not so fast I tell myself ,as I hear, He (referring to Gerry) so desired more of all things in life, seeing what others had, that he kept reaching up and up to take all he could until his neck grew longer than his legs, (maybe you have experienced God’s sense of humour to get your attention too).
“Disproportionate desires will unbalance you.”
Oh! I do not think that it is a children’s story! I stop and begin to reflect upon this statement and any unhealthy motives I may be collecting as a writer. What am I reaching out for, that I desire, yet is affecting my capacity to stay balanced? Who, or what, do I let influence my writing and desires, and more poignantly, why?
Rather like being in a boat when all the ballast is starboard and someone stand’s up to reach out to grasp something, and the whole thing tilts alarmingly, with the threat of the boat sinking, I must be careful what I take in. Self-comparison to another’s writing style, of their gifts as a writer, or their personal walk and path in life, is a dangerous place to peek into; or move towards. Nothing could damage your own inimitable style, flow or sense of confidence more. The influence of others, some even offered and well meaning, can interrupt and distort your message, the one that God and you are working on together.
# Takes time out to consider what has just happened! …
God does not always say what you expect or want to hear, sometimes you need to hear His truth in a way you will understand, or else there is a risk of falling overboard and sinking in the complexity of mish-mashing your creativity with someone else’s influence. You need His Fatherly approval, not the praises of man (no gender exclusion intended, for I mean all humanity).
How we write and communicate, in using our gifting’s are unique and one that no one else ever can duplicate. So, there it is, in a proverbial ‘nut-shell’.
“Originality is the key to success.”
So, let’s all relax and stop striving, stop the fuss, which only drives up stress levels by trying just a bit too hard to be wanted, and accepted. Remember we already have all this in God the Father, through Christ the Son, by His indwelling Holy Spirit. And, actually, we can be more content than we have been for a long time if we let Him take control and lead the way. The view is always so much more beautiful from His perspective.
# Takes time for a reflection: Selah*.
*selah; perhaps an indication of a pause